Artist Spotlight: Ian Francis

UK-born mixed media artist Ian Francis has officially made his stateside solo debut with the opening of Fireland on March 3, 2011 at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York City. Utilizing a mixture of ink, oil paint, pen, charcoal, acrylic paint, and graphite, Francis’ new body of work takes his usual blend of abstraction, alienation, and eroticism to a whole new level.

Francis graduated with honors from the University of the West of England (UK) in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration. This fact is evidenced by Francis’ clear understanding of the fundamentals of photo-realism. In a 2008 interview, Francis discussed the ways in which his new techniques have allowed him to explore the world outside of illustration: “I found that using different media and techniques forced me away from [working too realistically], and helped me concentrate on what I was trying to say with [my] artwork.” Francis goes on to say that he has “fundamentally switched” the way he makes art over the past decade, from drawing with pencil, to creating mixed-media paintings, to experimenting with photocopiers and PhotoShop, to creating mixed-media paintings and back again. It is this back-and-forth that has allowed Francis to focus on the actual content of his work rather than just technique alone.

As far as compositions go, Francis has said that he tries to balance the focus of creating realistic portraits with the art of creating space for his figures to “breathe.” This balance is not always easy to achieve. In fact, Francis often has to work at taking out various elements and adding others as each painting starts to take shape. Regardless, all of Francis’ work ends up being a reflection of his fascination with modern life and what it really means to be alive.

Fireland will be on display at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York City until April 2, 2011. For more information on this exhibit, please visit the gallery’s website.