Crazy Angel – Francesco Igory Deiana
On a clear but freezing day in Brooklyn I met Italian born artist Francesco Igory Deiana and received the warmest welcome. Francesco is not only a character so friendly you easily connect with, but also a person with quite an interesting biography. Starting his career as a young artist on the West Coast years ago, he found conditions, other artists can only dream of: he met influential people who believed in him and pushed his career, he was able to work in a spacious and beautiful studio and could take advantage of many good opportunities that paved his way in the art scene. Nevertheless one day Francesco decided to start all over again following an inherent urge and moved to NYC - into a new life as an artist and as a private person. His today's life is living proof that he was totally right to do so: meeting Francesco you directly know you are talking to a person who does things his own way and feels good about it. I talked with him about what it is like working as an artists in NYC, his current exhibition at Ruttkowski;68´s new space in town and his future plans while he showed me around in his house that is also his studio...
CH Hey Francesco, great to meet you. You have a nice space to work in, quite cosy actually. What brought you here?
FID Hi Tini, pleasure is mine. Thank you, I do like cosy, I always try my best to warm up my zone. What brought me here is a long journey through life developments and the idea of being a little closer to Europe after over 10 years in California.
CH Is NYC a good place to work as an artist? What are the advantages from your perspective?
FID New York is a city where I love to live and that makes me feel at home. It’s great to live here If you want to work as an artist, I think there’s always an interesting and multifaceted scene, and there are a lot of resources around art, which opens many possibilities and variations within that world and because of that, it gives you hope and allows you to dream big. But if you want to be an artist only because of your passion without wanting or needing to work within the contemporary art world then I would say that NY compared to any other city where you can have easier access to space at a way better cost, better and more affordable art supplies and a less frenetic life that would give you more time to dedicate to your passions - then it’s a little less desirable in my opinion. But, New York is New York!
CH Any certain obstacles in this city to overcome, what is particularly hard to achieve in NYC in your opinion?
FID It’s hard to have a comfortable and relaxed life first, but I guess that is well known. It can feel pretty inhuman, especially after having been through the pandemic where you were really able to slow down and just exist on this planet. In a way it feels good to be busy and have more purpose, but it can also be just a little too much. All these things, you can overcome with money of course. But since the normal price rates for living in NY are literally out of this world, it means that you have to be making real bank to be well, and that may be hard to achieve as an artist with all the ups and downs, although in one way or another you always make it work.
CH Do you have some kind of community as artists in NYC? Do you actually help each other or participate in the same programs etc.?
FID I have friends and artist friends and at times we help each other and other times we work on special projects together but as work life it feels pretty singular to each person’s career in my opinion, although I gotta admit I have a pretty strong artistic community in California. I think in general we got to a weird place with the system, where so many artists are rightfully trying to make a living and be successful, which is just the basics to be able to focus on your work and do it as a job too. I dream about a community of artists and movements that unite people, but it seems very hard with this world economy and all the surroundings, with this lifestyle. People are so fed up with their own single structures, and scared to lose any of it and scared to share. Lots of gate keepers unfortunately.
CH Please tell us some more about your personal journey as an artist. Why did you become an artist in the first place and what especially shaped your way?
FID I think I became an artist in the first place because I wanted to have no rules stopping me from my creativity which has always been my output to the world. But also I was very naive about what being an artist means. When I left my country I was young and full of energy and power. What shaped my way was literally my journey, learning about a new culture, a new language and learning about being on my own so far from all I’ve know until then. That all made me grow fast and although it was challenging and a long path, it made me who I am and gave me infinite mental freedom. I’m so grateful for that.
CH Do you have any role models, idols etc.? Some people who had a great influence on your work from a personal but also professional perspective?
FID I don’t have any specific role models or idols, but for example through the years someone like Barry McGee became a real good friend as someone that I used to work for in the past. He helped me open those gates and fight some of my mental barriers. In general, I do constantly feed off of other peoples inspiring work of any kind, it doesn’t have to be art, just other life paths, studies, jobs, experiences. I’m often inspired by my surroundings or historical facts. Also working for many artists and having close friendships with them served me as a ‘life school’. I travelled the world with them installing shows and I always had dear friends to ask for advice and to learn from. I am who I am today because of what I’ve learned from them.
CH What would you say is your main focus, what drives you at work?
FID My practice in general, studies for new materials and techniques and changes within make me happy. I think it’s fun and it feels like a challenge every time I’m onto a new project or discovery and it makes my knowledge grow, making me feel involved, entertained and gives me purpose.
CH Could you tell me a little bit more about your current show at Ruttkowski;68, the title and the idea? How does the work you are doing now differ from work you have done in the past?
FID My show is called “CRAZY ANGEL.” It was a very instinctive moment when I named it, it feels natural to me and appropriate to this body of work. I’ve been thinking a lot about desperation, the need to be miraculously saved from certain conditions, and the impulse and futility of projecting that salvation onto a figure - like an angel. The ‘crazy’ part speaks to an unstoppable, inappropriately intense and a raging concentration of energy. Consequently, the subjects of many of the works are the tools and images we use trying to reach upwards. The work is a lot of color and form experiments, kind of reconciling a wild nature with a more ordered geometry, so the name speaks to that contrast and energy, too. Materially, I think it’s there too in the variations from monochrome graphite to high gloss enamel paint.
CH Speaking of this and the upcoming year. What are your plans and what are you looking forward to?
FID I will tour with my amazing friends Leonardo Scotti and Daniel Sansavini, photographer and designer from Milan to present our new book that is printed right now in Italy. Aside from these two things I will take a break to reconnect with my family and friends and to spend some time in Europe. All I’m dreaming of is to get lost in those beautiful mountains.
CH Last but not least, as a resident in the city that never sleeps: what are your favorite locations where do you bring visitors – food, art, must sees, you name it….
FID Hehe - aside from Pepe Rosso and Fanelli’s I don’t go too far, but I can take you to surf if you like?
CH Haha, I´m in, let´s go!