Doing interviews was an idea that he gave me about 6 months or a year ago. (Sometimes it takes time for an idea to sink in.) In honor of that and with my great pleasure, I’m starting this series of interviews with artist and guitarist for Circa Survive, my very talented friend Colin Frangicetto.
YOUR DESCRIPTION OF YOURSELF:
As I become a more fragmented or diversified creator I become more satisfied with a simplified title like artist. For the sake of the question’s purpose I would say… Musician, Visual Artist, Designer, Writer and sometimes Philosopher.
WHAT TURNS YOU ON CREATIVELY?
Almost all acts of creation turn me on. Creation from nothing is a godly act. I believe that all people are creative and that life is your art project regardless of what you do professionally. I love the moment of surprise when someone creates something that they never thought they would be capable of. Thats a really special moment that I try to re-experience over and over in all areas of my work.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE GREATEST MYTH ABOUT CREATIVITY?
That only certain people are creative and that they are born with their talents.
WHAT BOOKS, TOOLS OR RESOURCES HAVE YOU USED TO IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS? AND WHICH COULD YOU NEVER LIVE WITHOUT?
This is an almost impossible question to answer. I literally feel like almost every book I have ever read has helped to improve my creative skills in one way or another. As far as resources, I will seek out all forms of guidance available when I am attempting to learn a craft or glean a skill or trick. For example when I was writing my first screenplay, I would read screenplays of films I found to be inspiring and excellent and use them as models. I then combined those models with instructional resources like podcasts, “how to” books, interviews and the like. This is the same way I learned to play guitar, learned to paint, and learned various computer programs like logic, photoshop, illustrator, etc. If you want to be able to do something, you absolutely can do it… you might suck at it for a bit but if you make it part of your routine and don’t stop, you will inevitably get better and possibly even get really good at something. Podcasts and biographical documentaries have completely changed my life in so many ways but most importantly by hearing people who have done amazing things tell humbling origin stories. That is a very inspiring thing to take in.
WHAT FALSE BELIEF WAS THE HARDEST TO OUT-LEARN OR LET GO OF?
There have been and still are many struggles in unlearning. When I first left the 9–5 world, it was a very difficult th
ing for me to explain to other people without feeling embarrassment, guilt and self consciousness. The words “artist” “musician” and or “professional” all made me cringe. I just always believed that I’d be thought of as a fraud if I claimed any of those titles. It was extremely hard and still is hard for me to accept that the things I create have any intrinsic value. Paradoxically I had no issues asking for the hourly rate I felt I deserved when I worked retail full time. I had to investigate and me
ditate deeply on why that was and learn to feel no shame in what I do. I still struggle with needing other people to validate the things that I make. It’s much more of a whisper in the back of my mind now where in the beginning it was more like a thousand people screaming at me. I also struggle with equating artistic success with financial gain. 90% of the time money and selling art or music is not something I am consciously thinking about but the 10% that I am is enough to make it all feel empty and completely meaningless.
WHO ARE YOU STRONGEST INFLUENCES?
For all different reasons and importances and time frames:
My parents and siblings, my girlfriend Sarah, Anthony Green, Brendan Ekstrom, Nick Beard, Steve Clifford, Esao Andrews, My therapist Dr. Shipley, Drew Roulette, Ian Mackaye, Basquiat, Marc Maron, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, James Jean, Louis CK, Kurt Vonnegut, all of the guys from my previous band This Day Forward, Radiohead, Craig Flaucher, Joseph Campbell, Matt Jobs, Allan Watts, Mike Shaw, Mark Rothko, Wes Anderson, Maurice Sendak, Brian Mcternan, David Botrill, Steven Bradshaw, Jeff Buckley, Miranda July, Pete Holmes, Miles Davis, David Lynch, Bjork, Duncan Trussell — to name as many as I can off the top of my head.
WHAT SOUND DO YOU LOVE?
