The TAX Collection Curation Creation Collabroation

Artist Spotlight interview with Franz Szony

Franz Szony is a fine art photographer based out of Los Angeles, California. Szony's work strives to not only capture moments, but to create them. Originally starting out as an illustrator, Szony has taken his perspective of this craft and applied it when working behind the lens. This combination creates stunning and dramatic images full of ethereal undertones. Working with drag queens such as Amanda Lepore and Sharon Needles, Szony shows his viewers a different perception of beauty and elegance, with a modern twist. 

What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

Although I studied primarily illustration in college at AAU in San Francisco, and later film photography, I now create work through digital photography.  However, I still create from an illustrators perspective… for me its less about capturing a moment and more about creating one.  

Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist? 

I grew up in Reno, the “biggest little city”, and my father was in the casino business, so I was fortunate to see many shows that influenced me greatly.  It was a time when stage productions had a classic charm, and spared no expense… the sets were painted by hand, the costumes were at the level of couture and music came from an orchestra pit.  Although I caught the tail-end of this bygone “showgirl” era, I was introduced to the philosophy of camp, glamour and the basics of “smoke and mirrors”. 

What was your dream growing up as a child? 

I truly wanted to grow up to be a witch.  A boy can dream right?  Although I suppose I got what I asked for…magic wand, camera…same thing.  

What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life? 

Goodness.  I used to create mostly when I was going through stages of feeling angry or sad… I think artists feel most inspired when they can turn grief into creation.  However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a much happier person, creating work from a place of joy has had a dramatic effect on my work.  

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitivelytowards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions? 

Although there have been many, Id have to say that it was the first time I traveled through Europe with my parents, Venice particularly.  Id never seen anything like it…the attention to detail and design exists in literally everything.  This also introduced me to rococo and chinoiserie design,  both heavily inspire me to this day.  

Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they/it have influenced your work? 

I'd have to say that almost all of my inspirations are from times past… Im attracted to almost nothing modern.  Im highly influenced by Erte, Harry Clarke and Marc Davis.  I tend to find inspiration from illustrators moreso than photographers.  All three were masters at elegance, high concept… and in a way, humor. 

What does your work mean to you? If anything at all? 

-My work is truly my therapy, and I think its honestly how I communicate best.  It also acts as a personal diary… a history of my deepest thoughts, fantasies and hardships.  In a way, its also my form of drag.  

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit? 

The creation of art will truly keep us all from turning into vegetables.