Features
An interview with Francesca Bonci – Visual Artist & Video Maker

By Jordan Mooney.

The music video is a high art, in many ways. We’ve often doled out our praise to the interesting approaches a band can take to get them done independently, cheaply, and quickly. There’s no hiding the fact that music is an expensive business, especially without a label throwing wads of cash your way, but a good video on Youtube is an essential bit of promotion. What’s one to do?

We’ve found an Italian artist who may well have the answer…

Francesca Bonci has already got a vast – and rather impressive – portfolio of beautiful, dreamlike visuals. Using a variety of footage, colours, silhouettes and cutouts, her music videos are built around giving every track a very unique, psychedelic identity, while maintaining a very unified style that becomes instantly recognisable.

While it may not be a portfolio of big-budget, effect laden, story driven masterpieces, Francesca’s work proves hypnotic. There’s a very palpable tone to each piece that feels liberated – It doesn’t feel like it’s got a budget, it doesn’t even feel as if a person has poured hours into them. It feels organic; a natural accompaniment that doesn’t require creation. In many ways, Francesca is more of a translator for music – a digital transistor, taking in every note and displaying it in shapes and colours.

Needless to say, this means sinister music can form a sinister visual. As liberated as it all is, there’s a certain tone of fear, an engrained paranoia that hits us every time – expect the unexpected. Expect a certain smell, a certain flavour – the darker the music, and the more visually bizarre it becomes.

Every beat, every tone, every atmosphere – Francesca can capture it. Needless to say, we simply had to have a chat…



Cat on the Wall: Hi there Francesca, welcome to Cat on the Wall! How are you today?
Francesca: Fine thanks! It’s sunny, and it’s a beautiful day!

 

COTW: Tell us about yourself! How did you first start working in film, animation and visual arts?
Francesca:  Some years ago, after graduation from an Academy of Fine Arts, I began to publish my videos on various social media and video websites; places like Youtube and Vimeo.
This helped my work reach more people. At first, I just did free videos for friends, or underground bands I found online. For me, it was a way to help them get some extra visibility, and, at the same time, my video would get some too! Musicians from different parts of the world started contacting me, to commission videos for their music – and more I did, and the more of my work that went online, more bands contacted me! I’ve worked almost exclusively with foreign bands and very few Italian.

 


Some of Francesca’s yellow portraits – Bowie, Mark Lanegan, Prince, and Lorenzo Soldano.

David Bowie, Francesca Bonci Mark Lanegan, by Francesca Bonci Prince, by Francesca Bonci Lorenzo Saldano, Francesca Bonci


 

COTW: How do you approach working on a new video? Is it a case of the artist telling you what they’d like, or you conjuring up your own imagery to match the music?
Francesca:
When an artist contacts me, I have to approach it calmly. There has to be a certain synergy, an elective affinity between us, between my art and their music, where I’m free to express myself – Naturally, not without sharing ideas and thoughts with the group. Generally, other artists understand my approach and my way of working. It’s usually done carte blanche, because bands tend to contact me to say they enjoy my work as an artist and not just because they need a video!

They can give me a direction, their own ideas, but, generally, they don’t interfere with the artistic part and like to see my own interpretations. Typically, I’ll work more than once with a musician if it goes well. I let myself get carried away by the song, trying to understand the mood and the tone and then assembling these feelings into colours and rhythm, so it matches with the music. I try to transform sound into visual, trying to convey what I think it looks like.

 

COTW: What sort of music do you most enjoy working with?
Francesca: I have no preference on music genre…maybe  because for me genres are useless conventions! ☺

 

COTW: Do you have a favourite among your portfolio?
Francesca: I love the video I put together for Arkansas by the German band Buzz Rodeo. It’s one of the latest ones I’ve put together. The video was a collaboration with a very talented Polish artist, Karolina Stanieczek, who granted me the use of some of her traditional collages and cut outs – I worked with them as if they were characters.

 



 

COTW: The majority of the work we’ve seen from you is music videos and visuals – what else have you worked on?
Francesca:
In the past I’ve produced some opening credits for underground documentaries – I’ve always loved opening credits, maybe a bit too much! I’ve also done artwork for albums, illustrations, t-shirts…

In May 2017, I’m taking part in a festival where I’ll display some visuals for a couple of bands, and I’ll be hosting a mini workshop with my art. It’s really exciting!

 

COTW: Are there any artists, filmmakers or musicians you’re inspired by in particular?
Francesca:
I’ve never been inspired by any artists in particular, because I have a very personal and instinctive approach, but, naturally, my artwork probably looks like something that already exists. I have always been interested in cinema, video art, music… and, consequently, video clips, illustrations and visual communication in general. I think that’s something that’s well imprinted in my style and my taste.

Specifically, I’m strongly influenced by Cyberpunk, by Orwell, the Video art of the Fluxus movement, by Kronenbourg and the Bit Generation, typographic design by David Carson… not to mention digital glitches and industrial atmospheres. Amongst other things!

 



COTW: How can musicians contact you for videos, and where should we go to see more?
Francesca:
 Through my Facebook page, which I update very regularly. Alternatively, shoot me an email! My work can be found on Vimeo, and Youtube, too. I don’t have an active website yet, but I’m working on it!

Thank you very much to Francesca for taking the time to talk to us. We heartily recommend you check out the rest of her work – click the links below; you never know what you might discover!

FACEBOOK   –   VIMEO   –   YOUTUBE

About the author

Compulsive hat wearer, eccentric, fan of all things audio-visual, part time Goth, historian, and railway enthusiast, Jordan is the closest you can get to everybody's weird uncle. Except he's less than 60 years old.

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