Only 18 months ago Pierpaolo Peretta was a sensible looking man, with a steady job as a manager in a big company, yet I found him in studio, surrounded by rebellious graffiti and a reputation as one of Europe's most cutting edge artists. So what happened?

It appears to have begun with a double life. "I worked at a good job during the day and at night I used to walk around the city and hang my paintings on the walls." Pierpaolo is now better known as Mr Save the Wall and is pioneering what he calls "respectful street art." Instead of spray painting walls directly, he paints on cardboard, which he then hangs on city walls.

Street art takes on a new life once the artist has released it into the wild and so it is with Mr Save the Wall's works - passers-by have taken them home, drawn on them and spoken to each other through the work.

Where did the inspiration for this extraordinary journey come from, I ask? The artist's liberal family was a strong influence: "When I was little, my parents let me paint all the walls in the house. I tried all the painting techniques on those walls - from graffiti to oil painting."

While keeping the city walls intact, Mr Save the Wall is not afraid to shock. His works reflect the positive and negative evolutions of our society. The painting of a little girl praying, with the words "Please holy iPad, give me back my dad" written above her, is food for thought for all of those who just can't put their device companion down.

The artist believes that "people want to discover themselves through art" and has started a new series called Life Shot, where he takes photographs of people with their most precious objects. When looking at photos of people with their old toys or their first love letter, you feel like it is almost too intimate, but you also see that this artist loves people.

"We are our most important art work" he says.

Despite the fact that Pierpaolo Peretta left his job and took the plunge as Mr Save the Wall less than two years ago, his studio in the charming Northern Italian city of Como has already received worldwide attention. The New York Times put his studio on a list of places to see and a wealthy benefactor has commissioned works for the world fair happening in Milan this summer.

The only way for this artist is up. If you happen to be in Northern Italy this summer, go to his studio and meet the respectful rebel. If you leave it too late, you might have to wait in a very long line.
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