Gianfranco Ocampo, AKA Francotron, self-described as a "vibration manipulator, dreamspace augmentor, sleep scientist and destroyer of species" is a 21 year old creative currently based in LA. With a background in Design & Illustration and currently completing a bachelor in Graphic Design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, Francotron is building up an impressive bag of skills that any young creative would desire.
In between studying he stays busy working on a range of projects, often collaborating with local artists and friends - and in the little spare time he has, Francotron offers his services by teaching Photoshop and Illustrator!
We discovered his work a while back through the wonderful world of tumblr, and have since maintained a solid relationship with the talented youngen. We caught up to have a little chat about life in LA, what inspires his work, and what he's got planned for the future.
Let's start from the beginning. When you were little, did you have any idea this is what you would be doing?
Actually, it’s funny because now that I’m a bit older I’ve realized that I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I talked to my second grade teacher not too long ago, and she told me I wanted to be a writer back then, but I also have drawings of myself wanting to be what was apparently a caucasian police officer pointing his night stick at inanimate objects.
In my teens I wanted to work for Pixar, and then later an audio engineer or music producer. I’d still like to explore that part of me later in life, since music plays a great part in my creative process, but for now, I’m enjoying the visual end of my professional ventures.
Who & what inspires you? Are there any particular artists you really admire?
Well, there’s a few that I actually ended up writing an essay on which can be seen here. But basically, I really dig So-Me from the Ed Banger Crew, and toy artists like Frank Kozik, Mori Chax, Kaws, Gary Baseman, Takashi Murakami, the people at Medicom toys, & Devilrobots because of the simplicity in their designs.
It’s almost as if they take advantage of the fact that it draws people to them, which thus in turn allows them to make more art. Simple math because they made something others liked, and they milk it. I think that’s awesome. Not because of the fact that they milk the simplicities of their designs, but because they made something that they liked, because they wanted to, and people ended up liking it too.
They get to continue doing what they do because of that, and they get paid to do what they love most, and I can dig that. Especially if they’re all changing the ideas of what is and isn’t tasteful, because I feel they’re just giving those standards the finger and saying, “no, actually I can do whatever the fuck I want” and I’ve always thought that was cool.
These artists always sort of gave off this really cool duchamp vibe that I wanna be able to have one day too. In fact, I had a bit of a dunny/smorkin labbit collection going on, but then my brother got taller, and well... dogs *laughs*.
Who would you love to collaborate with, dead or alive?
I mean hell, I would love to collaborate with Chax & Koz!k the most. I dunno what we would make, but it seems like their creative process just happens, and most of the time when I make the stuff I do I don’t really know what I’m walking into and it just happens one way or another anyways, so I’m willing to bet that the end product would be incredible.
"...most of the time when I make the stuff I do I don’t really know what I’m walking into and it just happens one way or another..."
How would you describe your creative style?
Well, I mean, my creative style to me seems to be the total opposite from the way I am in real life. When I’m in front of the screen, everything is straight lines, and perfect curves - mathematics at its finest. Meanwhile I sucked at math in school, and everything in my room is stored (or rather thrown) under my bed for future use since I’m all over the place all the time. I’ve always liked modern art & architecture, frankart (from the art deco period) and I pretty much dig anything that came out of the Bauhaus, like Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier, Theo Vandoesburg who were all greats.
Los Angeles is a really interesting place, because there is nothing in Los Angeles, and then there’s everything in Los Angeles. Sure, we have our landmarks like the Hollywood sign, and the Griffith Observatory, and stuff like that, but if you live here then you can’t fully appreciate it like others do because it’s always here and then it seems like there’s nothing here.
But LA is magic, I’m telling you, because LA is whatever you make it out to be. A clean slate to treat as your oyster, a hustle & bustle megalopolis where everything is at reach or a peaceful retreat depending on where you go. Always a concert to go to, always a place to see, always interesting characters to meet, and things to do if you’re willing to look.
It’s all about just taking that first step and getting involved in something you find interesting even though you don’t know where that might take you. I mean really, it might be a waste of time, but, what if it isn’t? I mean, other people are doing it, why would they waste their time if they saw no benefit for themselves? Or better, why would you like what you like in the first place if you didn’t think it was fun?
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
If I could live anywhere, I'd probably live in a modern four story apartment type complex in Shinjuku or Roppongi. And if I decide I actually want a house, then there’s this really cool house in Mitaka I saw on the way back to my friends apartment from the Ghibli Museum. Or Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jnr's Iron Man) house on Redondo beach, or is it Malibu? Yeh, it's Malibu.
"I’m a people watcher. I draw inspiration and chill out from watching everything and listening to everything..."
What are some of your favourite hangout spots in LA?
My favorite spots are Melrose, 3rd Street, Ventura Blvd, The Grove, and the Americana at Brand because I’m a people watcher. I draw inspiration and chill out from watching everything and listening to everything from people and the hustle and bustle of the city to art online whilst listening to Mozart or Flying Lotus or Daft Punk. But I go to a lot more concerts than I do those places really, so I’m everywhere!
What are you currently working on? Any exciting projects for the future?
Lately, I have been collecting my works in a book which can eventually be purchased through blurb, and also have a few ideas in mind for some hats and possibly even some patches in the future. Keep an eye out for these!
After graduating with his bachelors, Francotron sights his ultimate goal of "becoming creative director at a major magazine label". Based on his solid portfolio of mixed works, and know-how in various mediums, we believe he has every chance in achieving that.
And finally, if you had to pick: Mario or Luigi?
Well, at first I was gonna say Luigi (obviously, because Mario is too mainstream) but because I felt that was predictable, and because most people would pick Luigi for this reason, I’m going to be so UN-Mainstream, and pick Mario because Mario is cool & stuff. Also because my brother is playing Super Mario Sunshine right now and he’s been asking for a lot of help and it’s one of my favorite games.