By Kiran Grewal
IN SOME WAYS, I HATE ALL OF MY ARTWORK
Francesco Tortorella is described as a creative head, an art director, illustrator, writer, film-maker, animator – all of these titles suggesting bursts of creative energy in almost every form imaginable.
He, on the other hand, doesn’t like to label himself an artist, and uses his work as a way to express and stimulate debate and questions. He is, on many levels, an ordinary man who finds solace in exposing his emotional outbursts through his work and hugely enjoys free thinking people.
He especially explores the artificial idea of perfection that is constantly and brutally imposed upon us, and how love and life is in itself, imperfect. His illustrations penetrate the fragile nature of certain eluded topics and leaves lingering questions about how we actually perceive these everyday insecurities.
How do you want people to respond to your work?
I never really raised this question to myself. Mostly my artwork are emotional outbursts that I make for personal enjoyment. I love when people have fun and I love it when they react critically. Commercially speaking it’s a different story, my daily job often requires me to deal with a brief. In that case my emotional imprint is conveyed for other purposes, and takes advantage of other types of communication.
Who influences/inspires you?
I’m inspired by almost everything. I’m very curious and I always look in different directions. My greatest sources of inspiration have always been the history of art. There are great directors and writers who influence me hugely, as I’ve always loved Italian classic movies.
I am also extremely passionate about music, in all its forms, as music is always present within my day it inspires me creatively. I’m completely addicted to collecting records. Often the sentences and titles of my drawings refer to song lyrics.
What is your background and do you think it reflects in your work?
I studied art history, fine art and animation. Absolutely all of that reflects in my work. I start my creative process almost always from rough sketches and build on it from there. I used to be very “concrete”, trying to create a handmade feeling using paper textures and painted stuff on digital works as well.
Are there any pieces of work that hold significance more than the other? If so, which one and why?
Each piece of my art, till the moment I decide that they are finished, last as long as the inspirational mood that pushed me to create them. Then, once finished they become only pieces. In some way, I hate all of my artwork.
What drove you to become an artist?
I don’t think of myself as an artist. When I think about great artists, who inspire me, I think of those who have double the thought process and imagination of a “normal” person – those who think without compromises and boundaries, sacrificing everything for art and adopting extreme lifestyles often to the detriment of themselves.
You’ve mentioned that you work across a whole range of media, such as independent film production, are there any projects you’re involved with at the moment? What should we look out for?
In addition to my day job as a Creative and Art Director, at the moment I am finishing a short animated film. It’s a personal and introspective project made in traditional animation.
I’m also writing an animated series, I’m excited about that, it’s great stuff…but I can’t talk too much about that yet. All I can say is that it deals with a kind of music in some ways.
Speaking of different media, are you partial to any one in particular?
I work a lot with video computers and digital stuff mostly, and I love it, but paper remains to be my favourite media. There is no day without a sketch at least.
Would you say you had a defining style which remains constant throughout your work? I’ve noticed a lot of pop art techniques. How and when did you develop a style and how does this effect your work?
I don’t think so, I think I have quite a personal style, but even that has no real definition and I have to try and understand it day by day. I constantly research and experiment with things, looking at what happens around me. It’s mainly just for my own entertainment. I try to evolve my approach, purely because I get bored easily and I like to change constantly.
You recently announced your artwork becoming available to order all over China. Are you finding an international interest in your work? Why do you think it appeals to such a wide range of audiences?
A couple of years ago I lived in Beijing for a while, working for Pixomondo. And I was lucky enough to hold an exhibition. I must say that my illustrations aroused considerable interest, especially those which were erotic, so I made an attempt to make a partnership with some distributors.
What was the inspiration surrounding your project ‘The Weird Love’?
We have always been caught between two tendencies: to expose and surround to others or to protect ourselves and hide away in search of shelter. This project has been described as dealing with the need to reveal and at the same time to hide love. It’s a secret, delightful torture and a terrible pleasure.
In terms of your piece ‘The Wall Must Fall’, do you find your artwork reflects your political stance?
I do not like to take sides, artistically speaking, I prefer to try and stimulate debate and thoughts, conceptualising the messages or the ideas I want to spread. In this case I wanted to be close to the people of Gaza, most of those people are innocent children that are unable to escape from their tragic conditions. They are not free. I just don’t think we need walls to separate or jail anybody.
You are the founder of Made On VFX, how is that going and what work are you involved with in relation to that?
Actually we do a lot of stuff! Made On VFX is an independent film production company focused on creativity, animation, visual effects and design. We are only a small part too, Made On Studio is actually a huge creative network of directors, artists, writers, designers and a lot of creative people. We work a lot on advertising, the film industry and TV, we also develop Tech and interactive projects focused on art, social and film-making mostly. Right now we’re waiting to produce an animated mid-length that I wrote, a doc-film, a lot of TV shows and a couple of shorts – everything will be written and produced by our team, it’s exciting stuff!