Wind Chimes outside right before a rain storm. The Female Orgasm. Cat chirping. Playful Dog howling. Lighter being flicked. A guitar through a reverb pedal. 3 part vocal harmonies. A drummer playing without thought.
WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE IS HOPES OF INSPIRING GREATNESS?
Depends on the person but I have given Be Here Now by Ram Dass to more people than I can count.
WHO DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU THINK OF SUCCESS?
At the moment I think of Marc Maron because i love the trajectory of his career and what he’s done with his chance now that he’s gotten it.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Success is such a subjective word/term just like happiness. I think of them both as unattainable illusions. With that said, being able to do something that you intensely enjoy that simultaneously offers something to the world creates a sense of fulfillment that I wish every person on earth could experience.
WHAT ALBUM COULD YOU NEVER LIVE WITHOUT?
Jeff Buckley’s Grace
IS THERE A CREATIVE PLACE THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO GET TO? WHERE?
I’m just trying to become more efficient in conceiving, translating and expressing my ideas. There is so much static noise that I am seemingly trying to cut through but lately I’m taking more of an eastern approach by embracing the static and letting it all be part of the process.
WHAT ROLE, IF ANY, DOES PAIN PLAY IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
If it is there, it is something that can perhaps serve as inspiration or fodder after the fact but for me, emotional and physical pain tend to shut me down creatively.
WHAT LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
My mother and father equally.
WHAT QUALITY DO YOU MOST VALUE IN FRIENDS?
The ability to come through when it counts.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER?
Tie between Agent Moulder and Agent Cooper.
IN HIS BOOK, THE WAR OF ART, STEVEN PRESSFIELD EXPLAINS “RESISTANCE” AS ANYTHING THAT BLOCKS YOU FROM CREATING. WHAT ARE SOME FORMS OF RESISTANCE FOR YOU AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THEM?
Oh man, so many things… social media is the big one these days. I try to have a strict limit for Facebook to 5 mins. I absolutely detest Facebook anyway but if i go on there to post something for my art or music i inevitably fall down the rabbit hole and before I know it the morning is gone. When I’m working on a show or writing music I make a rule to only go on instagram if I am going to a specific profile to inspire myself. No streams. Other than social media…. TV is a big one. I luckily can have a TV on in my studio when I’m painting and it reallllllllllly helps the long drawing and painting sessions be less mind numbing. But if I need to write music or paint and I go lay on the couch… I can convince myself that I “NEED” a long break. While I am an admitted workaholic the fact is that you can’t have that type of leniency when you are self employed and make your own schedule. Its important to have discipline and awareness when it comes to your work patterns and schedules. With that said, I am TERRIBLE at scheduling. Getting better though. Going out on errands is another escape from the work so when I do that I make sure that I listen to a podcast or am actively thinking about the work while I drive and shop or whatever. If I’m in the studio or writing music than I’m listening to the demos or working versions of stuff on my errands. It provides a nice break while simultaneously giving me ideas for editing or changes. Sometimes I get sucked into doing something mechanical and money driven like design work or quick illustrations in resistance to the experimentation and journey of discovery that awaits with my fine art work. It’s all part of the big picture but I have to be
mindful with how I delegate my time creatively. If I want to accomplish more with painting and fine art then I must do the difficult, frustrating, lonely and sometimes painful work that comes along with it. That is sometimes difficult when I know I could make a simple pen and ink drawing and sell it for $100. Thats upwards of an extra $3000 I could make a month if I did it every day but in the big picture it would eat up a lot of my day and creative energy and I wouldn’t be any closer to my goal of artistic progression as a painter if I did that. It can be very dicey and confusing when your resistance to your art is another form of art hahaha.
DREAM DINNER PARTY: YOU, ANDY WARHOL AND…?
I don’t like to hang out with famous people or people that I look up to but don’t know. It gives me severe anxiety and I have a lot of trouble being myself but I suppose if I had to answer it would be Andy Warhol and Sarah. I think the three of us could have a great discussion or at the least we’d all be equally awkward.
