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Interview with artist Frances Cannon

Thursday 12 January 2017
Words Spindle

Based in Melbourne, Frances Cannon is a multidisciplinary artist who primarily creates drawings and paintings. Her doodle-like and distinctive drawings are celebrated for being so relatable, with Frances often creating from her own experience and feelings, as well as for the themes they depict. Feminism, self love, sexuality, gender, body image, and anxiety are all explored in Frances’ artwork, providing a refreshingly honest look at contemporary female experience. She also sparked a movement of people getting ‘Self Love Club’ tattoos, hoping to further self acceptance and love. She has showed her work in numerous group exhibitions and at four solo shows, with the most recent being ‘Feeling Blue,’ in which the artist asked for people to anonymously submit descriptions of what it feels like to suffer from anxiety, and created ink drawings inspired by their responses. We asked Frances to tell us more about her artwork and the themes she explores with it.

What compels you to create? 

Creating and making art has always been an important part of my life and I don’t find it hard at all to be compelled to create in some way. It’s always been such an integral part of my personality and life.

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How would you describe your artwork?

I have quite a broad practice and use a variety of mediums. I have two fairly distinct styles which include the black and white simplistic ink drawings that I am well known for, but I also love working in ink and watercolour and creating ambiguous and watery paintings. My themes revolve mainly around the body.

Do you have a favourite out of these styles?

I love them all for different reasons. For example, my large watercolour/ink paintings are relaxing when I’m in my studio, whereas my small black and white drawings are good for when I’m out and about and on the move as it’s very portable (just one sketchbook and pen).

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You often create work about female experiences and the female body – what do you want to convey in these pieces?

I’m just relaying my personal experiences – they are very personal and honest but also are quite universal human experiences, which is why a lot of people connect with them.

Tell us about the Self Love Club tattoos.

It started as a personal tattoo on my own arm and turned into a huge online movement/meme! It’s amazing how popular it has gotten.

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It’s great to see someone promoting self love, acceptance, and a diverse range of female representations in their artwork – tell us why this is so important to you.

Because when I was young I needed it, so why not be the person to provide it for other young people? Especially women.

Do you have a favourite project or piece that you’ve created?

No! That’s like choosing a favourite child! (haha!)

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Is there something you ultimately want to say with your art?

I want to push for equality, and help women (including myself) be comfortable with who they are.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have three gallery shows coming up in the next few months that I need to prepare for!

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What’s your dream project?

I’d love to have an exhibition overseas and make work collaborating with artists in the area.

View more of Frances’ work at: francescannonart.com.