Interviewed in April of 2014
Eye formation +EF+ (Frank Casazza)
Hometown: Tewksbury, MA
Current town: Lowell, MA
Website: Click Here
1.) Frank, Tell us a little about where you’re from or where you grew up… and does it influence the type of art you’ve found yourself making?
I grew up in Tewksbury/Lowell Mass. Just a regular kid always working on self-assigned art projects. I have had the full support of my family and they were buying me art supplies for as long as I can remember. I had a art table in my bedroom since I was about 10 years old. Like many, I found inspiration in the skateboarding and graffiti culture. Seeing the graphics on boards, stickers and T-shirts allowed me to see the ability to attach my art onto products.
2.) We admire the way you use a simple line technique to create a complex composition. Can you speak about the challenges you face when you “keep it simple."
I certainly do try to keep it simple. I strive for the most simplistic construction of lines and shapes to create my work. In a way, I try to use as little detail as possible to capture the emotion of a character. The challenge in working simple is that the work is easily replicated
3.) Over the years you've collaborated with a wide variety of artists... Such as: Kalis, Michael Crockett, Loch Ness, Guturo, Street Grapes, Vincent DiSanzo, Rick Stec, Momo Shou, etc. What makes a good collaboration? Differing styles, Similar styles, Mindset, Subject matter?
I love to see the names of these great artists that I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years! I guess in my mind a cohesive collaboration is one that’s well balanced, where each artist is able to do what it is that they do as an individual. Some collabs can be a bit of an effort, while others flow with ease. I usually know within the first few minutes of working with someone as to how compatible our process will be. It’s great when things just click and you can roll on. Another creative not listed above but with whom I have worked with more than any other artist is my wife, Ellen. Since 1989, we have collaborated on everything from clothing brands to hand made items. We have also spent many hours working on murals and countless other logistics.
4.) You have recently travelled to China for a whirlwind of work over there. Can you share some of your experiences in China? Did you travel there for a client? or did you have a “tour” planned in advance.
I was fortunate enough to travel to Hong Kong, Shanghai and a few cities between. I had created a line of plush toys, called Sleep Walkers with Remind Studios from Hong Kong. I painted a mural in their work space in Shenzen. Remind linked me up with a former pro skateboarder, now running a clothing distribution company called Nicotine Workshop. I did a few murals for shops they owned as well as a mural in their distribution office. I then travelled to Shanghai to work on a collaborative mural in the Neocha Edge Design Studio. It was a fun mural session done over the course of two nights with a couple of great Chinese artist, Momo and Waver. We worked in a cohesive manner with very little verbal interaction. During the day, I worked at the Pill-Art Shop painting a custom 4’tall Popig sculpture. It was great to be able to interact with tourists while painting outside. People expressed interest in a different manner than here in the States. Overall, it was an amazing eye opening trip.
5.) The computer is obviously a tool you are comfortable with. Is it an important element in your work or just a tool for you?
I’ve always looked at the computer as just another tool. All my schooling in illustration was completely traditional so, I never had any proper training. I basically learned what I needed to when confronted with a task. Vector based illustration has been my main focus with digital based work.
6.) Tell us what “Factory Free” means to you. We have seen that on a few of your products.
Basically it’s about keeping the production in-house. I wanted to be able to create a line of products with 100% America materials that were all made by hand. Often, these types of collectibles are associated with cross seas manufacturing. Factory free allows us to control the quantity and every aspect of the design process.
7.) You always have a new project in the works, how do you stay so motivated and driven? What’s the secret, huh?! Spill the beans pal. You are always way to positive and inspiring to be really real. (don’t you go changing)
I really believe in keeping the momentum going. Some projects are well thought out and planned in advance. Others just appear out of no where and it’s a total creative mind shift, such as our new knitting machine! I can have two, three, or even more projects going at the same time. Once in awhile, I’ll get in a groove and work on a project exclusively for a period of time. I have also been resurrecting past projects into new merch, sort of a retro eyeformation brand. My motivation is a by product of my support network. I owe a lot of what I have been able to accomplish to my wife and family. Not sure this dream would have ever been achievable without them.
8.) Workplace or studio; a disaster or super organized?
To be honest it’s a bit of each. I keep the shop/work space clean but my storage room is a bit rough.
9.) Dream client? Go..
I’d love to have my work connected to Nickelodeon. **