Looking at Francesco Tani’s works is like entering in a whole new world. A world without boundaries, without human anatomy, where familiar and unfamiliar mingle; perhaps an insane world but not as insane as the one we are used to.
Tani’s passion for photography started in Turkey, where he first discovered he was interested in making art (even though he doesn’t define himself as an artist) and capturing the essence of people. People are at the center of his body of work, but they’re not his only source of inspiration. In fact, spiders, Cleopatra and killer whales are all elements that help him shape his ideas.
One the most interesting thing about Tani is that he’s able to mantain his style, his poetic vision in everything he does, whether it is fashion photography, pop-art, autoportraits, meme or a TikTok’s reel. By the way, I advise you to follow his social accounts, here’s the Instagram one: https://www.instagram.com/_thanyyyyyy/
Tani’s works are all about irony and just invite us to enjoy and have fun with them, without pretending many answers and, above all, without taking things too seriously.
Hi Francesco, thanks for accepting this interview. I would like to start by asking you what your first approach with photography and visual arts was and when did you realize you wanted to be an artist.
I started taking pictures when I lived in Turkey and worked as a handyman in a hotel. Unexpectedly the season that year went pretty bad, and I found myself with a lot of free time. As the sunny afternoons made everything more beautiful, I began to desire to make mine all those perfect scenes that passed before my eyes. I bought a camera and realized that, even more than landscapes or objects, I was interested in people. As for feeling like an artist, I don’t think that moment has arrived yet, but I’m flattered if others think so.
What are your major influences? Is there any artist that inspired your works?
My number one source of inspiration is spiders, the second is Cleopatra and the third is killer whales. It’s a strange pantheon of mine, I’m aware of that, but it also represents the last handful of memories I’ve been carrying around since I lost my memory. It happened while I was struggling with a spinning wheel, and I hit its wooden frame hard with my head. I couldn’t finish the dress I was sewing.
Let’s talk a bit about your style. You play a lot with human anatomy trying to create some sort of “posthuman” characters. When did you start having this type of fascination for the human body and when did you start developing this kind of approach to it?
Personally, I hate human anatomy, in my ideal world no human being would have a well-defined body: we would all be shapeless slimes, leaving silver trails like snails. I guess it depends on the fact that I have a perfect memory of when I was a little tadpole.
Your Instagram profile is full of auto portraits as they’re obviously an important part in your body of work. Do you find it easier to work on yourself compared to work with other subjects or do you do it because you want to discover something different about yourself and your body every time?
I’m going to tell you something now. When I was sixteen years old, I lived for some time in a splendid aristocratic house in the French countryside. I spent my days in the company of my lady-in-waiting and the hours were endless. One day, just for fun, we played hide and seek. But I locked myself in a room that I had never explored before: it was a hall of mirrors, infinite and majestic. My lady didn’t find me until two days later, and in that time I spent countless hours looking at myself from every point of view. From that moment on, I knew that I would never be able to do without me again.
I feel like surreal art and science-fiction movies play an important role in your artworks. Is that so? How’s your relationship with these two genres?
I don’t know. I’m glad you see this, but I’ve never been into the sci-fi genre. Instead, I’m obsessed with the lives of eighteenth-century libertines and hagiographies of saints. I’d say there’s obviously something very contemporary about these themes if they are transfigured in my work to the point of being recognized as close to a genre as contemporary as sci-fi.
There’s also something exquisitely pop in your images, as you use some of the most famous Italian brands to create some ironic pictures with them. Is it more an homage to these brands or a way to give them a new meaning by putting them in your world?
It’s true: I often make pop quotes to brands. I actually do it with the secret hope that, one day, their fame will become mine. In this sense, I would say that in my works I try to imprison other people’s success.
You’re also a fashion photographer. Was it difficult for you to impose your artistic style in the world of fashion?
Fortunately, the fashion world is my world. In fact, I was born into a family of professional tailors. They were humble people, but their work was of great value, so much so that prestigious fashion houses sought their favors. As a child, therefore, I learned to know the vices and virtues of an infinitely elegant world, very distant from that of pret-a-porter fashion, which in a certain sense vaccinated me against the risks of the environment. Compared to that sophisticated world, now vanished, the fashion world is nothing, but a circus of monkeys.
You have recently done different collaborations with some of the most popular musical artists of the moment in Italy (like Venerus, Highsnob and Hu), how was working with them? Do you plan to do other collaborations with musicians?
Collaborating with musicians is always wonderful. Also, once the set is over, we usually find ourselves in some authentic and exquisite osteria where we end up drunk and lost, telling each other our most intimate secrets. In cases like these, having a diner who knows how to cheer up the evening with the sound of his voice, or with the strumming of a guitar, is something very precious.
You’re very active on social networks such as Instagram, Tik Tok (I love your reels by the way) and Tumblr. Do you believe that a smart use of social medias can influence the career of an artist nowadays?
Unfortunately, I don’t think social can help an artist in any way. They are only useful tools if you want to pursue a career as a vegan chef. In that case, they are essential.
One last question. What are your plans for the future? Can you tell us something about your next projects?
In the future, I expect to act in a musical that I have been working on for five years now. It is the story of twin pharaohs who end up, by practicing black magic, projected into our present. Here they begin an operation of brutal repression of mankind and only a student named Asuka can stop them.
Thank you very much for your time, we’re very curious to see your next works.