We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Bifulco and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Francesca, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
As artists we tend to feel things very strongly and when we are confronted with circumstances like social issues, isolation, loss and pain, we dive right in as it’s our way to cope, to understand, to make sense of it or to subvert it. At some point the work is born into the world and starts a conversation with its audience and that very conversation is the important part. Whatever the form may be, the arts are a tool for growth, progress and regeneration, they shape new meanings for ourselves, for the community we leave in and on a global scale. Throughout this pandemic and the current social turmoils, art and its protagonists continue to serve their duties to inspire and to make things better. I create works that focus on communal and personal experiences informed or affected by social events, conflicts and developments. The reoccurring subject of my paintings has been people, in the shape of crowds and masses transitioning into a single entity. Overtime, this has become a body of works I keep expanding on, on and off.
COVID made me reflect on the new meaning a crowd would gain. The more the lockdowns were pushed further and further, the more I was feeling motivated to go back to painting about that subject, but from a different perspective this time: the physical separation enforced by a pandemic, resulting in fear of each other’s proximity, yet something we are yearning for.
When the BLM marches started echoing all over America, I inevitably redirected my attention to what was happening and the way that was happening: large gatherings pounding the streets; their bodies and voices out, in spite of the new rules of personal safety for a shared cause. I needed to contribute with my work in support, so I jumped right in and started my current ongoing series called “Ignited States of America” with a large-scale painting about systemic racism and police brutality. I also plan to focus on subjects like women’s rights, gender discrimination, incarceration, immigration, the importance of multiculturalism, and the fights for a fairer and just world. With this series, my aim is to further reflect on those events that show us how broken and ever vulnerable this country is; able to turn its own values upside down. But a country that I still love and I see hope in.
I had a 4-year gap in between the Crowds that gave me the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of my work: when I embedded myself in the community of the Neapolitan neighborhood of Forcella-Southern Italy, often undermined and avoided due to its historic involvement in organized crime, drug trafficking and street violence. I documented the rituals surrounding a group of men that play cards every day, attractor for the young kids around the area and a true beacon of light within a dark reality. This engagement translated in a multimedia installation that supported and strengthened the view of a community not many believed in. Since then, Forcella has been included more in local arts-based programs and initiatives.

Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My main medium is painting and, wether it entails figurative or more symbolic subjects, the way I do is through stark lines that resemble cuts. Often people ask me how I do my lines. They are executed with brushes when the depiction is intended to be flat or by using also palette knives if I want to build texture, thickness and create intense effects of depth and shadows. Either way, I paint countless amount of lines that intercross each other or are layered upon each other to simultaneously define and blur forms, within a sentiment of controlled chaos. I’d like to think my style suggests the idea of motion and dynamism of my subjects, which perhaps is also a reflection of my turbulent and lively inner spirit. I rely on the accuracy of my lines to push a graphical sense through the medium of painting, populated with materials that are untamable by nature.
I think that my style has stayed coherent throughout time, while evolving. Since living in LA, I have been exposed to so many art forms and different ways in which these are presented that it is hard not to be inspired by.
I have gone from large-scale two dimensional depictions on canvas to more sculptural wooden compositions that involve hand built three dimensional details. When the opportunity kicks in, in terms of space, I stretch all of this to installations that I call mini-sets. I enjoy very much interlacing the pictorial aspect with sonic and video narratives, using props and lighting enhancements to create multidimensional works that provoke a deeper dialogue.
Thinking back, I would channel my creative process into only one project at a time and sort of cornering myself. During this past year, instead, I have been organically bouncing between different bodies of works at the same time, and experiencing different dynamics in the studio that are less linear; it has been interesting to realize how that can inform and even affect one project or the other in unexpected and positive ways.
Only recently I am finding the actual confidence to experiment with smaller scale works while investigating different materials and subject matters. I look forward to see where that takes me.
And lastly, what am I most proud of? I tend to criticize and question my works a lot but there is one piece that I am proud of, as it has helped me consequently rise from the ashes of losing my father. A little over a year ago, before I had almost completed a large wooden triptych, my father suddenly passed away. I was able to complete the work only around the beginning of the pandemic, when I returned to LA bringing certain items with me that had to do with my dad that ended up being incorporated into the piece.
What started as a multi-paneled textural abstract painting eventually transitioned into an installation called “Nero Apparente” (Italian for “Illusion of Black”), dedicated to my father. This piece and its execution became witness to deep pain, devastation and disorientation, but also the tool to turn that energy inward in order to survive. And this is also where I am at.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My mother was visiting for the first time the week before the lockdowns started in LA. So while we still could, I took her for a fun and relaxed meal at Barbara’s At the Brewery Artist colony, right around the corner from us (I hope it will return to function after COVID because it was great). We explored DTLA making stops like The Last Book Store, Clifton’s Republic, and we caught a fun drag cabaret act at the Little Easy. We knocked out almost all the Downtown Museums, played arcade at the Little Tokyo Market Place, the only mall I recommend. We visited Olvera Street and Union Station and there we got a beer at the Imperial Western, I love the atmosphere in there. We walked through China Town and got a drink at Apothéke, a great apothecary-inspired bar. We scrolled Hollywood blvd during sunset with a stop at Wacko-Ozzie Dots-Goodwill corner, Hollywood Toys&Costumes, Amoeba at its original location and milkshakes at Mel’s Drive-In. We went for a speakeasy experience at No Vacancy and ran into a magic show at Black Rabbit Rose, my mom loved them both. We spent some time at the Original Framers Market on our way to the Venice Canals and some beach-side walks. But then places started to shut down and shows being canceled, and she was trapped here. So, over the following couple of months we visited outdoor places like the Arboretum, the Huntington Gardens, some parks, the charming Angeleno Heights, and then just drove; throughout almost the whole city, across the hills, along canyons, through the entirety of Mulholland, and that was beautiful and fulfilling. Also a lot of taco trucks.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Primarily and proudly my father, who has ingrained in me the freedom of complete self expression for as long as I can remember. The rest of my family back in Southern Italy entrusting I could take on the challenging path of making art. My husband Alex, sound artist and all around talent, with whom I co-create our multimedia projects, under the name of Card 0 Collective. The support coming from my longtime friends, the people that believe and invest in my work, the places that have opened their doors to me, the fellow artists friends who break and reinvent their own rules. The people whose lives I paint, from my community in Naples, to the protesters who march for black lives, to the female voices that are contributing with their talents to improve life for all women.

Website: https://www.francescabifulco.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/francescabifulco_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/francesca.adognimodo

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8uLIKgWnsBGIv0757SwUMw

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