Description: Ian Francis (British b.1979), ‘Theseus Crosses A Line’, 2011, oil, acrylic, ink, pen, charcoal and pencil on canvas, signed and dated to the canvas verso; canvas: 108 x 152cm ARR
Ian Francis is a British mixed-media artist, whose paintings, inspired by the visual style of modern computer games, often depict violent, urban scenes. Born in 1979, Ian Francis was raised in the west of England, in the city of Bristol. His desires and aspirations were always aimed towards art and creativity, since his early childhood years. Nevertheless, Ian never really got on with art as an academic subject – art teachers were always giving him a B grade for his work. After finishing high school, Francis enrolled into the University of the West of England, with a goal to get a degree in fine arts.
At that period, in the late 90s, the influence of art collector Charles Saatchi was at its peak. Some kinds of art were favored over the others – such as conceptual art and video installations over the usual acrylic paintings. Ian Francis’ desire to paint came up against the snobbery of the creative industries, and he had to completely bypass the traditional artistic career model. As a result, he rather took a degree in illustration than fine art. Ian got his BA in Illustration with honors from the University of the West of England, UK, in 2001.
Intricate in form and highly detailed, Ian Francis’ art is a mixture of abstraction and figuration, composed from the elements of both painting and drawing. Multi-layered and highly contrasted, Ian Francis’ paintings generate a feeling of a seemingly multi-dimensional platform, with blackness and empty space surrounding the portrayed scenes and characters. As a mixed media artist, the artist uses a range of mediums – from acrylic and oil to charcoal and ink – to create his distinctly contemporary works. Although he predominantly uses oil on canvas, Ian Francis favors the catch-all nature of mixed media as a description for his process. Ian also indicated that he might start using computers or photo transfer in the future. Apart from the unique visual style, one more thing makes Ian Francis’ art to stand out from others – the artist is noted for his use of gels to create a high contrast flat finish that imitates the effect of a high definition monitor, or glossy paper used for magazines.
Ian Francis’ art has been featured in many group and solo exhibitions, mostly in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Some of his solo exhibitions include Season 1, Episode 0, and Fireland at the Joshua Liner Gallery, Exodus at the Lazarides Gallery in London, and Endless Summer, featured at the Outsiders Gallery London. Ian Francis’ latest work was exhibited at The Chosen Form of Your Destroyer solo show. His noted group exhibitions include PULP, Bedlam, and Hell’s Half Acre at the Lazarides Gallery.