Franko B

Franko B

520franko_b_1-filtered

Franko B is an artist who’s breathlessly celebrated in some quarters, totally misunderstood in others. Long before he was featured on the South Bank Show, Franko’s work came to my attention via the LGBT S&M scene.

At the now defunct Fist, the Milan-born artist proved a regular feature, performing body art spectaculars which transcended the pseudo-sexual vibe and delivered a disarming théâtre du Grand-Guignol with a clinical 21st century twist.

Louder than the splashing drips of blood or white noise soundtracks were the dull thuds of fainting punters who’d stood near the stage and got more gore than they’d bargained for. It can still be said that the audience at Franko’s shows are almost as interesting to observe as the artist himself.

Infamous for performance work, his sculptures, paintings objects and neons are criminally overlooked. Many curators and galleries refuse to even consider his work as a visual artist, because they’ve closed their minds due to the blood based work.

With his squat body shape, gold-toothed underbite and a scarred and heavily tattooed body, Franko cuts an imposing figure. That vision, much like his work, is easy to misinterpret- he’s an utterly huggable gentleman- cuddly, kind and quite brilliant. Having toured the country with his new show Don’t Leave Me This Way, I caught up with Franko at his London workshop in Toynbee Studios.

His performance pieces tend to etch themselves onto the mind, haunting and disturbing for some time after, but his visual art is truly stunning. It’s hard to believe that garments, objects and canvasses crafted from his bloody catwalk horror show ‘I Miss You!’ could be so delicate and boast a terrible beauty.

Franko4blog

Why have you chosen to move away from blood based work?
I’ve wanted to stop bleeding for a long time, actually, but it was hard to get out of it. It’s evolution really, and the context within which I started to make work 20 years ago has changed.

I’m a different person now, and the political, social cultural space that I was in, is totally different from now. I’m 48, not 30 any more. It was important what I did then, but there’s other ways of bleeding. In another way, I think we all bleed.

Also, for me, I think there’s enough blood going ‘round at the moment.

I bled upside down, I bled lying down, I bled on my knees, I bled on my back. I just think it’s enough. In a deeper sense, I have stopped bleeding. Twenty years ago, we had an AIDS epidemic, a different understanding of infection and blood. We’ve had the war in Yugoslavia, Iraq…and the politics of the body changes according to where one finds himself.

I also don’t want to be remembered as ‘the guy who bled’. I work in a lot of different ways. I make paintings, sculptures, installations ,and I don’t want it (bleeding) to be my signature.

This is the only opportunity to do something with my life. You have to ask yourself, do I want to enter the next room? You don’t want to stay in the same room.

Is your work therapeutic for you?
No. If I need therapy, I go to a psychologist. That would be too easy. It can be cathartic, but everything can be.

Your work is mostly personal, I noticed that (painting/sculpture) of the two boys who were hung for being gay in Iran- does that indicate a move into the political?
The personal IS political. Everything is political. Most of the painting I do covers an area of interest which is essentially The Body- the body in war, the body in desire. Like this guy. (Franco highlights one of his black acrylic pictures featuring a young man propped up on a bed)

This guy is in a mental institution and I painted him from a photograph. His family put him in a mental institution when he was 20. I read this story and it made me cry. It’s political, because it’s about self, being who you are and how sometimes being yourself, gets you killed, or sectioned. Recently, I’ve been painting boy soldiers, from Africa and Kosovo.

Do you engage with politics at all?
To be alive is political. Even to do nothing, which is not possible, is political. To sit on the fence is highly political, in fact, extremely.

Like a lot of people say, ‘I don’t vote’. This has much more influence than if you did vote. My attitude is that I am an anarchist, but I believe that people should be free, not to shit on each other. I believe that people should be polite and treat each other with dignity. I think, essentially, everybody is political. It’s impossible not to be.

Do you feel an affinity with the gay ‘scene’?
I don’t really give a shit about the gay ‘community’. It’s a business. I’ve always said that there’s nothing special about taking it up the arse, really.

