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Franco Fasoli aka Jaz is recognized as one of the first major graffiti writers to begin painting in the streets of Buenos Aires in the mid 1990’s. His compositions are characterized by conflict and duality, references to popular culture and local traditions, with a particular emphasis on Latin American themes. We reached him for a chat about his latest mural on the streets of Montreal for the Mural Festival and his future projects.


Franco Fasoli aka Jaz is recognized as one of the first major graffiti writers to begin painting in the streets of Buenos Aires in the mid 1990’s. His compositions are characterized by conflict and duality, references to popular culture and local traditions, with a particular emphasis on Latin American themes. We reached him for a chat about his latest mural on the streets of Montreal for the Mural Festival and his future projects.

Hello Jaz, first of all, what are you working on those days?
These days I am working on a few projects, and festivals, and I’m focused on my work on paper, making collages, and preparing new works for a solo show in my home town (Buenos Aires) at the end of the year . 



You blew my mind with your most recent wall for the excellent Mural Festival in Montreal. Could you tell us something about it, I mean, how did you prepare for such a work?
The wall from Montreal is part of the new works I am doing based on small paper collages. I started last year experimenting with different materials in a residency in Miami in which the collages came up. I did 2 walls made with paper in a smaller scale in Dominican Republic and Mexico this last months, but for this big festival in Montreal, and also for my previous wall in Morocco, I chose regular paint, but based on the collages.



There’s no doubt about your signature, you achieved a great unique style and your murals are easily recognizable. But looking at your most recent walls I found a new line shape and primitive colours in a way. Do you find the same? Is it something are you developing in these days?

All those new works come from paper collages. The way you use colour on these paper collages changes a lot my way of creating the images. After I make the collages, specially the ones I made for art galleries, I chose which ones work best with the environment or the wall where I’m going to paint, and I reproduce them, using a very mechanic way of painting, totally different as I used to .



One day I read a sentence by B.Bertolucci: “I hate to always be myself. It would be great to be able to completely renew myself every year, every month, to make different films every year, every month, rich in various obsessions instead of repeating the same things, the same images .. “

How do you feel about your style? I mean have you ever tempted to do something completely different? Do you ever feel repetitive?
The idea of change is always in my mind, specially on the process of my work. I don’t like the idea of repeating myself in terms of ways to work, the concept some times is the same, but the way to create the images changes. The use of different materials, was a signature for me, maybe more than the symmetric images or the violence. 
I always try to work with different materials, but its something not easy to see. Specially now, I am thinking and working inside my studio, ideas totally different in terms of concepts. I like now the idea of the space between the artists and the final work, the stories behind, the nomadic experiences as part of a movement, the idea of a world community and I am preparing the show based on those ideas, using photographies, and collages of personal experiences during my travels and festivals.



I’m always curious about the technical issues during the painting process. I can only imagine what kind of monster a 50 meters wide mural could be. Would you give a brief walk through your workflow?

It’s a very difficult aspect, trying to figure it out how to work before you are in front of the space, and see how the logistics are going to be to make the mural. The weather, the surface of the wall, the reaction of the people, all those factors affect my work, and I am open to that. I like working in those places where there are issues difficult to control, I think is part of the spirit and concept of being a street artist, but right now, with the festivals and all the logistics covered, it makes our work lose the spontaneous aspect and everything becomes more controlled, and the fact of a contra cultural movement becomes a show where everything is controlled .

Duality is a dominant character in your production, what was your urgency to convey this message when you started? 
It started a couple years back , when the idea of confrontation or social gaps appeared in my work , symmetry is also an element that creates tension and confrontation in an image by itself, without the necessity to use explicit violence . 



Tigers, duels, and masks…What do you think have determined your obsessions?

Tigers come from my childhood, and also from pre hispanic Mexican rituals, so it represents part of my identity and my identity as a latin american. The duels are part of this research about confrontation that have been present in my continent, with strong roots in the past of those places occupied by colonialism, and cultural mixing is as a common link between our different cultures. The confrontations, the social gaps, the political issues…the masks and animals are metaphors about the human condition and also they give me the possibility to work with different aspects of interpretation considering such a sensitive canvas as the public space.



It seems you lose your early black lines drawn on your characters. Did you stop to delete something or did you find another way to express symmetry?

The black lines were part of this same struggle between two opposites, in this case I painted with watercolours as well and it was a juxtaposition of two different and oposite ways of painting, giving an extra layer of meaning in the idea of duality .



Let’s go back to the origin of your artworks, how hard was to establish yourself on the scene and what do you think were the most important steps on the run?

It was a long learning process. I started a long time ago painting graffiti, but also studying in the art academy and many clinics with contemporary artists, so my growing up was a mixed between street art and institutions that also created a personal struggle on my first steps. Passing from graffiti to muralism and getting the idea of how this new world moves.
One big step was when I traveled for the very first time to Europe and got in touch with a new wave of public art, it was around 2003 /2004. Barcelona at that time was a kind of the mecca for new street art, and after that trip I went back home full of new ways of thinking and working on the public space.
Another big step was when I was invited for first time to an international festival. It was the Living walls in Atlanta, and I met many of the artists I used to follow and learn from them, as Escif, sam 3, Conor Harrington, Blu or Roa, those artists also marked my future paths .



Over the past decade the murals have multiplied ceaselessly, what do you like most and what you don’t of the current street art scene?

I like the fact of making huge walls and being able to travel around the world. But I don’t like at all the super flat superficial meaning of the street art scene now, in which its only about fast exposure, lots of likes, hype and not about the intelectual process of work in the public space, and deep and conscious works. I am not against the festivals and the exposure, but I am against the trivialisation and entertaining aspect of the street art now. I think that we, the artists, and also the media, galleries and people around the movement need to think more, make deep critics and dialogs between us to make a stronger movement, if not its going to banish as a Boy bands movement. 

What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?

Next is Sea Walls in Cozumel Mexico, City Leaks in Cologne Germany, projects in Brazil , and I finish the year with my show in my home town. 

Christie Bailey

About Christie Bailey

She is the co-owner of Hypocrite Design and a contributor for Dumbwall and Street Art News. In recent years she interviewed more than 50 World renowned Street Artists, and wrote hundreds of art reviews focusing on painting and street art. She is currently employed in the Fashion Industry and lives in Milan, Italy.