Born in 1991 as Franco Campanella, Lefty Out There is a prolific visual artist who was born and raised in Chicago and works between there and Los Angeles. Evolving from the burgeoning street art scene, Lefty is renowned for his iconic interlocking polymorph design that has covered walls, canvases, clothes and even skin. His interconnecting squiggles seemingly multiply, with his end goal being to ‘cover everything’.
On his recent trip to London, we sat down with Lefty Out There to discuss everything from his connection to the ocean to how he titles his canvases.
LEFTY OUT THERE IN HIS STUDIO
When people look at my work, I want them to bring their own interpretation. I don’t want them to be guided or prompted by the title so I use Latin as a way to hide the meaning. I’ll often name a work after a thought or a feeling I had when I was creating it. A lot of the time it has to do with colour. I then take that thought, feeling, emotion and translate it into Latin so if people really want to look into it, it can shed a little bit of light on the artwork but overall, the meaning remains hidden.
Although I do work in all colours, I absolutely love painting in black and white. I like a colour palette to be as contrasting as possible. It feels the most honest and pure. It accentuates and intensifies feeling. I think in that way, I am inspired by Op Art. I want my art to be a visceral experience. If staring at my artwork for too long makes you feel slightly queasy, I’m doing my job right.
I wouldn’t say nature, as much as the ocean in general. I’ve always been drawn to water and it’s power. Before I created the print, I went to Saint-Barthélemy Island and I was lucky enough to go snorkelling. Seeing all the wildlife, the turtles and the coral, I felt appreciative of the ocean and wanted to do something to protect it. Brain coral looks like my polymorph design and so what better way to honour the ocean than creating a print that emulates the sea. The way it shimmers, the ocean tones – I wanted to capture the essence of the ocean.
I have always made digital art as a personal project. I have been making animation since 2016. However, the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens has meant that I am able to develop concepts that I have never been able to before. For the first time, digital art has a proper audience.
I think that NFTs have really forced collectors to revalue digital art. It was previously a completely overlooked art form but now you can actually make money from it. There is a proper market for it and that is so exciting.
I have just started painting my tallest mural yet. It will take me 10 days to create my 70 x 100 ft black and white design for @properties, the top real estate firm in Chicago. I am planning to interweave their slogan, ‘love’, into my design which seamlessly blends with my polymorphs.
IMAGE OF LEFTY OUT THERE CREATING @PROPERTIES MURAL
I would love to collaborate with an architecture company and cover the façade of a skyscraper; not necessarily a mural. I imagine doing a laser cut metal design that covers the bricks and windows. My other dream is to do a full take-over of an apartment. The key would be subtlety, tonal colours, more textural than contrasting. I would want to do the wallpaper, the floor, the windows, the furniture . . . everything!