Artist Profile: Justin Francesco
Justin Francesco is a Newark based artist using a variety of mediums to create visually striking figurative works. Some of Justin's work is currently available in the Art House Gallery Online.
What is your earliest memory of the arts?
My earliest memory of the arts would have to be my father drawing old-school MGM style cartoon characters on napkins for me while I accompanied him to his job where he worked as a Master Jeweler. Both the whimsical nature of the napkin drawings and the technical sketches for my father's jewelry work definitely affected me. My father also made a point of taking me to the MoMA where I got the first glimpse of artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Umberto Boccioni and others.
Why are the arts important to you?
The arts are important to me because they are the closest way that a human being can express their inner truth. As an artist, I find that being able to express said truth is beneficial for people as it provides the level of introspection needed for personal growth and can act as a coping mechanism to deal with all of life's challenges. The arts are a true supplement to mental and spiritual health.
What is inspiring you right now? Who do you look to for inspiration?
Currently I have been looking deeply at the works of artists Jerry Gant and George Condo. I tend to look towards the work of these two for inspiration but also find it in the works of artists like Francis Bacon, RAMMELLZEE, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marisol and many others. Everyday life is also a huge inspiration whether it be a crack in the sidewalk or an old apartment building. These things all have a story and a voice. People inspire me as well due to the simple fact that we are all walking, breathing structures made up of energy and memories with different beliefs and personalities all trying to exist in a world that is not created to supplement the spiritual health of the masses.
Why is painting your chosen medium?
As a young kid I always viewed painting as "what artists do" and it never seemed out of reach to me because it was very similar to how one would draw with media such as oil pastels or pencils. I never viewed painting as unique but rather an element in the roster of ways I can create.
How has your style changed over the years?
Over the years my style has gone from strictly geometric abstraction to utilizing elements of the various styles of art that influence me such as Cubism, Graffiti, Abstract Expressionism, Cartooning, etc. I have always sought to push my style to be ever-changing and non-stagnant. This is the only way I can ensure that my work becomes more complex over time.
What's your process like?
My process usually begins with a few lines and gradually builds an understructure on which I build up the levels of detail in the image. I tend to push the limits of how many minute details can be incorporated and throughtout the creation process I build up and take away with a variety of media such as spray paint, collage, acrylic paint and so on. I find that each different media is its own experience and utilizing many different types of media has a never-ending list of potential visual outcomes.
Is there a dream place/project you'd like to work on?
A dream of mine is to work in a sizeable studio so as to have freedom of motion and not limit the size the of my work to the confines of the space. I also would love to work abroad as part of a residency and am hoping to do so this coming year!
Justin Francesco is a New Jersey based artist who dabbles in painting, drawing and sculpture in an effort to both open up dialogues about mental health, social media, capitalism and other ailments that take a toll on us as human beings as well as create in an open-ended manner, allowing the viewer to draw their own meanings and conclusions. His work is created using various materials such as spray paint, assemblage of found objects or trash, acrylic paints and anything else he can get his hands on. Francesco's influences vary but include areas of artistic expression such as Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Graffiti, MGM Cartoons and even capitalist propaganda such as advertisements.
Some of Justin's work is currently available in the Art House Gallery Online.