Fran Baker – Meet Our Designing Artists
“Don’t stop. You don’t have to be a genius to be an artist, you just have to keep doing art.”
The first designer to collaborate with PM Artist Studio stencil design was Fran Baker, who lives in a 400-year-old house in Colchester, England. Along with Fran and her art supplies, the house (which Fran says is ‘falling apart), includes her border collie, Rufus, and husband, Ian, who helps supply Fran with occasional treasures.
Fran’s father wanted to pursue a career in art but was dissuaded by a career counselor who told him there was ‘no future’ in art and he should be a librarian. And that he did, but always created art including stop-motion films with handmade scenery and models. Her father’s altered career plans encouraged Fran to never stop creating art, dabbling in nearly all mediums including oils, acrylics, watercolor, clays, pottery, glass, wire work, silver metal clay, metals of all sorts, charcoal, beads, fibers and anything she happens upon that inspires her.
Fran’s education includes ‘normal school art,’ a stint in the army, membership in multiple art clubs, taking courses and once her children were older, she had the opportunity to return to college. She then went on to university to earn a degree in Animation.
Mixed media in Fran’s vocabulary draws on all of the mediums she has used, but anything she finds interesting. A twig from the garden, a bit of old lead solder, rusty old iron, and quite literally, ANYTHING, that her artistic eye might spot. Inspiration is drawn from the world around her, fellow artists, and even a cereal packet. “Anything if you remain open to it,” is Fran’s description of inspiration.
She is also inspired by Van Gogh, Picasso, Dada, Turner, her father, her Uncle Bill, Patricia Cline Carmichael, Violet Johnson, and all of you, the members of Makers. She uses many of the stencils from PM artist Studio, with Cellular Membrance and Patricia’s latest Frankenstencil being two of her favorites.
Fran’s most creative hours are from 7 pm to 5 am, where you will find her in a ‘temporary’ studio in a cramped sitting room while her larger space is rehabbed.
You can find Fran on YouTube at Fran OnTheEdge, also known as Mad Frankie who with her sidekick “Igor” (aka Violet Johnson) are the Mad Scientists. Fran’s humor, Violet’s commentary, and their free-wheeling style will brighten your day and inspire you to enjoy art unleashed. Her 16 original stencil designs are available for purchase right here in the shop!
Interviewed and Written by: Anne Lawver