The Artist Spotlight series aims to celebrate creators at a time when art is being consumed the most. We wanted to invite individuals working within the creative field to provide their voice, opinions and suggestions for the improvement, development and future of the Canadian creative community.
This week, we asked Toronto – based Visual Artist Frances Sousa a few quick questions about the inspiration behind her work and how she has been positively affected by the global pandemic and physical distancing measures. Check out her thoughts below, and browse her original art and reworked vintage pieces on her Depop, here.
Q: Can you share a little about yourself and your background in the creative field?
I am a Toronto-based, self-taught artist working primarily with abstract painting on vintage and used textiles, as well as other recycled materials. The major themes I pursue in my work include the contrast of softness with harshness, florals and bright colours.
Left: “Harley, David, Jean” Mixed medium.
Right: “Empathy” Mixed medium.
Both pieces by Frances Sousa.
To see more of France’s work, check out her website, or browse her feed on Instagram.
Q: I noticed your work is mixed textiles, fabric with paint, glitter etc. Where do you source your fabric and materials?
I’m really interested in sourcing vintage and used fabric and materials. Most often, I am sourcing them from thrift stores and seeing how I can reuse discarded items to make something beautiful. Usually the only new materials I use are paint, glitter, or incorporating film photos I have taken previously. I don’t usually necessarily intend to stay within a certain aesthetic because I do like to change it up, but I can’t help being drawn to vintage florals and bright colours!
Q: I saw you sell clothes and art on DEPOP as well. Your recent “The Cramps” re-worked vintage top is so cool, what medium did you use on the fabric?
Thank you so much! Reworking vintage with my designs is a new venture for me, but one I have wanted to do for a long time. I used textile medium mixed with Tulip fabric paint, and then heat processed once dry so that it lasts forever. You can shop France’s Depop, here.
Q: Is there a quote/ mantra you live by, if so, how has this shaped your practice?
As a mantra, I try to tell myself “one step at a time, it’ll get done”. It helps me out a lot because I find it easy to get overwhelmed and anxious with multiple projects on the go in balance with the business side of things.
Q: (How) Has the pandemic and physical distancing measures affected you and your family/your art?
To be honest, the pandemic and physical distancing measures have only added to my work in a positive way. It has given me the time and freedom to work on personal projects and see what my next concrete steps are. Although I mostly work alone, collaboration has been mostly unaffected because of digital communication for the time being. However, I really do miss going to exhibits, so I would say that the social aspect and networking has been different, but not completely gone.
Q: What are you up to right now?
Right now, I am continuing with developing a set number of pieces each week, as well as making more items to be listed on my Depop.
In my personal life, I am getting more and more into yoga. The quarantine gave me the motivation to practice more frequently, and yoga and meditation have become such a central part and benefit of my life, so I have isolation to thank for that.
Q: How do you envision the future of in-person/ interactive events like art shows and live music events, given physical distancing measures and reduced capacity of indoor spaces? Is the future all digital?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, mostly in terms of art shows. I’ve seen a few small galleries live -streaming exhibition openings and artist talks in compliance with physical distancing and safety measures, so that is a great option. I have seen online exhibits, which are great as well but lack the social aspect of going to an opening.
“I think it’s important for us to consider different and creative ways to still have interactive events, while maintaining a safe and reduced capacity of indoor spaces.” – Frances Sousa