WHAT APP, SYSTEM OR METHOD DO YOU USE TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TASKS AND PROJECTS?
I keep trying different ones. At the moment I use two main ones and they are analog haha.
2 different boards. On one, there is a big chart with 5 columns where I place color coded sticky notes. MUSIC / ART / MISC / which are the three columns of TO DO than there is the IN PROGRESS column which could have stickies from any of the three to dos in it. Than finally a DONE column.
Then I have a separate board to focus in on specific paintings or songs depending on what the current project is. Right now it has all 12 paintings that I’m working on listed and then a list of things i know i still have to do to each one of them.
WHAT’S THE MOVIE YOU WATCHED THAT BLEW YOU AWAY?
WHAT’S THE BEST CREATIVE ADVICE YOU’RE EVER RECEIVED?
There was a time a little over a year or so when I was frustrated and trying to map out a plan or a path for my visual art career and I asked Sarah what she thought and she said “I think you need to just work.” And I was like “well obviously but what-” and she finished “You’re an artist so you need to just do everything that comes along with that. Make your paintings, write songs, continue to grow and don’t worry about accolades or money. Follow your instincts, they’ve gotten you this far and it will continue to take you where you’re supposed to be. Don’t over think it.” She basically told me what I always felt and was doing anyway but hearing her say that almost carved it into stone for me because I had never said it out loud. I replay it in my head on days where I feel like giving up.
WHAT’S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE?
When I’m off from tour:
Wake up between 8–10am, deal with the dogs and cats. Make coffee. Take a half hour to reply to emails or check instagram and then get to work. Usually take a break mid day to do 30–60mins of a workout. Eat dinner. If I’m in the grind of preparing for a show than I will work the rest of the night, probably till at least 2am unless its Saturday or Monday which are days that Sarah and I have established as date nights or fun days. If I’m not preparing for a show than I relax after dinner and hang out with Sarah and the animals or we go out.
WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK?
Podcasts or I put a movie or show on and just listen to it.
Fav podcasts : You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, WTF, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour and Adventures in Design.
FOR YOU, WHAT ROLE DOES THE ARTIST PLAY IN SOCIETY?
I feel like it can be different for all artists but I feel like the best artists can bring people together and communicate something meaningful to them. Art brings another dimension to life. Sometimes it can be grandiose and other times it is background but just imagine no human-made images, no music, no camera related images, its kind of insane to imagine a society without artistry. Not really a life worth living to me.
WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE ARE YOU MOST FASCINATED WITH?
Really hard question. Salvador Dali and Joan of Arc are both pretty fascinating to me.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE HAPPIEST?
Walking next to Sarah. On the stage with Circa. Behind the easel when Im starting or finishing a painting. At the dinner table with my parents and siblings. Cuddling with my cats and dogs.
HOW DO YOU STOP FROM REPEATING YOURSELF IN YOUR WORK? HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FRESH?
I don’t think about it. I think sometimes you need to repeat yourself. Freshness comes by not feeling like you have to do one thing forever. Freshness comes from bravery.
KEVIN SMITH OR WOODY ALLEN?
As a filmmaker, Woody Allen for sure. As a person to hang out with, Kevin Smith.
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND, FLANNERY O’CONNOR WROTE, “TO EXPECT TOO MUCH IS TO HAVE A SENTIMENTAL VIEW OF LIFE AND THIS IS A SOFTNESS THAT ENDS IN BITTERNESS.” WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
I tend to agree. I try to avoid expectations in life because it seems to crush my ability to feel satisfaction, love, surprise and achievement. The less you expect, the less disappointment you will feel and the more you can enjoy the ebb and flow of life’s journey.
Where to find Colin:
Website:colinfrangicetto.com / circasurvive.com
Facebook:Colin Frangicetto Art / Psychic Babble / Circa Survive
Instagram:@colincirca / @circasurvive