This year’s edition of The Crystal Ship in the city of Ostend in Belgium was a great opportunity to catch up with Francisco. In this interview I find out more about his background and also about his negative technique that he presented during the Festival.
Big thanks to the Crystal Ship and the all team for having me!
When I finally met him in Ostend and saw him progressed on his mural during The Crystal Ship I wondered how the project with the festival came together. Francisco explains ‘I think thanks to the magic of the internet the Festival was familiar with my work and they contacted me several months ago to find out if I was interested in participating in their project’.
Once I settled in Ostend I discovered the artist’ work for this year’s edition where he painted a woman’s portrait. While finding out more about the subject and the story behind his artwork, Bosoletti commented that he decided to use this image as a representation of a part of the history of the city that he found very interesting.
‘During the Spanish Civil War (1937-1937) Ostend and some other cities on the Belgian coast were the place of exile for thousands of Spanish children, known as ‘Children of War‘. These children spent many years away from their families, and many of them never saw them again and continued their lives in these cities’ he says.
‘The photograph is quite old, from the 50’s I believe, and was actually taken in Ostend. We are not sure who this young woman really is, but it is very likely she could have been a girl from the war’.
‘It is undeniably a very important piece of history that lives with many families of Ostend. In fact, while I was painting the mural I was discussing with locals who asked me about the work. I explained that the history of the children of war was deeply linked to their culture, but not to the naked eye, not in a superficial way. It was instead something deeper, from within the history of each family that adopted a child’.
‘It seemed very interesting to relate this story to my technique of painting in negative as it allowed me to try and generate the memory of those deep meanings that mark our history but that are unseen by the naked eye’.
When you see his work unfolds you can’t help but question how this negative effect is achieved. Perched on his cherry-picker Francisco used two photographs as a point of reference to achieve this effect. He just made it looks so easy to realise and I wondered what the genesis of this concept was. Francisco explains that ‘the concept was born in Naples, Italy while I was working on a project with a very powerful social element. Naples, like many other cities in the world, is a clear example of how society can easily be superficial without making much of an effort to acknowledge the different realities. This is where I made my first intervention using this technique. The meaning behind it implied that you could look at things in a positive way, and get rid of the black ‘filters’ imposed on us, especially from the media’.
‘The mural ‘Speranza Nascosta‘, was made in a homeless shelter where many people work hard without getting much help when they do so much for the Society. And this is just one of the many realities that no one sees unfortunately’.
‘I try not to be invasive with spaces, and this type of works goes almost unnoticed by people. But then, if you make an effort and get interested in really knowing what is there, some manage to decipher it’ he adds.
‘These days anyone has a cell phone in their pocket, and you can easily reveal the negative image of my work. However, my work goes beyond that message as I am not really interested in knowing if people look at it with or without a filter, if it is easy or if it takes a while. The idea is to generate a deeper interest, whether the viewer takes it in a good way or not, I’m interested in them finding out by themselves that this is not just stains on a wall but there is actually something else beneath’.
Talking about his technique, I was quite intrigued about his process and asked him to talk me through it. Francisco explains that the process is done observing both the photographs in negative and positive mode, while he is watching through a camera to see if the positive effect is on track. It is something that takes time but he find s it very entertaining. He only uses rollers and brushes, and sometimes he makes some details with spray paint.
‘The scales are already are now quite natural. However, I did not start painting on large scale murals immediately; it was a progressive approach that I have developed over the past few years’ he adds.
Surely there must be challenges in this process, the artists comments that ‘there are always challenges, it’s the fun part in being able to paint on the streets. There are many elements that influence each work and each new intervention is a challenge, and rarely does everything come out as you had planned’.
I am sure Bosoletti is up for many new endeavour and I ask if he could share with us what is next for him. The artist reveals that this year ‘I will be participating in some projects around Europe, mostly painting murals, and I will also spend a lot of time in the studio working for a personal exhibition that will be held in October in Torino, Italy’. Keep an eye out for more news!
Interview and photos Julie