Webdesign by Innovative Concepts in Collaboration with Franc PALAIA (c) 2018- All Rights Reserved
FRANC PALAIA Artist Statement 2019 I have been photographing walls, murals, signs, billboards, street art and graffiti since 1976. In my travels of 26 countries, I have accumulated thousands of urban wall images. I am a painter, photographer, sculptor and muralist, so it is natural that I incorporate these four mediums into mixed media works and in this show I am presenting a small sample of new pieces with imagery culled from Italy, France, Cuba and the USA. You can get a sense of a country by its walls. I have a saying, ”Walls are drop cloths of a society” and it makes the expression, “You can read the writing on the wall” a truism. In the 1980s I received the prestigious Rome Prize fellowship based on my contemporary painted “secco frescopaintings,(painting into dry plaster). The Rome Prize frescoes were of contemporary urban walls of China inspired by my trip to China in 1981. My Roman works were fabricated with plaster layered over large slabs of Polystyrene or Styrofoam, where I painted into dry plaster with water base casein paint along with other materials. My simulated Roman and Italian Renaissance style of painting onto walls into plaster was seen as a new variation on an old and classic technique. To bring my fresco style into the contemporary realm, I also add collage, found wood and metal pieces and to finish them off I sand, gouge, scrape and literally batter the surfaces to age them and make the simulated wall fragments look as realistic as possible. This new series continues on this technique however, the difference is the new works are primarily photographic –based with added collage, paint, found objects, 3-D sculptural elements along with the battered and aged surfaces. I finish them off by using my original simulated recipe for fake concrete along the edges to complete the total illusion. The final works simulate real chunks of masonry that bring the works closer to architecture. The irony of these mixed media photo-sculptures is that they look extremely heavy, but are actually feather light (they only weigh a few pounds each), they look old, but they are brand new and they look real but they are completely fabricated. The street imagery in this show are specifically from Naples, Rome, Paris, Havana and New York City. Over the years I have collaborated with well known street and graffiti artists such as, Crash, Daze, Riff, Tracy 168, Vulcan, Coco, Richard Hambleton and others and was commissioned by Jean- Michel Basquiat to paint two urban paintings that were eventually sold at Christie’s Auction House in NYC after the artists’ death. My street art photographs have appeared in two recent documentary films, Shadowman” the Life and Street Works of Richard Hambleton and Boom for Real, the Teenage Years of Jean Michel Basquiat”. Both films were screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. My murals have been featured in Hollywood films, (Bad Company), the Discovery Channel and WNBC Network TV.