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Alexandra Francis - emerging artist from Leeds

Alexandra Francis is an emerging artist from Leeds, England. She has exhibited as part of a group exhibition in Catalonia, Spain, entitled "We are Here in Yellow and Red" and the Horsforth Walk of ART in Horsforth, Leeds. Her artwork revolves around sculpture, installation, painting, photography and drawing. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's promotion of peace has encouraged her to make artwork promoting peace worldwide. We have conducted an interview with Alexandra.

Who are your inspirations and what encourages you to promote peace?
I am not particularly inspired by the artwork of other artists as such, as I tend to gain my inspiration through personal past experiences, memories and emotions, that I feel and have felt throughout the years of my life. To some people, meeting their favourite artist in person may be the most inspiring thing that can happen to that person, however life in general inspires me. When I find that I need inspiration for my artwork, I just think about all the artwork that I have already created, and how much I have accomplished in terms of my career over the last few years, and that seems to help me gain ideas for future art projects. I am sure a lot of people know that the former member of The Beatles John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono spent a lot of their time creating artwork, and promoting world peace, through interviews, artwork, music, public talks and congregations, before John Lennon's unexpected death in the year of 1980. It is the work of John Lennon and Yoko Ono that initially inspired me to start promoting world peace through my own artwork, and their work still inspires me to this day. For many years, I was under the impression that peace was something that we could find as human beings, as if peace was something like a gas in the air. It took me quite a while to be able to answer the question "what is peace?" I believe that we as human beings and animals are peace. To me, peace is not something that can be found in the air or as an inanimate object on the physical plane.

Sometimes peace can be hard to find or feel if you do not know where it is or how to find it. We spend so much time trying to find peace, but I think we are not looking in the right places. We must find the peace within ourselves, not anywhere else. You cannot see it or hear it, peace is only something you can feel. Life is about trying to find the good in everyone. We cannot live in a world looking for the bad parts in everything that we see. We cannot live in a world sharing bad news, sending out bad thoughts, even though it seems that we do live in a world like that currently. If we find the peace and love in ourselves and everyone around us, we will feel lighter as individuals. We will feel happier and more at ease, which will cause us to smile more often.

Which is your favourite art piece and installation?
I have a sculpture installation on my bedroom wall that I created in May 2016 with white string and pushpins, it is a really simple artwork that visually creates the word peace on my wall. It was an installation that was only supposed to be temporary, an experiment more than anything else, however I really enjoy seeing the work when I wake up on a morning, so I have not removed the installation off my wall yet. It is a great way to start the day and I can see my wall art being available to be seen for many more months to come. There are images on the internet for anyone wanting to see the work. It really is beautiful, I think right now that is one of my favourite art pieces that I have created.

What kind of sculpture have you exhibited? How challenging is creating an art sculpture?
We of all life create artwork even when we do not think that we are creating it. Do you know, if you walk into a woodland area and the sun is shining, the trees cast shadows across the land? Well, to me that is artwork, it is the creation of something, even if that something is only small or what we would consider as a normal thing to happen. How we walk, or how we speak, our body gestures and body language, it is all a form of art. I think that as human beings, we are always challenging ourselves to create artwork that is new and original. We work so hard to develop new skills and techniques, and aim to try to create the "next best artwork" that we can create. I think that because of this, sometimes we forget that life is a form of art itself and that art is all around us no matter who we are, where we live or the skills that we have. On the 2nd and 3rd of July 2016 I exhibited as part of the Horsforth Walk of ART, in Leeds, England. Although I did not exhibit any sculptures as of such, I invited visitors to view my ink art prints on the two days of the exhibition. Visitors were then invited to create their own ink artwork prints through a family friendly workshop at the outside venue. It was such a beautiful venue, and the weather was fantastic, that the venue hosts and I decided that we would hang up the prints that were made over the two days, on washing lines in the garden to dry. I like to think that this created a sculpture in itself, a sculpture that was created by the whole community and not just by one person. Although I have not exhibited any sculptures as of such, as in the past I have primarily focussed on exhibiting paintings, prints and drawings, I am very excited to start exhibiting my sculptures in the near future, especially my Pines for Peace sculpture. I find that exhibiting sculptures like my Pines for Peace sculpture is a good way to involve nature in my artwork, as the sculpture involves pine cones - this is a great way to promote peace within my artwork, as nature is often associated with being peaceful. Sometimes sculptures can be a challenge to create as we all find that we have so many ideas for artwork - that we never know what idea to work upon first.

