INIS, an artist born in Calabria and living in the Maurienne valley, has created an exclusive lithograph for the museum’s 30th birthday, celebrated throughout summer 2019.

Replicated using the sublimation technology on Opinel handles (N°08 and N°13), the work is exhibited during the “30 ans et toutes ses dents” exhibition.

Name: Francesco Gallo alias INIS (acronym of Io Nato Ievoli Sono : I’m born in Ievoli)
Town: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Country: France
Profession: Painter and sculptor
My favourite Opinel knife: I always have my slim 8cm knife with a patinated beechwood handle in my pocket. I use it for everything. I even take the liberty of using it in well-known restaurants because I think it’s more efficient than their own knives! One day, I noticed that my Opinel might have fallen out of my pocket in the hotel room where I had been staying. I was already on the motorway but decided to go back and found it under the bed!

Can you tell us about your artistic path?

As a child, I used to draw while I was herding goats. I was already attracted by art. I had always dreamed of being an artist. That’s why I came to Naples when I was 15 years old, to study art. I then moved to the Maurienne valley in France, for its inspiring light and landscapes. I’ve been working hard to achieve recognition of my work. Today, I continue to work at improving and developing many projects. I enjoy traveling because I am inspired by people and places. I am always full of ideas and I think you need to give your whole life to art to enhance your artistic expression.

One of your greatest achievements as an artist?

To have succeeded in earning a living from my own work: painting and sculpting. I’ve raised a family thanks to art and today I am six times a grandfather which is my richness.

Where do you exhibit today?

I have a gallery in Châtelard-en-Bauges open all summer as well as an art Gallery in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, open all year round and where I organize many events. I also owned a gallery in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence for 5 years. Van Gogh was greatly inspired by this region in his later life and I was drawn to what he brought out in his paintings. His influence on my work was significant and continues to inspire me to this day through his use of light and color transformation … painting is such an emotion.
Furthermore, I have the pleasure of working with the Bel Air Fine Art group in Geneva and its 18 galleries worldwide and also with the Perbet gallery based in the French Alps.

What has been your approach to your work for the museum’s 30th birthday?

I think the painters’ workshop is associated with his artistic creation, the gallery is where he makes himself known, whereas to exhibit in a museum is a veritable accolade. So, it’s a recognition of my work to collaborate with the Opinel Museum. It’s a joining of art and the utilitarian, of the emblematic knife that is Opinel.

This realization evokes the tree trunk used to produce the knives handles, with drilled holes on some models and the visible wood fibers. The number 30 refers to the museums thirtieth anniversary. The warm colors resonate with the material and the earth. I wanted us to be reminded of the land. Everywhere, culture is the foundation needed for society. We need to preserve our traditions and values so that future generations have the strength to carry on.

How do you see the evolution of the museum as a resident of the Maurienne Valley?

I think it’s a chance that the Maurienne Valley be the birthplace of Joseph Opinel, this man who invented the ingenious knife that changed people’s daily lives. Today, it has become precious. New collections and creations regularly liven up the museum and its actuality. I couldn’t imagine our valley without this museum that plays such an important role in preserving the memory of our local culture, may it continue.

The last word: if you had to define the Opinel Knife in one word?

Universal, in the sense that we can find Opinel knives worldwide.