KEZIA DAVIES TALKS TO ART AWARDS FINALIST THION
Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice
My name is Franco La Russa (aka Thion) and I am an Italian artist and curator living in London. Initially inspired by Keith Haring and the American Pop artists with whom I shared the same interest in popular culture, mass media as well as graffiti-related sign and symbols, my work has evolved into a style that I feel is purely my own.
I have now taken on a new digital medium and I am currently creating work that employs an iPad as a powerful tool that brings new possibilities to an established language and practice. My drawings are spontaneous, improvised, free; my art wants to communicate quickly and easily, not unlike advertising. Any image, old or new, that resonates with me and my imagination may form the starting point from which I develop a new work. Whether I choose to draw in the traditional way directly on canvas or paper, whether I make drawings on an iPad or whether I make animation videos tracing the progress of compositions from start to finish, my practice is a continuous integrated feedback loop, that remains open to the unexpected.
What made you decide to apply for this year’s Winter Pride Art Awards?
I have entered the Winter Pride Awards last year and it was a great experience and exhibition. A chance to meet like minded artists and their work. This year was even more special because we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Act.
Why do you think it’s important that art is used to open up the discussion around LGBT+ issues and how do you think your practice interacts with these issues?
Art is a wonderful tool to open up all sort of discussions, political, social and religious so why not use Art to talk about issues not discussed enough like gender, sexuality, race, equality. I have always kept an outlook into LGBTQI+ issues throughout my career while developing my unique graphic style. My work is all about expressing human feelings, promoting equality and freedom with just few lines.
Can you tell us a little about the piece you’re exhibiting in reference to this year’s theme of ‘Beyond the Binaries’?
The piece I am exhibiting is part of a new body of work that explores intimacy and the point at which two entities are brought together as one form. These clean, minimal artworks evoke a subtle sensual eroticism that, I feel, is playful and strongly suggestive.