Today we’d like to introduce you to Francine Funke.
Francine, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent my childhood in a “rough around the edges” neighborhood. City lots were strewn with “found objects,” and backyards were covered with sand, not green grass. One of my earliest creative memories was making elaborate multi-layered pies of mud and Plaster of Paris, a bag of which just happened to be in the yard. My mother, who could tackle any project, and my playmates in Brooklyn, who were a wildly creative bunch, stoked my artistic flame at an early age.
I have always been an artist. I cannot remember ever being anything but.
After getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Cornell University, I attended Hunter College Graduate School in New York City, where I received a Master of Fine Arts Degree. I spent many months/years “pounding the pavement” in Soho and Chelsea, the Arts districts in New York City, and managed to land solo shows in galleries there. I usually work in series, and it was my sculptural “Chair Series” that was chosen by Tiffany and Company to be displayed in their five windows on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Next came my “Fire Works” Series of acrylic and paper on canvas works. A career highlight and an experience I will never forget came when Senator Joseph Lieberman sponsored my installation, ”Plumes” to be exhibited in the Russell Senate Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. That installation traveled to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and then to the Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Connecticut.
Although my early art education focused on traditional media, such as painting and drawing, I have always experimented with new media and techniques. My recent “Mechanical Botanical” Series was inspired by my knowledge and fascination with the creative potential of graphic design computer programs. This work combines original photography and digital scans with hand applied graphite and acrylic paint. A large site-specific exterior window installation entitled, “Through the Grass Darkly,” was shown at the Mixed Greens Gallery in Chelsea, New York in 2015. And, Houston’s Bill Arning, chose work from this series to be exhibited at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Connecticut
Throughout all of this, I had numerous art-related jobs. I was the lead art enhancer for a premier art publishing company in New York, an art gallery salesperson, and a graphic designer for home décor magazines. I also have licensed my artwork for various consumer products.
Two years ago, I relocated from the New York Metro Area to Austin, Texas. After being here for just two months, I was very excited to have been included in the 2017 New Texas Talent Exhibition at the Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas. I am now in the process of discovering all the artistic venues and opportunities that Texas has to offer!
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My recent “Mechanical Botanical” Series addresses the effects of Technology on Nature. This recent work combines my original photography, digital scans and manipulation, and archival pigment printing with traditional media such as acrylic paint, watercolor, and graphite. Each piece is unique because the artist’s hand plays a vital role in the finished work of art.
As an artist, all my skills and experiences ultimately influence my artwork –and, in this case, it was my knowledge of the computer and software, along with my background in painting and drawing, that led me on an exciting journey of transforming beautiful botanical forms into a “weird science” composed of strangely exquisite “techno-mutations”.
In the end, the “Mechanical Botanical” Series hopefully provides the viewer with a new and startling way of looking at the world we now inhabit—and perhaps even a glimpse into the hybrid universe of tomorrow.
Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities, and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Focusing on your artwork is always a challenge because Life has a habit of “getting in the way.” Unless you are blessed with a substantial trust fund, it is a good idea to find a way of supporting yourself at a job in which you “work and get paid.”
This is not always the case with an art career, because it may take a long time to reap the fruits of your labor.
There are many art-related industries that can broaden your knowledge, provide you with networking opportunities, and possibly help your career in the long run.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Upcoming, I will be included in the “People’s Gallery” at Austin City Hall which opens on February 22nd, 2019 and will be on view until January 2020.
I will be a participant in the 2019 WEST Austin Studio Tour upcoming in May.
In addition, my work can be viewed at Warden Art Agency in Austin.
Also, if you are interested in my work, feel free to contact me directly.
- Website: www.francinefunke.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: #francine.funke
- Other: www.behance.net/franfunke