self taught, maverick, real-time painter
I am excited whenever I paint because I am not strangling the life out of my art; I am allowing it to pass through me and live a life of its own.
Zac Franzoni, the natural artist
I never trained to be an artist. I did not go to art school and I did not train under a master. I keep painting and it begins to take shape. I stop when it tells me, “you are done.” The things that come through are not always under the artist’s control.
When someone buys my artwork, I want them to enjoy it and take care of it – like they’ve adopted my baby.
At what age did you know you want to be an artist?
From elementary school, I’ve been drawing. When I was in high school, there was an artist living next to my uncle’s house. He was a surrealist painter and he had his entire basement covered in all kinds of paintings. I thought it was the coolest thing I had seen and I too wanted to be cool like that!
How come you never went to art school?
I went to junior college and got an art grant for 2 years. By that time, I knew I liked abstract painting and I had my own style. So, I wanted to keep the purity of what I could do rather than do what other people say I should do.
Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?
I always like Jackson Pollock for his colors and people have told me that I remind them of Pollock. I also like Salvador Dali – he was a freaking weirdo! But if I have to pick a favorite, it’ll be Pollock.
Among the classical ones, Michelangelo is always an inspiration for his compulsion and drive. Even at the age of 80, he said that he was still experimenting and learning.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I’ll say it’s very colorful and abstract landscape, even though it’s really not landscape in any representational sense … but it has a landscape quality to it.
When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?
When I was in Junior College, my art instructor liked a piece I had done in class. She bought it and gave me $250 bucks. That was pretty awesome. I still distinctly remember that piece.
What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?
I paint fairly consistently, but sometimes I work in spurts for hours and late into the night. At anytime I have anywhere from 5 to 20 pieces I am working on. I also do a lot of series as people like to buy a series as a collection.
I am generally working on all of them at the same time. I’ll frequently go from one to another and back if I think a color or a stroke I am using in one would be a nice fit in another.
How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?
It usually starts with a style or a pallette. I’ll start with a basic experiment and then evolve it.
What do I mean by style? For example, not all my art is with brushes. There is a drip style I have been perfecting for some time. So, I’ll imagine a style and a palette and then go with it.
I think what’s going on in my life at the moment does have an impact on my work – but not in the way you’d think. Sometimes, I use painting as a release, so the relationship is very direct; but sometimes, I use it as an escape, so the impact is more complicated. Some of my pieces that people see as happy were painted when I was pretty down.
If I didn’t paint, I’ll probably be a crazy person, maybe even in jail.
Do you know any collectors of your artwork? What do you think they see in your work?
I know of several collectors. In fact, one of my best collectors is a dancer at Joffrey Ballet in Chicago – apparently he sees my paintings as joyous dance of colors.
I also know of some collectors who like to buy my series of paintings.
I’ve noticed that no two people see my art the same way and that’s perfectly fine by me.
Tell us a bit about your personal life ...
I recently found the person I want to be with for the rest of my life. No, she is not an artist, but a very creative person. She is actually a clinical psychologist (laughs)! She’ll tell me this one is awesome or that one needs more work.
How that impacts my work? I think that my art these days seem to reflect what I really want to do because I am happy and content.
A few pieces from Zac Franzoni’s gallery
Pearls Before Swine
This painting is inspired by my wonderful fiancee, the neon bright colors are indicative of her beautiful, soul-changing presence in my life.
This one was simply a lot of fun to do, it’s a playful dance.
Why they love Zac’s paintings …
Mr & Mrs Thomas Wyse, Chicago
“Having purchased five of Zac’s stunning images and being given two as gifts, myself and several loved ones now enjoy the beauty of this man’s growing capacity as a unique and provocatively moving abstract artist.”
“My fiancé and I fell in love with Zac’s art the second we saw it; his paintings are so full of life and color, we knew we would love having them in our home. He came to see the space, measured the walls, listened to our ideas, hand delivered the pieces, and now we have two beautiful paintings we get to look at every day.”
More about Zac Franzoni
Zac Franzoni Featured Artist Profile – TheSixThirty.com
Triblocal – Northriverside Mall Theatre Exhibit
Shows & Exhibitions
Part of Permanent Collection in the Hilton Oaks Hotel, Downtown Chicago – added December 2016
Featured Artist – Green Exchange Chicago – August 2016 – Present
Featured Artist at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel Chicago Art Hall – April 2016-December 2016
Salvage One, Featured Artist for Casearstone’s An Evening of Color – June 2015
Paula’s Interiors, Showroom Exhibition – March – May 2015
Awake Cafe – March – April 2015
Loews Hotel Miami – “The Picture of Health” – Permanent Collection
Conrad Hotel – Downtown Chicago, January 2015
SubTerra Gallery – December 2014
Mako James Resident Showcase – Catalyst on Desplaines – December 2014
The Joffrey Ballet – EMBARC Fundraiser – November 2014
Mako James Resident Showcase at 73 E. Lake – November 2014
Two North Riverside Plaza Pop-Up Gallery Exhibit – September 2014
Emergence – Mako James Launch Exhibition – Chicago Art Department – July 2014
Next Door Cafe – Solo Exhibit – April – June 2014
The Professional Building – The Elgin Art Showcase – Art on the Eight – May 2014
Orland Park Public Library – Solo Exhibit – February 2014
Blue Star Bistro & Wine Bar – Solo Exhibit – December 2013 – February 2014
River East Arts Center – Artworks ADL group show – October 2013
Filter – July 2013 – December 2013
Brain Art Center – January 2013
Brickton Art Center – The Abstract Show – June 2012
Fortunate Discoveries Art and Design Gallery – April – May 2012
North Riverside Mall Theatre – August 2011
Robert Jeffery Salon – August 2011 – November 2011
Flat Iron Arts Building – April 2011
Framing Mode Gallery – November – December 2010
American Artists Gallery – November – December 2010
Morning Glory Gallery – October 2010
Fulton Market Guerilla Truck Show – June 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011
Minx Parlor – February – May 2009
Abe Frohmans Cafe – June 2008
Dulcenea Gallery – May – July 2007
Zac Franzoni Upcoming Solo Show at the “I Paint My Mind” Gallery – 2545 W. Diversey Pkwy, Chicago.
Renaissance BlackStone Hotel, Chicago
Now through the end of the year, displaying 12 pieces in the Art Hall of the beautiful Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago. Opening reception in May – more details to come soon.