A wonderful thing about Colin Frangicetto that I discovered, was how much of a naturally humble person he is with the ease at which he carries himself and is comfortable with opening up and expressing his views and exposing the depths of his experiences. I was lucky enough to chat with him for a little while about the show, his art, and his growth as an artist.
The concept of this show DAY*BROO*YAY… to untangle… you can go pretty deep with it. What was the personal connection you had with that?
I read this article, a few actually… I’m a political person and I stumble across non-partisan websites, like business weekly and shit like that. I just like to read stuff about the economy that’s kind of neutral and more from a business perspective, and not a politically slanted thing. I saw these articles popping up on this phenomenon called System D, which is sub surface level economy basically, because everything is done under the radar of taxes. Like handmade necklaces… like the street vendors. Everyone who sell things on the black market, but we’re not talking about drug dealers or weapons or anything like that… basically someone who’s making shit by hand or something. Like someone buys a pack of cigarettes, separates it into singles, and sells each one individually for a dollar, and not paying taxes on it. Someone who’s beating the system.
Kind of like at Burning Man or pop up markets….
Yea, basically the underground market. The French actually have words for this kind of person and it represents somebody that can just make shit happen and make it work, no matter what,.. ya know? The root of all that is débrouiller. It literally means “to untangle from the shit”, and I found that to be really interesting and really inspiring, because the statistics of System D is… the countries with the strongest System D’s are the most equipped to deal with economic recession and economic depression, actually. We have all these people and poor people and they’re not even effected by it. They can continue to make and sell and hustle and they’re not paying taxes. It’s all generally illegal, but ultimately it’s interesting that something illegal would actually help the economy. Actually help the country from drifting off to the brink.
The only thing that makes it illegal are the people who write the laws…..
That’s really cool… I like the socioeconomic aspect. It could also be taken as, well, what my first impression was… as art on a personal level, and doing art as a way of untangling shit in your head…
Yea, absolutely! The word literally means to untangle or sort out. The system D aspect of it was just what it stemmed from, me finding the word. It just represented what art is to us… which is kinda sorting through the mess, and sorting through your subconscious, and sifting through it and finding what’s worth keeping and what’s worth throwing away. To “sort out from the shit”… and I just found it so poignant of what artist do. To just try and get away from that system of clock, in clock out, go to bed, wake up.. and I found that very inspiring. Débrouiller sounded appropriate. So instead of sound snobby, we broke it into phonetic syllables, and appropriately three… you know for three artists… and it kind of has this fun quality to it. DAY.. BROO.. YAY… like, “Yay!” It kind of has an exclamation mark already built in to it, but it’s definitely a little more snobby and intellectual when you peel it back.
Snobby intellectual in disguise… I like that.
Yea, exactly… Which is kind of my style…
Does your music ever influence or inspire your art? …or visa versa?
I tried to keep them separate from each other… but now on the daily I’m shifting from one to the other. I’ve learned to balance the two. As far as my music and art inspiring each other, they’re pretty separate wavelengths for me as far as what I’m trying to express, but I think I’m drawing from the same kind of ether. Just pulling it out of nowhere. It’s the same thing that makes me happy about making music… is creating something from nothing. I’m not a religious person, and I don’t want attribute religion to creation, but I always found it interesting that that word, creation, comes up in religion all the time. What’s the most divine thing? What does God do? What does any God do? Creates something from nothing. So, I feel like that’s why art is so meaningful to so many people. It’s like us mimicking the divine act of creation.
…and does that help to ground yourself when you’re out touring? Do you paint while you’re touring?
Yea, constantly. Now it’s kind of like I paint to keep up with bills… (laughs) …ya know? I‘m like, I‘ve got commissions and got to keep going… but even when I don’t have work, I do it just to stay sane. Like when you load into a venue at 9am and you don’t have to play till 9pm, it’s a lot of down time and as a musician you can definitely find yourself in all kinds of trouble. So it’s a great way to stay focused and mellow and out of trouble.
That’s definitely a good way of looking at it.
As far as your imagery and your layout, do your paintings just kind of come to you, like the concept of it? …or is it calculated?
I think it’s more of a building process. Sometimes I’ll get an image in my head and I’ll try to execute it, and that’s becoming more frequent now, but I think I was kind of used to building upon a foundation and just keep going with it. That’s how I make music a lot of times, and I’ve applied that to painting… in the beginning anyway, and just do something cool that you like and you just keep adding to it, and eventually you’re like “that’s kind of what I wanted to do with it“… but now, there is more often where I want to do a painting that kind of says this, but instead of just saying it… I want to create it like a symbolic message. I’d love to been able to accomplish that more… uhh… successfully… a little more often.
Personally, as an artist, that’s something I’m working on as well, but I could see that would come with practice…
Yea!… yea, totally…
…and as you practice you become more fluent in getting your language out….