How challenging a sculpture is to create really depends on the individual who is creating the art sculpture. What some people may find easy may be a struggle to other people, but that is only natural. I think, for myself, an art sculpture is very easy to plan, however sometimes difficult to complete, which I don't think is a bad thing because when we struggle with the completion of an artwork - we receive an opportunity to develop new skills and techniques. What I find difficult about creating an art sculpture is that I often fantasize about creating large scaled sculptures, and experimenting with creating art sculptures that I have never created before. Given time these sculptures will be created and I really do look forward to working on them, however at this moment in time I simply do not have the materials or space to create these particular sculptures. Not having the sufficient space or materials to create these sculptures can limit me to the artwork that I create, which is very unfortunate - if there is something I do not like about making artwork, it is the idea that I may be limiting myself from creating something that I really want to create.

Which are your favourite subjects for drawing, painting and photography?
If I am honest, I do not really have any particular subjects for drawing, painting or photography. I feel it is important to not allow yourself to limit yourself when you make artwork, no matter the form of art you are working with. If you limit yourself, either through materials, ideas, or because you fear your artwork will not work out as you intend the work to, then you will never know what you can achieve. It will be as though you are always sitting on the fence, and I do not like that idea. I prefer to work freely, just as I prefer to live my life, and to use any and all materials and ideas that you can find for your artwork. It does not matter if the work does not work out as you intend it to. There is no right or wrong way to create an artwork. When you think your artwork is wrong - well, that is just the way you perceive your work personally. It does not mean it is wrong at all. Working as an artist I find that creating artwork revolves around experimentation and enjoying my time creating the work. My artwork helps me to visually capture my personal experiences, emotions and thoughts in my art - as though I use my career as a personal diary, except it is not a written diary, it is a diary of paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and photographs that I create. My artwork expresses my life to the public and if people enjoy the artwork that I create than that is great.

Where have you exhibited? And where do you wish to exhibit next?
In April 2015 I exhibited as part of a group exhibition entitled "We are Here in Yellow and Red" in Catalonia, Spain, at the Escola d'Art i Superior de Disseny de Vic. It was a very exciting time for me, because it was the first time that I had ever exhibited outside of my home country, the United Kingdom. There was such a fantastic energy at this exhibition, just as there is with all the other exhibitions that you exhibit at. I have also exhibited as part of other group exhibitions between the years of 2014 and 2016, and these were at Leeds Beckett University, The Brunswick and Studio 24, gate 2, Mabgate, in Leeds. In July 2016, I exhibited as part of The Horsforth Walk of ART, which was a fantastic experience also. A number of my ink and acrylic paint prints, canvas paintings and a balloon framed painting will be displayed at The Old Red Bus Station in Leeds in late August 2016. The framed ink prints will then be exhibited at the arts space Seven, in Leeds, in 2017. Though I enjoy exhibiting my artwork and promoting peace with my artwork at different venues in Leeds, I am really looking forward to exhibiting my artwork in various other cities in the United Kingdom, and other countries in the world. I do not currently have a specific place that I would like to exhibit at next, as I am very open to ideas of where I can exhibit my artwork, however I am looking forward to having my work exhibited in galleries worldwide in the future.

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Alexandra Francis - emerging artist from Leeds Reviewed by JaamZIN on 4:32:00 PM Rating: 5
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