Francesca Gnagnarella is an incredible Perth-based artist who’ll be exhibiting her stunning artworks, featuring 23 karat gold leaf, at the Other Art Fair in Melbourne from the 2nd to the 5th of August. I managed to nab some of her busy time to chat art, travel and where her go-to food spot is when she visits Melbourne.
I adore the soothing nature of your works. Tell us ALL about them!
Since moving to Perth from Europe I’ve been amazed by the intensity of light that I’ve found only in Western Australia so I wanted to replicate its vibrancy on canvas. I do this using 23 karat gold leaf in most of my paintings as it enriches them with a unique luminosity!
My works themselves are what I call ‘emotional landscapes’; they capture fleeting moments of memory with a vision that’s emotional and intuitive – remembering a sunrise, looking at the earth and the sky in the sunshine or after rain, recalling the oranges, ochres and soft greys of a sunburnt desert, the clearest azure waters, the softest sand, the brightest sunsets.
Landscapes are portrayed in an inspiring manner to give a sense of uplifting familiarity, trying to capture the essence of a place through an exaggeration of colours, forms, and texture, rather than reproducing it from a photograph.
You were born in Italy, studied in Paris, got married in Perth, have exhibited in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore and soon we’ll have you in Melbourne! What’s your favourite part of the world and why?
If I’m not in the studio painting, you’ll probably find me at the beach! In Australia I adore spending time in northern WA or for an even more remote experience I love visiting Sumba, a small Indonesian island. In both locations I can totally switch off and refuel on creative inspiration.
Do you like travel? If so, what it is about travel that you like?
I always loved travelling, learning new languages and experiencing new cultures, but now the I mostly travel for work to exhibit my works at international shows or around Australia. I prefer to travel to relaxing destinations on the beach, following the summer sun!
Well, we love our art and artists in Melbourne and can’t wait to have you here. Do you have any go-to things to see or do when you’re in town, or anything you want to do?
It’s almost routine now that every time I land in Melbourne, my first stop is to dine at Chin Chin and check out the street art amongst the laneways. I try to get to the temporary exhibitions at the NGV, like their current feature of masterpieces from MoMA.
On my next trip in August, I’ll be exhibiting at The Other Art Fair and I’ll try to also visit the Melbourne Art Fair. It’s a great time to be in Melbourne if you’re a lover of art!
We’re also massive foodies – what’s your favourite?
I'd lie if I didn’t say my favourite foods are ice cream and pizza! As an Italian, my favourite cuisine is of course Italian, although I love discovering international cuisines amongst my travels.
Being an artist must be an incredibly demanding profession, always needing to be ‘on’ creatively? How do you restore the energy levels? What gives you creative inspiration?
I’m fortunate to live between the ocean and the river, so when I need creative inspiration, my favourite thing to do is to go for a walk along the river or beach. I can slow down, observe my environment, take in colours, patterns, textures, and, most importantly, the light, which has a particularly vibrant quality here in Perth. I represent this throughout my works with the use of 23 karat gold leaf, which has become my signature style.
As someone who is clearly very successful, what’s your biggest piece of life or business advice you can offer to others (artist or otherwise)?
Always trust your heart and trust your dream – it will become your story. Dedicate your everything to make it happen and get ready to work 100 hours a week!
What are the challenges you and other Australian artists face in 2018 and beyond?
It’s hard getting your works and your name noticed out there amongst a million other super talented creatives. It’s essential to have constant passion and determination to prove to the world you are worth getting noticed!
The distance to other parts of the world can be a challenge; immersing yourself in inspiring major exhibitions or cultural events that take place in Europe or Asian countries helps expose you and your creativity to new stimulations and new challenges.
So where CAN we find your artworks?
In Melbourne, you can find my works at The Interiors Assembly or you can visit my gallery in North Fremantle by appointment if you live in WA.
You’ve been working with Saatchi for the last two years, selling to collectors all over the world. What does it mean to you to be involved with The Other Art Fair in Melbourne this year?
This is a great opportunity to be extending my presence with Saatchi to a physical exhibition in Melbourne. I can’t wait to meet potential clients in person and showcase my works to a new audience.
Why should people go to The Other Art Fair in Melbourne on August 2-5?
You’ll discover 100 of the most talented and inspiring emerging Australian artists and be able to buy directly from them at the fair!
You can also get free entry with the promo code ARTFrancesca (not valid for opening night on the 2nd).
The Other Art Fair is an international art exhibition that's coming to Melbourne and will be held at The Facility (2 Chelmsford Street, Kensington, Victoria) from the 3rd to the 5th of August.