The Italian artist whose watercolour and ink illustrations paint the pages of Aching Beauty, creating a book of art.
Catching the colours of light
Aching Beauty wouldn't be a delight to read, if it weren't for Francesco's drawings, minimal but whimsical and saturated with a spectrum of colours, alongside my words. When he agreed to take on the project and illustrate the book, I was over the moon. Knowing him for years and a fan of his work. His paintings are both transcendental and contemporary, offering a refreshed outlook to free yourself and reconnect with what matters most. A way of living I often need to be reminded of. Born in Serra San Bruno, Italy, and from the age of six living in Toronto. Francesco is not only known for his paintings but for his Calabrian pepper-roasting parties in Peperonta Laneway, backing onto Bickford Park.
I sat down with him to find out he meditates when most of us are still snoring, loves Sunday Sugo, and had a Gospel soul band.
What habit do you wake up to that you can't live without?
4am meditation. It grounds me and shapes my day with creativity and love, helping sustain it throughout the day.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity means soul work. What I have in my deep subconscious that wants to breathe conscious air. There are many ways to get that out of your deep unconscious, but for me, creativity is the one true way that I have that connects me to the other world.
Any new creative projects that you’re working on?
Working with a clay type substance. Bringing my thin and tall, illustrative characters to life. Not sure if its gonna work but trying something new always results in an amazing journey.
Your current favourite tune?
Abraham’s Theme by Vangelis, transports me to another world and dimension, and confirms my place in it with its peaceful airy tone.
What's that tune you're singing in the shower?
Country Fair by Van Morrison. I've been singing that in the shower since mid 80’s, it’s the song I want at my Funeral. It has my soul in it.
Magazine of choice? Book?
The Essential Rumi. It's from the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic, translated by Coleman Barks. Whenever I have a question that’s very important to me I close my eyes, feel the question and turn to a page. It hasn’t let me down for the last 30 years.
A favourite film?
Right now my favourite film is “Shetland” the Scottish tv series. Its very slow moving and has such great shots of the amazing Shetland Island landscape, that make you ache to be there. Very transportive for me.
A dish you just can't get enough of?
Sunday Sugo, like my mom use to make, with homemade tomato sauce, fresh meatballs and hot Italian Sausage. Still remember waking up on Sunday as a kid and smelling the sauce already stewing for dinner, wow! Oh ,and the Savoury Zeppole fried with Anchovies!
When's the last time you wrote a love letter? Or a song?
After a long while, I wrote half of a song two months ago. But really not since 2000, when I had a wonderful Gospel, soul band. What a magical time. Music for me is magic and the portal to God, Universe, the Divine, whatever you call what’s inside me and inside you, that can’t be explained by words, only feelings.
What's your favourite thing to do before you call it a night?
Put my aging mom to bed with a real hug. And kiss my girlfriend buona notte.