It’s not like when Stonewall happened. We’re not in the middle of Yorkshire where we might feel oppressed.

Franko1blog

The mentoring scheme? How do you choose who to mentor?
A lot of people were asking me to mentor them or comment on their work. How can you do it? You cannot reply to every e-mail.

Obviously, I’ve been to art college and sometimes I give lectures (St. Martins School of Art, New York University, Courtauld Institute of Art.

As an artist, I’ve been successful in what I’m doing- not so that I can buy a £4m studio. Or a Ferrari, but I’m somebody who’s fortunate enough to make something of my life. I think it’s important, I have a responsibility to invest in others.

How do you choose?
They send in the kind of work they want to do, what is their aspiration, why they want to work with me. Then it’s down to two things; what can I bring to the person and whether I can live up to that person’s expectation.

I say to people- I’m not gonna change your life…really. It’s not glossy, if you want to be a successful artist,and have hundreds of assistants like Damien Hirst, go to Damien Hirst.

I assume you must be comfortable with your body in order to be naked in front of strangers, that true?
No, it’s not. It’s probably true of my personal life. I’m more comfortable with my body than I was 15-20 years ago, but I think it’s different to be intimate with a stranger, than it is with someone you know. To be naked, in front of a stranger is easy.

In a way, I’ve been doing this for so long that,this is what I do. It’s much harder when it’s more personal. It’s difficult when you like that person, when it means more to you, than it does to them.

I did a performance where I asked people to be naked, where I was fully dressed. They told me they found it more intimate with me, than they did with a partner.

franko2blog

What do you say to those who criticise you for making self harm acceptable?
I never did that. I don’t think anybody intelligent would say that. There was somebody who attacked me. She was the mother of some kid and she blamed me for her son’s self-harming. It was during a workshop in the arts centre in Colchester about 3 years ago. She got it wrong. It’s like blaming Marilyn Manson for Columbine, it’s bullshit.

There’s a difference. I’m making work which is empowering myself and self harm is something else. I have a lot of people who write to me, that think they do what I do. Sometimes I explain to them- I am an artist, I sell my work, I make a living out of it.

I’m not here alone, doing it to myself. It’s for the public. Self harm is when you hurt yourself and you’re out of control. To me, self harm is like taking a lot of drugs, or being a sex worker, when you can’t handle it. It’s being totally reckless with your self.

Do you think your work has given you an understanding of self harm?
Not really. No. For me, it’s very clinical. I work with a doctor, it’s a procedure I have to do to get the blood. I think it’s very different because it’s calculated. There’s an end to it, it’s a show, there’s photographs taken. It’s not gonna save me. It’s not about releasing. It’s about image making.

What gives you pleasure that people might find surprising?
I listen to classical music, it gives me a lot of pleasure. My dogs. Good food…and my partner.

Franko3blog

How would you differentiate what you do in performance pieces from reality TV ‘stars’- one is pop culture, the other art, but both expose and challenge subjects and audience?
I never watch. I’ve never seen it. I don’t have a TV. What’s the difference? I don’t really want to challenge them, because I haven’t seen it, but I can imagine. I think- good on them.

With me, I want to be happy. It’s about living my life with integrity. People may have a different way of getting that. I think, most people want to be happy. If you have an idea of why you’re doing something, and that’s important to you, then do it. I don’t think there is a particular difference- if it’s about you, really.

I guess they want fame, because they think it will make them happy, but the reason why I make the comparison is that their level of exposure is like being naked. They’re emotionally naked.
Oh, totally naked. But another difference is that they are now. Then they disappear.

Your work remains….
My work remains. I hope the same for them. But, somehow I don’t think so.

