We are excited to be hosting photographer Juan Franco for December's Capitol Hill Art Walk at Standard Goods this Thursday December 8th in an exhibit titled "7 Seconds." We had the pleasure to talk with him and get perspective into his life and creative process as an artist in the interview below.
Tell us a little bit about your background... What made you interested in art? Who were your early influencers?
My parents told me this story of an obsession with a planner they used for appointments. Every page had a country's flag alongside the name of the country. They said at one point, I could name all the countries by simply looking at the flag. In hindsight, I found this to be my introduction to visual culture and art. This relationship between image and language, I believe, is what made me interested in art.
Overall, I think my family had a great impact on my artistic inclinations: my grandfather worked as a city planner drawing straight lines without a straight edge, my grandmother crafted garments on a foot powered sewing machine, and my mother created decorative railings and fences in her blacksmithing practice.
Your photography is very thought provoking. Overall what would you say is the main message you would like people to take away?
Photography behaves like science. It experiments, observes, and creates. Photographs are the result of this process. Narratives hold truth through distance, and through intersections. Viewers should bring forth their narrative. They collide at this intersection of a photograph looking back at the viewer.
Can you tell me a little about your recent solo exhibition, 'A Need of Space'?
This last February, I exhibited A Need of Space at The Factory on Capitol Hill. In the exhibition, I revisited an iconic image of the Pieta; a mother holding their child. My mother's dream of a space of her own demolished by the end of a relationship. I was trying to understand how her narrative informed my own. My voice became hers and vice versa. Photo-collages of my own romantic demolitions, digital compositions of architectural plans, and a document of carrying burdens collectively emphasized space as a complex human need.
Where do you separate fiction from reality in your work?
Considering I was born in Colombia, a birthplace of magical realism, I don't think I can separate the two.
How do your projects change from conception to completion?
The completion of artistic production is the public reception. The conception of my projects exists in theoretical spaces of theory and personal narratives. I tend to stay in my mind for a long time before creative execution occurs. I think change is inevitable from one space to another; from the mind, to the execution, to the social. At every translation, something has to give in so that it can play is this new realm. With photography, I am looking for the body to be performing in a way that seems familiar to me, but without reason. When I a body does something that seems familiar, that is the moment I seek to capture.
What elements of your childhood come through in your process?
In reference to the story of the flags in the planner, I think my childhood comes through when I give language to my work. When I title my work, it often is playful, crude, and unstructured. I find that when I play with words, I am reminded of learning to speak a language, to work with or against these structures to give meaning to perhaps unexplainable ideas.
What's your favorite thing about being an artist in Seattle?
I feel this city has huge potential in its ability to support art and performance. This is certainly a challenge, but for that reason, it is my favorite thing about the city.
Who/What is your biggest inspiration currently?
Currently, my biggest inspiration is research. I am reading a comprehensive history of Colombia, watching Narcos, and working to understand contemporary politics both in Colombia and in the United States.
What are you most excited about sharing with our guests during "7 Seconds" coming up Thursday, December 8th at Standard Goods?