Franco Fasoli – JAZ | Interview

We had the chance to catch up with Franco Fasoli – JAZ and talk about his work and the current exhibition at BC Gallery, Berlin. Learn more in our exclusive interview with the artist.

From June 6th to July 26th, 2014, you have a solo show at BC Gallery, in Berlin. Can you tell us more about “Vinculo” and your collaboration with the gallery? 

This is my first solo show in Germany, and I am very happy to work with BC because I work with them since the first show.

In this case I created all the pieces thinking of the gallery space – the two levels of the space, and I used the duality as it is an important key of my work, but this time reflected into the gallery space.

Vinculo - BC Gallery

Vinculo @ BC Gallery

Photos © Phillipp Barth

The exhibition is about the vinculations and how they exist in our societies, in the rational and non-rational parts of the societies, and also the levels between them. That is why I separated the show in two levels, and used only the human and animal images with the same colours and in mirrored images of the same reality.

BC Gallery

Vinculo #6, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 135 cm, 2014

JAZ in Berlin

Photo © BC Gallery

More photos

In your art you create a tension between the characters and, more specifically, you talk about the tension of confrontation, revealing often violent images. What aspects of human behavior and relations, or aspects of society in general, inspired you to approach these themes?

I started those kind of works for a couple of reasons, the first was all the hooliganism culture in my country and how in some way all that underground culture influences all my society, as a kind of hard core reflection of my homeland reality. Starting with that, I also use a lot of different symbols of Latin American cultures, and the relation with the violence or confrontations and how this is a vital part of the Latin American societies. Also, it is because my work reflects the idea of identity, and the search for identity, and I relate with that due to the use of the public space as an artist. Most of the time, the street artist uses nick names and hides his identity, and represents the homeland, so all that background is part of my work.

JAZ at Bien Urbain Festival

JAZ @ Bien Urbain Festival, Besançon, France, 2014

JAZ Avanguardie Urbane

JAZ @ Avanguardie Urbane, Roma, Italy, 2014 / organized and curated by 999 Gallery

Considering the mirror effect that you use in your works, are you more interested in confrontations between different individuals, groups, cultures or inner confrontations? And what symbols do you use to better highlight this idea? For example, we noticed that you usually depict animals as a metaphor of violence – for example, you say that the lion and tiger symbolize good, while bulls are negative. If man was an animal, what do you think he would be and why?

I like to confront the people or societies one against the other. I use some images like the Tigrada in Mexico (a pre-Hispanic violent ritual) and also the Tinku in Bolivia (very similar ritual to Tigrada) or social conflicts, which are a big part of the Argentinian history. I also use images of popular culture, like sport wear or underground tattoos. The animals are also a way to change the identity of the characters, it is not particularly that each animal represents something specific, but in most cases, the felines represent Argentinian actitudes. I like to work with political advertising, another important issue about the contradictions of Latin American cultures, as in our countries the politicians are the biggest graffiti writers, and their names are all over the city illegally, so I use their own kind of materials or symbolism in my works.

JAZ Turkey 2013

One against one, Mural’Ist Festival, Istanbul, Turkey, 2013

Franco Fasoli painting

Identidad / Identity, 150x140cm, oil on canvas, 2013

You refer to Argentinian and Latin American culture as an important inspiration for your art. Also, you once said that it is important to show respect for the people as an artist and that people interact with your works. What kind of message, emotions or state do you want to offer viewers? And, if you want to generate a dialogue, what do you want to “discuss” with your public?

Work in the public space is about starting a dialogue with the people, it is about how every society reacts to your work, so for me work in the street is not the same as work in the studio. I try not to give people a specific way to read my work, I don’t want to give them a specific message. I like the ephemeral aspect of work in the street and how the street or the society interacts with that work.

JAZ Buenos Aires Argentina

Espacio Forest, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013

JAZ painting

S/T, 80 x 80 cm, spray on canvas, 2012

You travel a lot, and your first visit to Barcelona made you decide to change your style. How important is change for you as an artist? And does change also occur considering the place where you paint – for example, would a work in Berlin be similar to one you paint in New York as themes, motifs and so on?

Yes, I am half of the year traveling, and that’s how I try to keep changing my work, and the way I work. Barcelona was my first breaking place, after that I totally changed my way of working in the public space. At this moment I try to work with the space I am visiting, it is very important as a traveler artist to get in touch with the place and the history of the place and the people. After that, every place reacts totally different, I am totally open to those kind of things. But in the creative process the place always gives you feedback, and I like to work with that in mind, and also with the limitations of the spaces. I am not a pretentious artist, and I like to work with the things I have, not with specific things. I think it is part of being an ephemeral street artist – you can’t be pretentious.

JAZ Puerto Rico

Los Muros Hablan, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2013

JAZ Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa, 2013

You once mentioned that at the beginning you painted with no clear objective in mind. Did travel and interaction with other artists (we know you collaborate with Ever, for example) help you in better defining your work? And what do you think about graffiti and street art – what should be considered when doing art in the streets?

Traveling and meeting different artists gives me another way to see and think about my work, but also gets me more involved into the contemporary art world, get a bit away from the graffiti movement, and pen my view to many other representations and thoughts about art.

I think in general the street artists do not think too much about why they work in the public space and not think too much about the history and aspects of the public art in general. I believe that right now it is vital to think and write about our work in the public space worldwide, it is time to get a collective way to grow, if not all this movement is only going to be in the entertainment circle and not going to give an important contribution to the art history.


JAZ in Perth, Australia, 2014, for the FORM PUBLIC art project

JAZ and Ever

With Ever, La Boca, Buenos Aires

You experiment with unusual materials. Tell us more about your technique and also your choice of colours and how they contribute to make the work more expressive.

The use of materials is also an important part of my work. I used to paint with spray paint at the beginning, when those kind of materials are in the first steps of the graffiti technology, and after a couple of years I decided to leave all the new graffiti and spray paint innovations away, and start to work with very bad spray paint and solvents like mineral spirits and gasoline, also with tar, as this is an important part of being a street artist, it is an ephemeral material, and in a year almost disappears. I also use material from the political advertising in Argentina like Lime, or pigments, and I also create some walls with coal and brick, always thinking of the ephemeral aspect of the contemporary mural art, in reflection to how all this movement works, its instant aspect, of the digital aspect where all the artists just show their works via internet, and the platform is a digital platform, and nobody really cares about the real work.

JAZ Board Dripper

Board Dripper Festival, Mexico, 2013

JAZ Miami

MIAMI, Miami, USA, 2013

Did we miss anything? What are your thoughts now and your plans for the near future?

I am thinking of establishing in other cities, in other counties, in other societies, where I can work and keep painting 50/50 inside outside. I also want to keep traveling and having amazing experiences to share with all the people what this movement offers me.

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Thank you to BC Gallery and the artist for this interview.

Find out more on his website, on FacebookInstagram and Flickr.

Keep in touch with BC Gallery on their website and Facebook page.