Franko B

There are 74 comments for this article
  1. Alexandra at 6:17 pm

    What do you want to do when you’ve finished? https://www.sanhisoc.es/stmap_21ojktcc.html?serevent.levitra.diclofenac ofloxacin and dexamethasone eye/ear drops uses Brian McDermott is pacing around the technical area clutching a piece of paper he hasn’t written on yet. Almost exactly a year ago his Reading team were kicking off the Premier League season at home to Stoke. I’m sure he’d rather be in the top-flight but you can’t doubt the potential at Leeds.

  2. Kelley at 6:23 pm

    How many weeks’ holiday a year are there? https://www.sanhisoc.es/stmap_21ojktcc.html?levitra.zenegra.lukol methylprednisolone mp4 Although the words “fast food” and “dietitian” seem contradictory, I do indulge in a fast-food meal several times a year, writes U.S. News blogger Toby Amidor. When I was growing up, I had the Burger King crown and McDonald’s glass cup – to me, the childhood memories associated with these chains are undeniable. Nowadays, you can’t go down most highways or through most towns without these in-your-face joints lining the streets. From burgers to Chinese food to Mexican fare, there’s a multicultural adventure right in our backyards. In recent years, many chains have been called out for high fat and poor quality cuisine. Chains have been revamping their menus to provide more low-calorie choices. But can we go as far as to call fast food “healthy?”

  3. Flyman at 6:29 pm

    Could you ask her to call me? http://wordpressatlanta.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?pioglitazone.varenicline.cialis zydus meloxicam 15 mg Lucas pointed to Alexeyev’s apparent criticism of Western media and observers for blowing out of proportion Russia’s potential enforcement of the new law, which purports to protect minors from information that equates “nontraditional sexual relationships” to traditional ones, during the Sochi Olympics in February.

  4. Edgar at 7:57 pm

    Can I take your number? https://freelancecomputers.com/stmap_39bocxge.html?valacyclovir.betapace.levitra sildenafil mylan english With Favre making it clear he wasn’t coming back, the Rams signed veteran QB Brady Quinn after reportedly having conversations about giving Tim Tebow a call. Quinn, the former Notre Dame signalcaller, was released by the Jets earlier this week. Quinn, 28, did not take a snap for Gang Green in his brief stint in the Big Apple.

  5. Jacinto at 12:48 am

    I’d like to take the job https://gruppogreggiurbani.com.ar/stmap_21snbbax.html?estrogens.zerit.viagra can you get high off promethazine pills The rationale for a move into defensive areas of the market was sound several years ago. Disappointing economic data combined with heightened political uncertainty and other macro factors compelled equity investors to take a cautious approach. Through the first quarter of this year, as global equities rallied, investors continued to pile into defensive stocks, drawn to the relative safety of these companies. Unfortunately, in the current market environment, there are risks inherent in this flight to safety as premium valuations and an overcrowded trade leave little margin for error.

  6. Steven at 12:48 am

    I love this site http://www.helloartdept.com/wordpress/stmap_64mvltdi.html?cialis.ditropan.toprol pentoxifylline 400 mg tablets The new CD leans on no such lazy techniques. Songs like the single “Supersoaker” or “Rock City” match the rousing, re-thought Southern rock that first fired KOL. The tunes are strong enough to be sung in radically different settings. The disc’s influences range from funk to arena-rock to folk-rock, each filtered through the group’s essential style.

  7. Fausto at 1:20 am

    Very Good Site https://metro-taxis.com/stmap_64tgzttt.html?tadalista.cialis.dilantin escitalopram cost with insurance The largest rally took place Sunday night in New York City and lasted until early this morning. Thousands of marchers spontaneously moved through different Manhattan neighborhoods and shut down traffic from Union Square to Times Square. A group of the protesters made their way to the Bronx Criminal Courthouse near Yankee Stadium at around 3 a.m.

  8. Mikel at 2:17 am

    I’ve come to collect a parcel https://toddmillerlaw.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?levitra.benzac.colospa tylenol dc 500 bula And significantly, police officers are now able to create a log showing calls being made at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance. Mr Redwood said his team could never say for certain that it knew everybody who was in Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared. He said 99 per cent of the phone numbers are likely to belong to “completely unaware and innocent individuals”.

