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As an avid art lover, you may already know the famous street artist Banksy and his thought-provoking works. However, you may still need to discover the politically charged art of Hackatao, Italy's answer to Banksy. Over the past decade, Hackatao has covertly adorned the streets of Milan and beyond with compelling murals and installations addressing issues like capitalism, climate change, and human rights. From the initial small stencils to massive multi-story murals, this mysterious artist has established a daring and recognizable style that provokes discussion around important topics. The time has come to delve deeper into the world of this 21st-century rebel and better understand what drives Hackatao to create political art that transforms public spaces into open debates. Hackatao's creations stand as a reminder that one person can inspire change and bring communities together through artistic expression. The next time you walk by one of his pieces, pause to appreciate the more profound meaning and remember the artist who started it all. Hackatao's story is a testament to following your passion and using your voice to speak up for those who can't. His work leaves a colorful legacy of courage, compassion, and creative vision.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


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Early Life and Inspiration: Hackatao’s Humble Beginnings

Born in 1975 in a small town outside of Milan, Hackatao discovered street art as a teenager and was inspired by the expressive and rebellious nature of the art form. Hackatao transformed from a rebellious teenager with a spray can into a revered contemporary muralist through dedication to his craft and staying true to his artistic vision. His fantastical, thought-provoking works have brought color and wonder to cities across the globe, cementing his status as an influential figure in 21st-century street art.

Early Inspiration

In the late 1980s, Hackatao was exposed to graffiti art in his community and became enamored with the creative freedom it represented. He began experimenting with spray paint and stencils in abandoned buildings, finding inspiration in the works of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Developing His Style

Over time, Hackatao developed his distinctive style featuring distorted figures, pop culture references, and social commentary. His murals often depict surreal scenes with fantastical creatures and whimsical designs. In the 1990s, he became involved in Milan’s growing street art scene and connected with like-minded artists pushing the boundaries of public art.

Turning Pro

By the early 2000s, Hackatao’s skills gained recognition, and he began receiving commissions for large-scale murals, eventually quitting his day job to pursue art full-time. More high-profile commissions followed across Europe, establishing Hackatao as an Italian street art movement pioneer.

What is Hackatao known for?

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Hackatao is a prolific and mysterious street artist who has significantly impacted urban art in Italy and beyond. His satirical and thought-provoking works highlight critical social issues and the human condition. Hackatao’s art challenges you to see the world through a different lens and pushes the boundaries of what public art can achieve. Though his true identity remains unknown, his memorable murals and installations live on, continuing to spark conversation and spread messages of hope.

Career highlights

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Developing a Signature Style

In the mid-2000s, Hackatao began developing his signature style, featuring brightly colored, whimsical characters with elongated limbs and oval heads. His art took on a more lighthearted and playful feel. The oval faces of his subjects often feature simple details like dots for eyes and a single curved line for a mouth, giving them an air of mystery and anonymity.

Some of Hackatao’s most popular themes feature fantastical creatures like imaginary animals, aliens, or robots. His whimsical characters are also often depicted engaging in everyday human activities like dancing, playing musical instruments, or riding bicycles. These juxtapositions of the familiar, strange, whimsical, and mundane have resonated strongly with fans and helped cement his unique style.

Transition to Murals

Hackatao’s popularity grew, and his art transitioned from small canvases to large outdoor murals, for which he has become renowned. His murals often feature the same whimsical and lighthearted style of his earlier work but on a massive scale. Vibrant colors and a sense of joy and wonder characterize Hackatao’s murals, which have become popular tourist attractions and photo spots in cities across Italy and beyond.

Through constant experimentation and evolution, Hackatao has honed and perfected a style that is entirely his own. His whimsical, colorful creations have brought joy and wonder to the streets of Italy and beyond. Hackatao’s unique artistic vision has earned him recognition as one of Europe’s most imaginative street artists.

Hackatao List of Work

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Notable Works: Hackatao’s Most Famous Pieces

Hackatao is best known for several notable street artworks in Italy. Some of his most well-known pieces are:

The Dance of Quantum Mechanics

His first major public work was a 200-square-meter mural in Milan.

The Circle of Poets

The Circle of Poets can be found in Milan. It features a group of poets from different eras together in a circle. The mural includes likenesses of Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, and Alda Merini. Hackatao intended it as an ode to poetry and literature, bringing together influential poets from different places and periods.


Rebirth is located in Varese, Italy. It depicts a man trapped in a concrete block, attempting to break free. The man’s hands are outstretched, reaching for the sky and freedom. Hackatao symbolizes humanity’s constant struggle to break free from what confines us and achieve our full potential. It has become a symbol of hope, courage, and perseverance against difficult odds.

Other notable works include:

  • “The Last Supper,” Hackatao reinterprets the famous Da Vinci painting in Milan.

  • A mural in Rome depicting a group of people with their mouths covered represents censorship and lack of free speech.

  • A piece in Florence shows a man chiseling away at a large block of marble, a metaphor for the creative process and the work required to achieve one’s artistic vision.

  • A mural in Naples depicting a tree sprouting money is intended as social commentary on greed, commercialization, and the corrupting influence of money.

Through these and other works, Hackatao has established himself as an influential street artist using his art to make provocative social and political statements. His murals are throughout Italy’s largest cities, demonstrating his widespread impact and fame within the Italian street art scene.

Spreading Messages through Street Art: The Themes and Meaning behind Hackatao’s Murals

Hackatao is known for creating vibrant murals that spread awareness about critical social issues. His street art aims to spark contemplation and discussion on themes such as environmental protection, human rights, and the impact of technology on society.

The environment and humanity’s relationship with nature is a frequent subject of Hackatao’s work. Murals depicting melting icecaps, deforestation, and pollution serve as a call to action for climate change mitigation and conservation of natural resources. His art highlights the fragility of ecosystems and the interdependence between humans and the planet.

Many of Hackatao’s murals shed light on humanitarian causes and promote empathy, diversity, and inclusion. Subjects include:

  • The struggles of refugees and migrants.

  • The oppression of minority groups.

  • The importance of kindness.

These works aim to raise awareness of human suffering, emphasize shared experiences, and bring people together regardless of differences.

Hackatao also explores the influence of technology and media on culture. His murals highlight the dangers of mass consumption, social media addiction, and information overload. Robots, glitch effects, and references to “the matrix” represent a warning about screens and algorithms’ control over our lives. The artist provokes thought on using technology responsibly and avoiding losing our humanity in the digital age.

Through prominent public art, Hackatao gives a voice to critical societal issues to motivate change. His murals aim to make a statement and spark conversation by depicting themes in an evocative style with layers of meaning. Hackatao uses street art to spread awareness and unite people to build a better future.

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