Z. Fondanarosa’s interdisciplinary practice spans widely through illustration, painting, fibers, performance film, and writing. In his work he explores the ways his disability, queerness, and Hellenic faith interact with a hostile world, through the lens of colorfully macabre surrealism. Most of his work centers the body, and packs in sublet symbolism to visually tell a story of the ways the body can betray when perceived, and the loss of control through beauty.
Z. Fondanarosa received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago(2020). He has shown his work in several major cities including San Francisco, CA(2022-24) and Chicago, IL(2018-20). His illustrations have published internationally in “Semioculus”, Tartu, Estonia(2023). He has also been outspoken about disability rights and has been a guest panelist at SAIC’s DLRC’s “Disability and Belong” lecture series (2017-18). He currently is based in Oakland, CA.
From thunderous clouds overhead lightning strikes, and it breaks my bones…. It breaks my heart. My head is severed from my body, my mind and flesh working against each other. And much like a dullahan I ride in, head in hand, to bring a warning you can choose to heed. No matter who your gods are at the end of the day you are the one who holds the key to give them power over you. And I am we, and we have no authority, so you can choose to listen to us, but we shall scream forth for you to pay attention until our wailing haunts you like a banshee. My artwork is a constant battle between the call to the void and a consuming god complex riding through this thunderstorm. These themes can be explored through my paintings, illustrations, experimental performance film, and writing.
In my poetic and illustrative works I try to show the feelings of alienation that arise through the trauma of having a body that is forcibly politicized. Through aesthetic mutilation I try to capture what it feels like to live in a body that doesn't feel like it belongs to you, a body that is disconnected from your mind, a body that betrays you. I use a mix of the iconography of Catholicism (punishing) and the Hellenic (accepting) to meld together the confusing realities of spiritual life and the reality of living within social confinements. I try to bring magic and elevation to the self that is seen as broken by outside eyes, to show that the queer can be holy.