Artist Interview - Susan Francis

Artist interview between Shannon Skye Robinson and Lois Emma Harkin (Curating Futures Project Coordinator), and Susan Francis (Curating Futures Artist).

* Warning, mature content- nudity *

Date of Interview: 20th of December 2021

Participants: Shannon Skye Robinson (SSR) and Lois Emma Harkin (LEH) and Susan Francis (SF)

SSR/LEH: What is your background?

SF: I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, grew up during the troubles, and moved to the North of England initially to study Fine Art in Manchester. I exhibited internationally then took a break to raise four children. I returned to exhibiting in 2008 and am now based in Wiltshire and curate part time for an arts organisation in Hampshire.


SSR/LEH: How did you get into art/ creativity?

SF. I was never out of it really; I never remember a time when art/creativity wasn’t central to my life.

Artwork produced by Susan Francis


SSR/LEH: What do you get out of producing work?

SF: It is the language through which I try to articulate what it means to ‘be’ in the world, to make sense of the mystery of entanglement; of material, relationship, place and memory, as much to myself as anyone else.

Artwork produced by Susan Francis


SSR/LEH: How do you want your work to be perceived by an audience?

SF: I’m not sure it is necessary to put a pre-requisite on how others perceive my work. They will do so from wherever they find themselves at that moment.

Artwork produced by Susan Francis


SSR/LEH: Who are your biggest inspirations?

SF: Aside from other artists work, which is a huge inspiration of course, I am more inspired by certain individuals’ approach to their practice, to their interactions with other artists, particularly if they are also curators, to their commitment to building a better, more respectful working landscape for artists.

Artwork produced by Susan Francis


SSR/LEH: What are the main concepts or themes you explore within your work?

SF: Right now, I am looking at what it means to construct imagined futures with the material realities of the past, creating assemblages and installations that emerge from a lived experience in a culture of instability, fragmentation, and change. I am interested in how the profound and the surreal are interlaced with the ordinary and the everyday, and often create works which foreground this strangeness, utilising found objects, film footage, and familiar, low tech materials.

SSR/LEH: What is the main thing you have learnt through your creative practice?

SF: Having a practice that spans curating and exhibiting, being on both sides of the fence, on selection panels for commissions, as well as being the applicant, I fully understand that rejection does not necessarily reflect the quality of the work, but can simply mean that it is just not the right work in the right space, at the right time. Artists need to build resilience and have confidence in what they do.


SSR/LEH: Who is your work for? Yourself? A small community? A specific sector of society? Or is it for everyone?

SF: For myself and for those who share interest in the areas that my work revolves in. Few artists, if any, produce work which connects with everyone.

SSR/LEH: What is the best piece of advice you could give to another artist, or someone just starting out in the creative sector?

SF: Be true to yourself and be prepared to work very hard.

SSR/LEH: Why did you decide to join the Curating Futures community?

SF: I know how generative online, discursive projects such as these can be, they have a tendency to bring artists together from different backgrounds, different nationalities and at various points in their careers, all of which can be very fruitful.


You can find Susan Francis via her Instagram