“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” Henry David Thoreau
The Rower by Fran Forman
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I was a kid who was always drawing (I had no other talents, alas!), but when the 60s came, I – like so many others of my generation – got caught up in the desire and necessity to change the world. I gave up my art, majored in sociology, and then got an MSW and worked for several years in a drug treatment center. But I was called back to art, and after several years trying to understand what that meant and how to try to support myself, I got an MFA in graphic design. My love of image-making – through drawing and photography found its way into my design work.
Mélies’ Dream by Fran Forman
I read about your connection with your grandmothers past and to the paintings of Marc Chagall.
Do you feel your art as a way connecting the past to the future?
Absolutely! I inherited a treasure-trove of old photos from my parents, films from the 20s, and family stories. In working with these ancient family images, I clearly see the physical similarities to my own kids, and that has helped me appreciate the continuum that we’re all part of, the connections to those who have come before us, and, as Duane Michals has said, “the non-linearity of time”.
How do you go about from inspiration to a finished work of art?
With great difficulty! My inspirations come from all sorts of things: a piece of music, a piece of art I find somewhere, a landscape, a friend, my companion animals, an interesting portrait. When I begin to work, I let the images take over. It’s an intuitive process, and the final piece always surprises me, in that it always changes from the initial conception. Creating an image is as much about subtraction as addition…removing what is unnecessary.
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative fog? Or when nothing seems to be working?
I’m often in that state, sadly. But I try to work every day – even if it’s just answering emails, looking at the work of other artists, cutting out backgrounds of images, and maybe getting an image ready for some future use. Of course, I could always do a load of laundry, go to the super market, take the dog for a walk…lots of opportunities for procrastination.
Carousel Escape by Fran Forman
What is an ideal day for you?
My ideal day is when I’m working on an image and I lose myself in it completely. Time just flies by and I’m totally focused. Someone called it ‘being in the zone’. It doesn’t happen often enough, but I relish those moments – hours – days.
Which photographers and other artist work do admire?
Too many to mention! When I was starting out, I admired Joseph Cornell, Duane Michals, Jerry Uelsmann, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and the Pictorialists of the early 20th century. I love the colors of the Fauvists and the rich colors and textures of Rothko. These days, it’s easy to find fabulous art on the web, and I seem to be particularly drawn to surrealist painters and photographers from the former Soviet Union.
How does your art effect the way you view the world?
I’ll posit the opposite: that the way I view the world effects the images I make. I see the world as an infinite series of connections, spanning time, generations, species, technologies, and it’s these relationships that inform my work.
As for your question – ‘how does my art effect the way I view the world’…I don’t know, but I definitely pay more attention to light, color, shadows, textures and patterns. And I’m impressed with the raw talent that I discover every day, and the community of amazing artists whom I’ve met along the way.
If no one else saw your work would you still create it?
Yes, it’s like a tic…an obsession. Even before I thought about a career in art, I made pictures. Just look at the margins of my old schoolbooks and papers – doodles, drawings, sketches.
Can you tell us about your recent work, what it means to you and what you hope the viewer takes from it?
I never want to tell the viewer what to think, but I do hope they stop and look at an image, think about it, interpret it in a way that’s meaningful to him or her. And if they laugh or smile or feel anything at all, then I’m glad. And if they feel slightly more connected to their past, to their environment, to the other species with whom we share this planet – then I’m particularly glad.
Thank you Fran for sharing your work and words.
To learn more about Fran Forman please visit her site at Fran Forman.