When I met François Morelli, he made me remember the essence of what it means to be an artist. He is a provocateur, he talks to proletariat, his feral art pieces call attention all over the world, borders proscribe his works because they can’t seem to find it in their import manuals.
He tells me that he was an exceptional student at school with his mentors and teachers expecting him to continue on to become a doctor, lawyer, an engineer, what they deem to be a respectable profession. Then he gave them the bitter truth, he declared that he wanted to be an artist. The decades following his decision became the staging ground for his travels with his art pieces clearing vestige of doubts about his calling in life.
Today, he is a pundit on art, teaching art to students in one of Montreal’s most respectable universities. His atelier has artworks collected from all over the world schlepped to Montreal that make up the workspace of a very cultured man. In his milieu of influence, it is inevitable to be swayed by his thew on his art. As I write this, I realise his singe on my memory because well, he is a true artist.
Of course, when one talks of an artist one also is talking of about his art. Whether François is using stamps to make his many colorful collection of art books, or painstakingly penning in ink on his large canvases or bending wires to construct art pieces, one comes away thinking in awe of the influence art has both on the creator and the observer.
In the shambolic world of art, it is refreshing to see that an artist can still influence the observer the way the old masters did back in the days of Renaissance. I think François answers those sceptics who whinge on the current state of art with his uncontrite style.
During his evolution as an artist he has expatriated himself on numerous occasions to live in New York and in India only to return to Montreal triumphantly as one of their very own. Today, his art reflects many façades of cultural influence that has made him the artist that he is armed with a multi disciplinary artistic approach to lead the next generation to pursue their ambitions as artists.
His atelier has tokens of evidence of this poweress with small wool works from Kashmir, collection of furniture that have been used in a variety of occasions as props in films, sculptures and masks that lend a character of artistic affluence to the space. Even if one is not art savvy being in François’ studio can lead to epiphany about art.
Our discussion touched upon such topics as Otto Dix to artistic symbolism as he continued to make stamps in his 22nd artbook. When I mentioned that his work reminded me of Shunga woodblock prints, he did not hesitate to take out a book of Hokusai’s famous prints. I took the liberty of indulging in his collection of LPs and Cds, finally settling on Amalia Rodrigues. As “Fado da Saudade” played on he demonstrated his belt face (a mask) before I knew two hours had gone by.
OZ YILMAZ – PORTRAGRAM