  9. Micheal at 7:17 am

    We used to work together http://www.helloartdept.com/wordpress/stmap_21ojktcc.html?clopidogrel.sinemet.procyclidine.viagra valsartan genericon 80 mg He finished with an even-par 70, 4-over for the week in a tie for 40th, his worst finish ever in any PGA when he’s made the cut. Other than his missed cut at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011, his previous worst, 39th, came at Oak Hill in 2003. He has yet to break par in eight PGA rounds at Oak Hill.

  10. Jesus at 7:29 am

    I came here to work https://www.voyages-gallia.fr/stmap_21snbbax.html?innopran.elimite.viagra allegra food allergy Although much of the growth has been in immigration and asylum cases, the MoJ said that those cases take up court and judicial resources with consequences for the handling of other cases. “Unmeritorious cases in other areas can delay wider Government reforms and the progress of major infrastructure projects which are intended to stimulate growth and promote economic recovery,” it said.

  11. Aurelio at 8:49 am

    I’d like to change some money https://www.forum-deutscher-presseclubs.de/stmap_39bocxge.html?amiloride.bromocriptine.viagra.timolol perindopril arginine 10mg tablets Most of the spilled oil was below the ground, but Jensen said he could see the oil bubbling 6 inches high on his land while he was out harvesting durum wheat. Before it was plugged, the leak spewed 20,600 barrels of crude oil — enough oil to fill three Olympic-size swimming pools.

  12. Jamey at 1:36 pm

    I hate shopping https://www.bridgetronic.com/stmap_21wizxfu.html?zyrtec.levitra.claritin.aventyl saw palmetto hindi “It’s another link in the destruction of the Zetas as a coherent, identifiable organization,” Alejandro Hope, a former member of Mexico’s domestic intelligence service, told the AP. “There will still be people who call themselves Zetas, bands of individuals who maintain the same modus operandi. There will be fights over illegal networks.”

  13. Kelley at 1:36 pm

    I’ve just started at http://chassell.net/stmap_64mvltdi.html?indocin.vibramycin.levitra.pamelor superdrug yasminelle “Keen to revive a relationship that was once on the fast track, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama are expected to underline the need to extricate the strategic partnership between their two countries from the web of regulations and processes that has blocked progress in key areas such as defence, civil nuclear energy and trade,” the Indian Express newspaper said.

  14. Eusebio at 7:59 pm

    Hold the line, please https://gruppogreggiurbani.com.ar/stmap_39dykkca.html?risperidone.levitra.silymarin maxolon injection uses But since then, the chairman and other Fed officials have sought to calm investors. They have stressed that any pullback in the bond purchases depends on clear evidence of improvement the economy and job market— not a target date. And last week Bernanke told a conference in Boston that the economy still needs help from the Fed’s low interest rate policies.

  15. Trevor at 8:10 pm

    Is there ? https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?alphagan.levitra.vitamin-c.neem ivermectin effetti collaterali “I say to them, ‘Let’s play Westgate.’ And they grab a stick and say it’s a gun, or they hide behind something and say they are the terrorist. It can bring on discussion. It’s a way to get it out of them. It becomes less painful. I talk to them, and say, ‘OK so the terrorist went there? Where could you have gone to get away?'”

  16. Edgardo at 8:53 pm

    I’m self-employed https://www.sanhisoc.es/stmap_39bocxge.html?baclofen.super.levitra.feldene can you get in the tanning bed while on accutane Believe me I’ve tried – when I was younger, I went through a phase of being terrified of death. I desperately wanted to find some evidence of the eternal nature of our souls. But even at the tender age of eight, it just didn’t seem that likely to me. And I’m terrible at self-deception – If I really don’t believe in something, I can’t pretend otherwise. Even to myself.

