We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Quintano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francesca, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As meretricious as the phrase seems, “no risk, no reward” is a golden standard to live by when pursuing a creative career. I like to look at a career in art making as my muscle. In order to grow muscle, the body must damage it first. Risk is the damage inflicted on the muscle, which causes it to grow stronger.
A perfect example of this is I have had the privilege of working on legendary shows in the street art world, (“Art in the Streets”, Beyond the Streets”, etc.) with iconic and prolific artists. Having watched the documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, I realized I wanted to be part of this environment. I looked up the curator, emailed him, and asked for a work opportunity and proved my worth. Without that risk, I wouldn’t be where I am.
Internal risks are as valuable as external ones. One can only grow by pushing to experience and master new things, progressing outside your comfort zone in order to sharpen your craft.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been painting my whole life, deciding at 14 that I wanted to pursue a career in art seriously. I received a combination of a classical art education, mentorship from the age of 14, and personal self exploration. Having spent years of my childhood moving around Europe, I had first hand access to art institutions, exposing me to artists that I would later study at a college level. There is an undercurrent of influence from great artists I experienced, from Caravaggio to Goya, which I still reference in my art today.
Though I have greatly enjoyed my path as an artist, there are still challenges. The main one is myself, and I believe most self-aware humans can relate. Whether it be self-doubt, comparing myself to others, laziness, mental block; the self is the greatest challenge to overcome. The second largest challenge for me has been learning balance. In my quest to expand my horizons I would frequently take on too many projects at once. For years it was typical for me to work 2-3 jobs a day, 18 hr days, 21 days straight, no time off until exhaustion. Though I had some of my most amazing learning experiences during this time, it is dangerous and not sustainable. I to this day still actively work on healthy balance practices.
I have overcome self-imposed and external challenges with both a personal habit and with a humbling life lesson. Consistency is crucial for any personal growth. Whether it’s the consistency of showing up to my studio, even if I don’t make work, but to make the effort and be present, or to consistently push my knowledge, to learn and absorb as much as I can. Consistency is what makes us unstoppable. The humbling life lesson that erases self-doubt is that I have the privilege of doing for my career, is what brings joy and beauty into others’ lives. I at times take this for granted. Accepting this is humbling and calming, and has taught me a great deal about self love.
As for future projects, I have a few exciting ones happening. As for personal work, I have a body of surrealist oil paintings influenced by classical religious iconography, and in a completely different vein, a series of organic instillations. I am art director of a company called Serial Killer Speed Dating, and we have an exciting and beautiful card game launching soon. In November I am curating a show for a great intimate venue called Artbar LA, I also always have various murals happening. What I am very much looking forward to though is the chance to travel to the rainforest of Panama for an art residency in April.
If I could leave anyone who is emerging in their art career some advice, it would be… ignore the fear, try it all, take the risks, be ok with failing, you will always get back up.
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?
I am a Venice local so that would be the start of the to do list. I would hit up the local spots that are dear to my heart. Start at the beach to the left of pier, then cruise up to the skatepark to see if any friends are skating or artists hitting the graffiti wall. If I want some shopping, head over to Abbott Kinney, great shops there. As for food and drink Hama sushi for sushi and happy hour, Hinano’s for a burger and beer, and Gjelina for oysters and rose. Bar wise I love the Townhouse, The Waterfront, The Brig, Roosterfish, and The Whaler. A little outside of Venice but great honorable mentions are Old Man Bar for great cocktails and vibe, and second Circle Bar for super entertaining people watching.
Moving outside of Venice, every part of the city has something amazing to offer. I would do vintage shopping in Silverlake, food in Little Tokyo pretty much anywhere, drinks Downtown at Cole’s, then dancing at Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in Koreatown.
As for art, there are always cools shows happening, in galleries, pop ups, and museums. My favorite places to go to shows are Superchief and Thinkspace. Always feels like a party, amazing art, amazing people, great scene.
Lastly, I love taking a quick trip out of the city. You can find me either in the desert in Joshua Tree, by a body of water in Bass Lake, or in the forest in the Sequoias.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am undoubtedly privileged to have been raised by parents who pushed for me to pursue my career in art. Their belief and support gave me a step, putting me ahead of the curve. Family support instilled belief in myself, allowing a platform to succeed. I am honored to be their child.
Portrait by Mark Dektor