Luca Curci talks with Francesca de Campora during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY 2021, Second Edition, at Valid World Hall Gallery.
Francesca de Campora is an Italian artist based in Manchester, England. Growing up in Naples in a family that loved art, she was stimulated to develop her talent from an early age. Naples is another great influence on her with its unique blend of chaos and beauty. A graduate in Illustration from the European Institute of Design, Rome, she mainly works with acrylics and oil pastels. Her career started when she was young, as she participated in numerous exhibitions and sold her works both in Italy and England. She also works as a freelance illustrator both in Italy and England. Her latest series of works “Details” was born after a number of experimentations with oil pastels and acrylics on portraits. She wanted to narrate moments of life throughout just details, whether they are looks on people faces or specific moments that could seem unimportant but that pieced together become life. This series was exhibited in New York in September 2020 and featured on various art magazines. During this challenging times she has continued experimenting, and believes that it is important to keep a record of the various phases and emotions that the present situation creates.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Francesca de Campora – I am currently focusing on illustration, I am working on a graphic novel in collaboration with a writer. I find it a very beautiful way of storytelling that mixes illustration, cinema, writing together.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
FC – I tend to paint and draw instinctively. The shapes and colour tell me where to go and I don’t like planning too much what’s going to happen on the canvas. Music helps but can also influence too much the mood of the painting so I like to switch it up with podcasts.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
FC – Usually I work on themes. I am still surprised at how they become important within me, and I feel a need to paint. Over the years that’s always been the case for me. I have represented things that were representative of moments of my life, and always found a symbolic way of linking them to my art, so the all process is very instinctive and also therapeutic. Very often I don’t realize what I am representing and how is actually connected to my life until the process is over until the series is done and in a way, it’s out of me. Usually, each “series” has several paintings with the same theme.
LC – What is your creative process like?
FC – It’s hard to describe my creative process as I perceive it as always evolving and changing with me. There have been times where I used to write on the canvas things that were important to me and then painted above them, other times I had so much clarity in what I wanted to represent that I just sat down and painted. Other times the painting took much longer and changed so many times it was nothing like what I had set to do at the start.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
FC – All the time. I was always told it was important to maintain a certain style. But my art kept changing with me and I think that for me that’s the only way I can be an artist. When I was at university my style was bold, I only used black and white. I was young and idealistic and my style was showing a clarity that I don’t have anymore. Then it changed again and again symbolizing all the changes that I was going through. When I suffered from depression I could only paint the sea. Sometimes barren sometimes accompanied by huge whales, which were symbolic of the feelings I had inside of me. The latest series of portraits was created when I started recognizing the importance of the relationships I had around me, and all of a sudden I started painting people.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
FC – I love the idea that art has always overcome borders, whether they would be social norms, physical borders, or even personal perceptions. In this sense, I completely agree that it’s vital to talk about borders in art. Especially in a moment where borders are being used to divide, to privilege some and exclude others. Art is the language that we all speak and understand, that brings us together, that makes everyone belong.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
FC – The “Details” series was born after a number of experiments with portraits. I wanted to narrate moments of life throughout just details, whether they are looks on people’s faces or specific moments that could seem unimportant but that pieced together to become life. I choose not to reveal the identity of the people I portrayed because I only wanted to focus on the concept of the human form. From the colours I choose to portray them, it’s not possible to recognize the ethnicity or sometimes not even the gender of the person behind the portrait but they do reveal their essence and emotions. In this way, I think the series connects with the festival theme, the idea of overcoming a barrier, or border, by stepping outside the border of perception and looking at what it means to be human through emotions and feelings which are universally relatable.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
FC – I enjoyed the process and found it very easy to communicate with the staff. Everyone was very helpful and there was a clear plan of action and process to follow. I felt like it was an important event to join and that I shared the ethos behind the ITSLIQUID Group.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
FC – I like the ethos of ITSLIQUID Group, it creates great opportunities for artists and the themes it focuses on are very important. I’m excited to see what this group will bring into the future.