TEN TALKS TO LEFTY OUT THERE
Lefty Out There aka Franco Campanella has been making his mark around the world with his signature squiggle. The artist’s abstract cell-like patterns have morphed onto Chicago walls, fashion collaborations and most recently, been on show at Maddox Gallery in London. We like his style, so we spoke to Lefty about his process and how his home town of Chicago influenced him:
We love the work you create. You grew up in Chicago, how did the city inspire you?
"I was inspired by the graffiti scene in Chicago where I began my formative years in the street art world. I was heavily influenced by the amount of wheat paste artists. Chicago is a big bike and skate city, which affected my ability to put up graffiti. I was constantly moving around that way so it was easy for me to make frequent stops and become very aware of the ins and outs of the city. That’s also when I started to love and notice the architecture around me."
Tell us about your process. What do you hope someone viewing your art feels?
"My ethos is to cover everything. I am constantly creating. My art entirely consumes my life. I want people to feel something. I hope that every viewer has a completely different interpretation of my work. For one person it can be disorienting and for another highly organised."
You have a signature ‘squiggle’. Why a squiggle? What do you love about the squiggle? Cool if we change this to mark or pattern?
"It’s something that came naturally to me. My shapes, otherwise known as polymorphs, are the foundation of my creations. I love the primitive aspect of mark-making and leaving my mark everywhere I go. I really enjoy the pattern because it represents the ambiguity that can be found all around us in nature. It seems similar to the viewer, but it's actually different every time."
You’ve collaborated with some legendary brands. Do you have a favourite collaboration so far?
"I don’t think I have a favourite brand, in particular, I’m fortunate to have collaborated with so many great companies. When I take on a new client, I don’t like to just do the art, I really want to be one with the brand and find a way to get involved. I’m doing the artwork for the Chicago half marathon in June – my artwork will be on the medals, raceway, and all the merchandise for the run. I’m taking on the challenge of also participating in the run. It’s meaningful that my art will be a part of people's accomplishments in completing the marathon."
Who would you love to work with in the future?
"I am manifesting a collaboration with Audemar Piguet and Jordan. The dream would be a household global item like Coca-Cola. It’s such a relevant brand that touches so many people from so many different walks of life."
What do you listen to while you create? Who’s on your playlist?
"Aside from typically listening to techno, lately, I've been really into 80s power ballads and people like Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, and Naked Eyes."
Do you have a dream gallery or environment you’d love to see your work in?
"MCA because it’s where I fell in love with modern art. I’m currently working on covering all 7 continents including Antarctica. I am trying to join the greats who are exploring the concept of art in space like Jeff Koons, Space Invader, and Tristen Eaton."
You’ve painted murals all around the world. Has any one city or country’s culture heavily impacted you?
"Japan. I love the use of neon, the symbolic writing style, and even the language, in general, is really in line with my style. I’m really inspired by the street culture and fashion scene as well."
What’s the biggest lesson that creating these brilliant artworks has taught you about life?
The power of decisiveness. I feel like people really struggle to make choices nowadays. I try to be a leader – to lead accordingly, strongly, and with intention.
"I have a print drop with NTWRK on May 18th. I also have an NFT drop on Nifty Gateway on May 25th, which will be a continuation of my exploration into the optical art movement."
Above work: Dualitis