NYUnique: JUSTIN FARGIANO: “My Jokes Are Visual”
“One piece says ‘sweat heart’ which is just a dumb play on words, but I think the failure of it makes it more endearing.”
Lei: How would you describe your style?
Justin: I would say vibrant! Also, colorful and graphic! Many of my outfits are on the verge of what a cartoon character would wear. Cartoon characters are very iconic, colorful, distinct and they almost always have positive connotations of childhood. You get the essence of who a character is in just a few simple colors and lines, and it’s an efficient way to know somebody.
Lei: What’s the best part of being an art student?
Justin: Meeting other art students. Art students are trying to find themselves and figure out their images, which makes them project extremely stylized versions of who they think they are and who they want to be. It’s really absurd, goofy and kind of inspiring.
Lei: Let’s do something fun and casual. Tell us the best joke you’ve got!
Justin: Oh my god. Oh my god! I never tell jokes. I’m not even funny. A lot of my jokes are visual and I can’t really speak them.
Lei: I know you just started a clothing line with super innovative prints. How do you get ideas for those?
Justin: I start by doodling and drawing little pictures. They’re funny and lighthearted but always have a tinge of sadness. One piece says “sweat heart” which is just a dumb play on words, but I think the kind of failure of it makes it more endearing. [Laughter]
Lei: The photos from our shoot are vibrant and include lots of donut imagery. What message are you trying to send by using food as a medium?
Justin: I think food is very overlooked in our everyday life. It’s made to be destroyed. A lot of times, food that we do notice is fragrant, and we fail to realize how essential it is to human life. Desserts are a great example of this, because they are expected to be supersaturated and the “fun” part of a meal. Other art forms can’t evoke an instant physical response like how food can make our mouth water.
Lei: Where do you get inspiration for art and other visual creations?
Justin: I don’t really love the neon and chrome style that a lot of visual artists are going for, so I’m aiming to still be colorful without being cold. I want to go back to the basics. Some of my artistic inspirations are Picasso, Mondrian, Cindy Sherman and food artist Thu Tran. Thu’s early TV show “Food Party” was formative for me.
Lei: What’s next for you?
Justin: Film director, stop motion animator, T-shirt designer, photographer, comedy writer, sculptor ... actor! I’m looking for more good friends and also want to be a better friend. I want to write a good song for my parents. I want to do everything I can – the opportunities are endless!
Directed and Interviewed by: Lei Jin
Photographed by: Alicia Gill
Interviewee: Justin Fargiano