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Kids of Grime

Pure Evil gallery presents Verena Stefanie Grotto's visual take on the musical genre

One of the greatest accomplishments in the last few years has been the steady rise of Urban subculture manifesting itself firmly as an artform to be recognised. But it isn't just music that'd being talked about; photographers also emerge out of the urban ether and one of them - 24-year-old Verena Stefanie Grotto, aka ‘Kids of Grime’ - has recently collaborated with the streetwear designer Kara Messina to showcase the label ‘Y’oh!’ in an exhibition (tilteled, ‘Kids of Grime/Y’oh) showcasing the relationship between Grime and fashion. Firmly seated at the helm of the Grime scene, camera in hand, Dazed spoke to her about form, content and the joys of D Double E.

Dazed Digital: When did you realise you had a passion for the arts?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: I've been loving photography since I was a kid, I started taking it seriously in 2005 and now I want to get a living from it. Photography is something amazing because with just one image you can tell 1000 and more words. I had a passion for grime and when I moved to London I started to get closer to the genre and wanted to know more and more from it, not just from internet and youtube and that but deeper inside, than I saw a lack in photography documenting this 'era' so I jumped on it, and the rest is history.

DD: How important is it that Grime is documented in a way that projects it as an artform?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: It’s important because it is the history of a genre of a country that will be known worldwide.
Especially in my way, because with my eye, being a person of another culture (Verena is Italian) and my style of photography I believe I can give to this scene something more, things are seen everyday to someone else are more special to me.

DD: How long have you been following the genre?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: I loved Dizzee Rascal (and still do), since 2003, when in Italy nobody knew about him.
But to be honest I started following the scene properly early 2009 before moving to London. My background is not such as other people being in the scene since back in the day. But it's real and the passion and love I have is the same one and once I decided to be part of it, I get into it properly, trying to know everything and more. And I do.

DD: Who was your favourite to shoot?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: Oh well, this answer changes everytime but I can say that the happiest moment was when I took the picture of D Double E at Just Jam, with the T shirt BLUKU BLUKU. and all the JUSTJAM pictures-they encompass Grime and art.

DD: What’s your experience of being a female in a male dominated world of Grime?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: Sometimes is good sometimes it’s worse, It always depends on the situation. But at the end of the day, is not about my gender, is what you do that prove who you are.

DD: Tell me about the streetwear side of things-what brands do you rate/wear regularly?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: Acne, CheapMonday, Diesel, Miu Miu, Topshop, Y'OH, Vibskov, Marios, and many others. Working with Kara on Y’oh was a great experience with a lot more to come.

DD: Who are your influences?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: My family, streets, music, movies, videos, and Simon Weatley, Martha Cooper, James Pearson, Jamel Shabazz and Herbert Tobias.

DD: Who would be your dream person to collaborate with?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: In music Skepta and the BBK, Dizzee, Busta, Wiley. Teamwise Cecilia Marin because we would be the strongest team ever together with my other girls. 

DD: What's your advice for up and coming artists?
Verena Stefanie Grotto: Keep following your heart! and believe in yourself.

Photos by Verena Stefanie Grotto