The Italian artist F CK open the doors to his life and talked with us, in an interview full of feelings and advices from very experienced artist.
– What you choose to drink?
– Introduce yourself
My name is F CK, Flavio Campagna Kampah
– Where does your tag name come from?
It’s my name initials! Because KAMPAH it’s been my Art nickname since when I was 16 in Art School in Parma Italy. I wanted a shorter…more…exotic version of my last name Campagna that means merely COUNTRYSIDE in Italian. Around the year 2000 while I was in living in Sydney I’ve realised that putting all of the initials next to each other, my acronym was F CK… I thought to myself “FUCK! I am…F CK! “ after that came the slogan that U…are the missing part of F CK!
– How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
Stencil Artist since my choice of medium is stencils.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
I did my first mural painting at the age of 13 inside my own house in Parma Italy where I grew up. I wanted to be a comic artist back then so I’ve painted the picture of one of my carachters back then…it was an “obsessive suicide”…he was trying to hang himself keeping his own rope loop in his own hands. My mother was shocked but is stayed there. She’s always been supportive of my talents.
Then later in the years I’ve started making small stencil to tag and stylised my truckers hats or shirts and jeans. It was only in 2011 that I’ve started enlarging my stencils and made them be the main part of my paintings and started doing it on walls, too.
Nowadays I work on large walls mostly between Italy and L.A. where I live now. But also stencils on canvas, wood and recycled materials that I found in the streets of Venice, CA.
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Thanks the world for being still part of it, then turn on my phone and check all my socials in bed. I have a coffe and little breakfast and then start cutting my stencils in the morning light outside.
– Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
I grew up with the very early PUNK scene, I’m still a Punk at heart! And right now it would be BOWIE since I’m still mourning his loss this year. He was my most powerful influence in Art in spite of the fact that he was a musician. He was a true visionaire and visual artist, too. His way of dealing with his own image and the one of his concerts, videos and record covers was ground breacking, and his early works were real “concept” albums…I can t wait for someone to make a great movie about him and maybe a musical from THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS.
– In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?
Other talented people works, for sure, first! And then nature. I’m always fascinated by how rich, complex and detailed everything is in nature. We are surrounded by natural beauty the whole time. But I also like to find beauty in old and decay things, too. Beauty goes beyond its life span.
– What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
Making sure that is going to please not only me but also as many people as possible. I don t work to please everyone, but I do my work to please other people and not only myself. That’s the centre and the purpose of all my work. I would feel like loosing my time if I was doing it only for my own pleasure.
– Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?
I’ve always loved Picasso not only for his strong magnificent work but also for his life style and the way he embraced his talent and art and put it to the service of everyone, with some very powerful social messages, too… I m thinking of Guernica or his Peace dove to name a few. I also love what Andy Warhol did for the art world and how he changed the concept of it and make it became a modern part of society. DADA and surrealism were also my early forms of art influences. Other names coming to my mind often are Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Dalì, Rauschenberg, Pollock but also European Comic Artists like Moebius and Pazienza.
– Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
Los Angeles, the city where I m living now and moved to in the late 1991 is for me a very exciting environment full of inspirations from both the NATURE world and the URBAN one. It’s a very powerful mix of both, like nowhere else in the world for me so far. That’s why I’ve also returned here after living in many scattered places like Rome, London, Amsterdam, Bali, Sydney… Here, living near the beach, I can find a very exciting mixture of feeling next to secluded nature (it’s not only the ocean, but also canyons, deserts, hiking hills, tropical nature…) but also to a very vibrant modern city, with the best and most modern aspects of contemporary life, at the same time.
-Rome with its vast overlapping of periods and styles, still living together to these days in a very busy contemporary worldwide visited city. It’s such a strong visual and urban contrast, it does fuel my inspirations every time I go there.
– What other passions do you have apart from art?
LOVE! Foremost…but also movies, comics, science fiction. And good food, family and friendship… all very important things to cultivate because for me Art is at the service of life and not the opposite.
– Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
Yes! It would be many, but my biggest is a TV series, based on my real life events! I think it would make it into a great entertaining inspirational piece of tv spanning through the ages since the ‘60s, scattered around many different locations around the world, (ITALY, UK, L.A. BALI, SYDNEY) surfing through different areas of the world of visuals and the way it changed throughout the years (I went in my long lasting 35 years career through : comic art, graphic design for fashion, editorial design, motion graphics, commercial directing, long and short filmmaking production, painting, street art and creative direction) and I was also one of the pioneers of the Desktop revolution, so my life story would be a sort of MAD MEN meets THE BIG LEBOWSKY meets SYLICON VALLEY. It would constantly cross in parallel 3 different me (F CK) in 3 different ages, stages and locations of my life so different from each other, but still the same person and artist. It would also offers lots of SEX DRUGS and CREATIVITY but above all…the greatest love story ever told, too! Not going to tell you more now!
– Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
My art is an evolution of my previous work experiences from comic art to editorial design to motion graphics. So it’s full of references, but also messages and political or social commentary. My repeated pattern beside the use of type as one of my greatest passions as a designer is also the portray of people and their faces. I’ve done only very few landscapes or objects, my most prominent fascination is with the faces of humans and a way to use it for communicating my messages.
– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?
Many years. But it’s not the time it stays out there that concern me, the most important thing is how long it will last in people’s…memory!
– What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
To me the most important thing is that it makes them think. To see my work so big and part of the urban contest it’s like a wake up call for the mind. It is one thing to see a piece of art between the walls of a house or a museum, but it is a more complete liberating experience to see it large outside in the streets. It suddenly became part of the world we live in, so my message gets even more powerfully achieved.
– Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
The secret is to not have secrets with anyone and anybody. The circulation of ideas is one of the most important parts in the process of art and art making. Still to these days after being copied so many times in so many of my “first before anybody else” achievements, I still share all of my secrets and recipes with everyone. We are all one. We should never forget this.
– What are your creative plans for the future?
Find a real large studio where I can store my work but also make bigger and better productions. Working on the road is great and satisfying but I also need a place where concentrate in between locations jobs. At the moment I m moving from one garden to another, it’s great to work outside but I need storing facilities too. I also need to find an agent or a business partner so I can separate my art from the mundane survival needs.
– Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
If you think ART is an important pART of life, support the artists and give a real tangible value to their work. Every time you hire an artist or buy a piece of his art, don t just think about how much can you save but how much can you give… to ART…with your own personal contribution! Being cheap with artists is like cheating on life. It is your life, it is your choice. Think about it. F CK
Thank you F CK! It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind such talented and inspiring works.
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.