Francesco Igory Deiana interviewed by Andy Hawgood and Nate Hooper from The Popular Workshop
TPW: Tell us about the name of the show?
FID: The name of my show is "Free Fall" Like the act of free falling, your letting yourself, your body, spirit, ego; you are letting it all go, letting the pressure evaporate; context, reference, the art world, of what is going on in the world in general. The weight of the world, crushing so many of us from above, ignored, washed away, evaporated.
The point you just give in, you let go, this is the point I started to create again, I felt free, I felt “able”.
TPW: How do you conceptualize your work?
FID: My pursuit binds together the connections between man, nature and the social systems we live in.
I try and create an archive in which there is no hierarchy between contemporary events and historical facts. I use landscape, portraiture, and iconography in an effort to conjure the detached and unsettling feeling of our fractured contemporary world. The heads and figures in the show are metaphors for the primordial emotions generated by nature, regulated by spontaneity and pure instinct. The collection of the works in FREE FALL attempts to show the mental and behavioral barriers that civil society imposes to us, causing a condition of stress and frustration; essentially its a nature vs nurture comparison.
TPW: You moved from Milan, Italy to San Francisco, has this influenced your work?
FID: Totally , I think my work it is really reflective to the life I live, my experiences and what's around me.
Moving to SF defiantly made some changes in my head.
TPW: What about visual artists who inspired you?
FID: SInce I've moved to SF I've had the enormous privilege of working with some really amazing artists like Barry McGee and Clare Rojas, who've really helped me progress my practice. Barry has really helped me break through my mental barriers as an artist.
So many artists have influenced my work over the years: Leo Saul Berk, Jay Defeo are a few that come to mind.
TPW: You did a mural on the outside of The Popular Workshop on the day of your show. What is your perception of public and private space, and does that have an affect on your artwork?
FID: I was excited to do this crude interpretation of a piece that I like to reference in my work, The Dying Gaulle by Attalus, on the front of the gallery. This show manifested in such a clean and precise way on the inside of the gallery, that creating an almost opposite aesthetic on the outside of the gallery was not only obviously attention grabbing for someone who might be walking past the gallery but also to demonstrate a diversity in the work in this show and to see some of my smaller works take on a larger more visceral role in a public context. Another big part of making this piece was to be intentionally provocative and to make a piece without holding myself back in terms of assumptions or expectations from other people on what public art should or shouldn't be. I chose to do it very quickly with cheap materials, and not hold myself back, letting my mark making be as free as it could be while still being loosely representational.
TPW: You use a number of industrial mark making instruments (ballpoint pen, bleach, photographs from the television). A visitor to the show referred to your work as being reminiscent of "prison art". Why do you use these instruments, and what does it say about your work?
FID: I thought about it a lot, and the visitor had the right perception of whats going on: as a growing artist who doesn't have much economic help, I started to use ballpoint pen, a really common medium that one can find for little money, just like if you are in prison and that's all you have with a lot of time ahead of you, like I did have. When I moved to San Francisco, I had no job, no paperwork to work and I could t even speak english. Because of immigration politics I couldn't leave the states for a bit, I felt caged, all that lonely time, all that pressures, feelings, emotions, and repressions, were all going straight in to my pieces.
Time cosuming, precise and imperfect at the same time, I like to fill in the blacks in my drawings strictly with ballpoint pen. it's conceptually challenging for my self, the black parts are usually enclosed in solid geometric shapes, inside of them it's wildness. This duality is a big part of my work. I feel wild like an animal and caged like a human being. I love all media and tools to make art, I like to use found objects too, i like the idea of using something that just happened to be found by you and it fits perfect with your ideas, it has all ready a history and texture. I like also the idea of using media that weren't mean to be used for art , it's challenging and again accessible to all, like bleach and television screens, just distorted, decontextualized and replaced in a different environment, the ability of illusion and magic. Just kind of creating images with what you have.
TPW: What are your upcoming plans after the show? What projects would you like to take on?
FID: Right now Im working on a couple of collaborations and small project, a little Riso book and a video with The Popular Workshop, and a collaboration for an art book in Denmark. After this and some time off I want to get deep into really focused new works and I would like to invest some time in bigger size sculptures and installations.