Yea, it’s like your own language… completely.
Have you ever done collaborative pieces?
Yea… well… I’ve done an entire tour where the lead singer of my band, Anthony, and I did collaborative paintings every day. That was great practice in learning how to collaborate with somebody, but I have a collaborative piece with Drew in the making now… that I’ve had for months now, and he’s like “Where‘s that painting?!” (laughs) …So I have that.
You guys are just passing back and forth?
Yea, and then I have another piece with my cousin, Steve Bradshaw, and he’s an incredible artist. We’re working on this weird, death bed of Abraham Lincoln. Very, very, strange… we’re piecing it together. But yea, it’s awesome… it’s kind of an interesting thing to learn. You’d think I’d be so attune to it, with working with four other guys, making music all the time, but it’s weird… you kind of have to be really giving about it, and just be like “here, you do whatever you want with it, and I‘ll do whatever I want”
Yea, I could see that with art, because you have total control over where it’s going, but a visual piece is more permanent, as the sound is more fluid…
…and it’s also a respect thing too, because sometimes to be collaborative you have to paint over what someone else is doing and just kind of feel like “Hey, I own this just as much as you do, so I‘m going to do this” and I think, for me, that’s why Drew’s is taking so long (laughing) it’s cuz when he first gave it to me I was still kind of putting him up on a pedestal. He’s someone that inspired me and helped me… and I never really felt like I was his equal, and now after doing this show with him and staying at his place and painting together and stuff… I feel like “alright, we’re like total peers now“… and I feel like “ok, I can paint over something he did“… (laughs)
(laughs) It’s a growing process as well….
(Drew helps Colin hang some of his work for the show)
No, that’s cool…. that is really cool. So obviously, you were saying that Drew inspired you… what are some other artistic inspirations or influences?
Well, Esao Andrews who actually does Circa’s art is a huge influence, and has become kind of a mentor for me in a way. I lean on him a lot for advice, like I’ll text him nonstop “what do you do when you do this?” It’s kind of interesting cuz he works in oil and I work in acrylic, but a lot of the lessons that he passes to me I can apply them. Especially business wise, because I think he’s really humble and kind of punk rock attitude, where is totally where I chill with I don’t deal with cut throat business tactics, that’s not really my style. So Esao has always been very kind, and I feel that art for him is much more than a job and it’s more than just an aspiration. So having someone like him… and there’s this guy from Philly, Christopher Davison, he’s a fabulous painter, and he’s given me good advice. Then there’s contemporary painters James Jean, (street artist) Crayola, Natalia Fabia, Jeremy Geddes… and of course the classics like Picasso…
It’s great that, as an artist, musically you have a peer that’s an influence and you can talk with an artist that works with your band… that’s such a cool opportunity.
It is amazing… it didn’t even dawn on me until late last year. I was like “I should ask Esao for advice” …and I’d start sending him pictures and he’d say “that‘s awesome” and “I love that” and I’d be like, “Hey what do you think? I was thinking about doing this to it… how should I do the detail here…?” …He’d say, “get this kind of brush… use a lot of paint thinner… it‘s gonna look cool”
…or with acrylic, use water…
That’s interesting as an acrylic painter you have an oil painting mentor… being that the difference between acrylic and oil can be the speed at which you paint.
I also use acrylic… and have done acrylic that people thought was oil.
You know what? …yea… exactly… I try and mimic oil techniques with acrylic. I feel like Drew is a true master of acrylic painting, and it looks like acrylic painting… it looks perfect. Like, I try to make my shit look more like oil, and I lean on varnish a little bit more than those guys do.
You build layers or…?
Yea, and I’m also a sort of a multi medium weirdo, so I’ll like throw charcoal on it last minute, and people say “charcoal on acrylic? Really?”
…or sharpie? (laughs)
Yea! …or whatever!… I’ll throw whatever on there. I don’t even care.
If you can’t find a thin brush… fine point sharpie. It totally works!
I actually just got into these… well, sharpie makes these oil based paint markers and it’s incredible… for touch ups and they smear too which is great.
Kind of like Prismacolors?
Yea, they’re like that… a little more thick. The one I have now is just a gold one, but I have the whole spectrum of em. You just shake em up and it’s like an oil based opaque.
You ever think of getting sponsored by sharpie? (laughs)
(insert sarcasm and heavy sighs) Ahhhh… I don‘t know, ya know?.. I feel like with any of that stuff… I can’t handle rejection… so I don’t even try… like whatever… (smiles)
Colin Frangicetto frequently posts pictures of his paintings and works in progress on Facebook. It has been a great experience getting to watch his paintings evolve… and to see the accumulation of his work on display here at Empire Seven Studios. You can follow Colin’s work on his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ColinFrangicettoArt