Q&A with Francis Bitonti:
How do you describe yourself as an artist and the kind of work you do?
I am a designer; I run my own design studio in New York. I work across a variety scales and disciplines. I am a minimalist fascinated with complexity. I think of what I do as language, I create language. I hope I am creating the formal language of my generation. I am interested in everything pop, present and now, not the future. People think my work is about the some distant future but I’m trying to figure out who we are right now. It is not possible to be interested in anything but the immediate. Nothing tells more about who we are than who we think we will be. If you ask me what we do at the studio? I would say we create culture.
What other creative things are you doing outside of your work?
All my energy goes into the studio I see everything in my life as one. I don’t like to make separations everything gets the same level of care and intensity, my life is one project.
How did you get to where you are today in your career?
I got my undergraduate degree in fine art then went to graduate school for Architecture. After school I bounced around and did a wide range of things from engineering to furniture design. Finally I found a home at Vito Acconci’s Studio. It’s an amazing interdisciplinary environment. I stayed for three years. It was where I got my real education. Working with him was a very important period in my life. Besides the intellectual growth, I learned to let go of labels, titles and standards. It has made all the difference. If you want to create something new you need to be free of all that stuff.
How did you figure out what you wanted to do? Anything thing or anyone in particular that influenced your life, therefore gave you direction?
I still don’t know what I want to do, I hope to keep evolving and growing. I had a teacher ask me what I would do if I wasn’t going to be an architect. I gave him a list of things. He said “See there is more to you than architecture; no two people are the same, follow your deepest desires you will create something that is your own and you will never have any competitors” That become an aha moment years later when I finally figured out what he was trying to tell me.
What are you currently working on?
3D printed clothing.
Describe your style. Is your personal style different from your professional style?
I wear mostly black. I dress the same in both personal and professional settings like I said I don’t like to make separations. It seems insincere.
Please describe how your creative brain works.
I tend to be very methodical. I set my mind on what I want then figure out how to get there, I like to create trajectories.
What do you love about the work you do?
I like that it is always changing. I never do the same thing two days in a row.
Anything unexpected about the work you do?
Everything has been unexpected. I don’t think I could have predicted anything I have done.
Any advice for someone interested in following your chosen path or learning to do what you do?
Don’t look at other people’s lives for direction. Their path is something that worked for that person in that particular time and place. You can’t repeat it, focus on you.