Lighthearted yet incredibly considered, Francesco Vullo’s visual art playfully pokes fun at the paradoxes in modern society. In the young artist’s brazen work, colors are often vibrant: simple images are given a wonderfully peculiar twist, and the results are whimsically alluring. Offering a millennial POV, his digital compositions comment on the absurdities of our generation — from Tinder to selfies, Vullo spares none of his wit.
Born and raised in Sicily, the 22-year-old Milan-based artist recently graduated from the European Institute of Design in July 2016. Amassing over 76k followers on Instagram, Vullo’s cerebral aesthetic has also caught the attention of director Smitri Keshari, who commissioned Vullo to create artwork for her film The Bomb, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. Truly an eclectic visionary, I’m over the moon to be saying this — meet Francesco Vullo:
What drew you to digital art?
I’ve started creating my digital world during first year of uni, basically just for course works. Since the second year I’ve started to dedicate myself to my personal project, creating different kind of pieces that I shared online and I received a lot of positive feedbacks from the public and from a lot of art blogs too!
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Vivid, colorful, ironic and thought-provoking.
What do you wonder about? How do you explore these things in your art?
My primary goal is to communicate my vision of the world and current events through my imagery and make people think. Using socio-cultural reference points, spanning topics like gender, politics, sexuality and the dark side of social media, my work is a dissection of modern life, mixed with bright colors, pop culture and a good dose of humor.
I’ve noticed a theme in your work where you seem to poke fun at modernity and social media. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
In my works I like to talk about our reality and modern society. I express my opinions on different themes like politics, sexuality, consumerism, and the dark side of social media. I create thought-provoking and ironic images to stimulate a reflection in the audience. I think the humor is a good way to communicate messages of social critique and talk about themes that can be quite heavy.
How has living in Milan inspired or informed your work?
I was born in a small city in Sicily. After high school, I moved to Milan where I studied illustration and animation for 3 years. I love Italy — coming from Italy and growing up in a country with such a rich history and such a vast artistic heritage has surely played a fundamental role. I think that my taste for aesthetics and my artistic vision have definitely been influenced by this.
Can you tell me a bit about your piece “I Love You So” and the artwork you created for the film The Bomb, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year?
“I Love You So” tells the story of a needed love between a man and a weapon. A love worth thousands of lives. The artwork is a remake of the iconic picture (V-J Day in Times Square, by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1945) showing the other face of war: indifference. Taking a closer look at the depersonalization of the individuals in today’s society. The piece’s sense can be summarized by Dr. Strangelove’s claim: “How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.”
Who are some of your favorite Instagram accounts or visual magazines?
Growing up, who were some of your favorite artists? Have they inspired your work?
I have different creative influences from the past and from today’s art world: classics like Magritte, Picasso, Andy Warhol and other contemporary artists like Banksy, Ai weiwei, Maurizio Cattelan, Olimpia Zagnoli and more.
What helps you feel creative?
My work is strongly influenced by actuality and contemporary society. Music it’s always a good way to help me to get my brain moving and find new ideas. I really like all the kind of music but while I’m working I use to listen mainly rap/hip-hop music or electronic music.
Going forward, what are some of your goals as an artist in 2017?
I would love to make my first personal show during this 2017. This will be a great goal.
But meeting new amazing people, seeing new places, making new art and being happy every single day because of what I do is the main goal.