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Francesco Simeti interview

Francesco Simeti was born in Palermo in 1968 from an American mother. In NY he won a grant for large screen prints at the Lower East Side Printshop, now part of the civic collections of Milan. In 2000 he realizes his first installation using a wallpaper. 

In 2004 he experimented with the production of patterns to be printed by hand and by metre using the silkscreen process: a technique that became his permanent feature. The collaboration with Italy starts again in Milan where he realizes the big pattern that wraps the Porta Garibaldi station during the restoration. At the furniture fair in 2010 he participates in Doppiafirma and meets Fabscarte with whom he begins a long collaboration.  The love for this art form extends to fashion with patterns printed on Miroglio fabrics and presented in Beijing by Galleria Continua.

Simeti often works for public spaces: he realized projects for a school in Staten Island, for the Brooklyn subway, for the Bollate prison asylum.

In 2014 he created a work for the Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He then participated in the exhibition The King and I, created for Alcantara in the Appartamento del Principe at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Still in Italy, Aribnb and PS Milano involve him in the setting up of an apartment in the famous village of Civita di Bagnoregio, part of an Airbnb circuit dedicated to artists with the aim of bringing to Civita an increasingly aware tourism.

Francesco, your story shows your aptitude as a multifaceted artist open to collaborations. How did your idea to collaborate with Fabscarte come about?

Like almost all collaborations, this one develops as a result of a double artistic and personal feeling. I liked the unique know-how of the master craftsmen who make up Fabscarte, capable of formalizing in the technical gesture the synthesis of the knowledge of the great masters of Italian craftsmanship. A high technical ability that allowed me to formalize patterns and new creative ideas that were in line with my spirit of experimentation. Then I also appreciated the materiality of their products that allows the senses to be involved on multiple levels: touch and sight convey an emotion that becomes aesthetic. “Last but not least” I appreciated their human and humanist side: we both love art as a process of research of man to help him return to communion with nature and its beauty. 

What are the common points of your path and the affinities?  

There are many points in common with them: first of all we both love to embellish interior design through works on paper and to be able to do this with excellence, we both have done a long journey of training and research. This path gives us a technical and artistic ability that allows us to realize our creative project in an exact way. Then there is the love for the artistic game of experimentation. I was struck by their ability to deconstruct a formal image to create a new one that is initially broken down and reinvented. In our first work, we imagined a restless, unreal natural landscape that underscores the antagonism that has always characterized the relationship between man and nature, or we made it on paper. We used stucco paintings in relief, flowers and leaves, jute canvases with metallic colors highlight trunks, layers of tissue paper emphasize rocks and clouds, passing through several planes of the painting through cuts and incisions and creating an effect of pleasant aesthetic pleasure. In the second work, “Sometimes They Can Be Tropical,” found images and ancient scientific illustrations of botany combine to create an imaginary landscape in which a lush new nature seems to advance and prevail. It is possible to find solace in this unreal scenario where an unusual flora struggles to maintain its natural beauty and balance. I have always been very satisfied with our creations.

 The meeting of your world with Fabscarte, technically what has it brought back to your work?     

In my career I have been able to do so many collaborations with master craftsmen because I have realized if you can bring an open mind to work with the same harmony the technical enrichment you receive is unparalleled and this translates into a leap forward in your repertoire. In my experience with the masters of Fabscarte, I have treasured their unique techniques, but at the same time I have bequeathed to their workshop new stylistic figures that have been part of their production capacity ever since and have increased them. With Luigi, Emilio and the whole team we unhinged and reassembled images and sensations in an asymmetrical way and through the synergy that was created we both went beyond our individual experiences.

Is it possible to buy some of the works born from this collaboration?

The first work we designed together called Owl Head is kept in the archives of the Cologni Foundation and is not currently available for sale. The second work “Sometimes they can be tropical” in my opinion is a work on paper ideal for the walls of living rooms or bedrooms, because it adds charm and an evocative chromatic touch to the room. This paper can be purchased directly from and is available in the most important interior design sites.

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