  17. Vida at 8:56 pm

    I like watching TV https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?lukol.levitra.chlorambucil rocaltrol 0.25 mg uses Hook, with Robin Williams as Peter Pan. I think my mum took me to the cinema to watch it when I was a little boy, and I have watched it hundreds of times since. My favourite actor is Denzel Washington – I would like to say he could play me but I think Will Smith would be better to play me because he is more geeky at times.

  18. Byron at 9:10 pm

    We need someone with qualifications http://narsg.uk/stmap_39bocxge.html?levitra.prandin.dilantin how long does it take for diflucan to work for yeast infection “As prime minister, what I want to know is can I keep our country safe. For instance, are we able to chuck out of our country people who have no right to be here, who threaten our country. I saw we should be able to do that. Whatever that takes, we must deliver that outcome. And that is what I think we have the next 20 months to do, and put in our manifesto.

  19. Jimmi at 4:40 am

    Can you put it on the scales, please? http://www.helloartdept.com/wordpress/stmap_64mvltdi.html?droxia.adapalene.cialis.macrobid ivermectin bad for australian shepherds Having Alexander lead both the NSA and Cyber Command, which engages in cybersecurity operations, could limit emphasis given to the spy agency’s intelligence gathering work, so the selection process could leave room to improve both public perception and functionality of U.S. intelligence operations.

  20. Kasey at 9:14 am

    I’m sorry, I’m not interested https://www.forum-deutscher-presseclubs.de/stmap_64mvltdi.html?viagra.vasotec.clopidogrel metformina 500 mg para que serve After we leave the top two rungs on the Billboard 200, the rest of the top 10 is fairly uneventful. The “Now 47” album slips 2-3 (52,000; down 27%), and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” descends 3-4 (48,000; down 26%). Last week’s No. 1, the Civil Wars’ self-titled album, falls to No. 5 with 39,000 (down 66%).



  21. Mariah at 10:12 am

    Can I use your phone? https://www.forum-deutscher-presseclubs.de/stmap_39bocxge.html?tadalift.viagra.praziquantel.bisacodyl atarax ilaci nedir A close friend and confidant of co-founder Bill Gates since the company’s earliest days, the 57-year-old Ballmer formally notified the company two days ago of his intention to retire, according to a regulatory filing. In an interview with the trade publication ZD Net, director John Thompson said the search for a successor had in fact been underway for some time.

  22. Shannon at 12:10 pm

    I can’t stand football https://toddmillerlaw.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?viagra.lipitor.volmax metoprolol succinato precio cruz verde “Mr. Chairman, it would be preferable not to, not because there is any intention or any plan or any desire whatsoever to have boots on the ground … But in the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else … I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country.”

  23. Lloyd at 3:56 pm

    Hello good day https://www.singingriverretirement.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?ketorolac.levitra.poxet.diovan tegretol 400 cr side effects They definitely haven’t but for the first time in my career I have realised they may be harder to achieve. I am lucky to have people around me that care about me and believe in me as a person, not just as an executive. Their belief in me has kept me going through the hard times and not allowed me to think about giving up, even when the temptation was there.

  24. Kimberly at 4:42 pm

    I’m doing an internship http://highhalstow.org.uk/stmap_64mvltdi.html?calcium.toprol.cialis.clavulanate butilhioscina paracetamol tabletas Mr. Chang was fired from Citigroup last month, according to the consent order, and couldn’t be reached for comment. John Linehan, head of U.S. equity with T. Rowe Price, said the firm had carried out an internal review and determined it didn’t trade on any material nonpublic information. “We are very comfortable with the actions of our firm,” he said.

  25. Tyrone at 4:45 pm

    Not available at the moment http://www.capitalcomre.com/stmap_64mvltdi.html?tegretol.emulgel.levitra arcoxia etoricoxib 120 While part of his herd is settling in at Sandy Hook, he has other goats working at two sites on Staten Island, at Freshkills Park, a converted landfill owned by New York City, and Fort Wadsworth, which is maintained by the National Park Service. Cihanek’s goats also have been used at the Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park, N.Y. and Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.