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Meet Kirsten Francis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirsten Francis.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was a socially awkward, introverted kid and discovered books while hiding out in the school library during lunch. I became a voracious reader, and when I wasn’t reading, I was drawing pictures inspired by the stories I read.

Because I could draw, I was a natural fit for my high school’s advanced Fine Art program. I took three years of Figure Drawing and learned the basics of drawing, composition and human anatomy.

I got burnt out on art in college (too much drawing?) and didn’t do anything creative for a few years. In my twenties, I took a printmaking class at Mesa College and fell in love with printmaking’s technical demands, with the studio and the ‘kiss of the press’.

I continued to study printmaking at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR- eventually specializing in the reductive woodblock technique. It is a particularly painstaking and time-consuming method- make a mistake, and the entire edition is doomed. I really liked it.

I worked as an artist for the next ten years, creating and selling woodblock prints inspired by the story of my own life. When I had my children, I no longer had the time or energy to continue printmaking. I spent a long time figuring out how I could make art again and what story I had to tell.

I have to thank my daughters for helping me rediscover my creative and artistic voice. They showed me how to create without reservation, and the joys of paper and glue ( they even let me use them as models).

Please tell us about your art.
I spent many years creating reductive woodblock prints before eventually transitioning to drawing and collage. Many aspects of woodblock printmaking- the carving or cutting, the layering of colors and images- inform my current mixed media work.

I begin with the figure- it’s my anchor and focal point. I often use multiple images of the same person, varying only in expression or gesture. While the figures are highly realistic, they are not intended as specific portraits, but as a human counterpoint to the images used in the collage; someone reacting and interacting with the incessant flow of exquisitely curated images that saturate the media we consume.

My use of found images is instinctive, opportunistic and somewhat vengeful. I take delight in cutting up or cutting out images that have been so carefully calibrated to make us want something specific. I regain control by manipulating these images however it pleases me. Right now I like working with circles.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
I’m really not sure. It seems like there are so many people making wonderful art now that it is difficult to stand out and be seen. Then again, there are more opportunities for artists of all types than ever has been before. Maybe the real challenge for the artist is to find the community that will nurture and support them over the long haul, and that they can also contribute to and be a part of.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I exhibit my work in group and solo shows. Announcements can be found on my website. My work can always be seen on my website, and I post photos of my process on my Instagram feed.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos by Kirsten Francis

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Amy Glancy

    October 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to read about the inspiration and training that goes into her wonderful creations.

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