Francis Joseph, 20, is an up and coming artist whose unique drawing ability has catapulted him from drawing for just friends, to illustrating album covers for MC’s. His story includes: struggling at school with his studies but realising he possesses a hidden talent for art – which he believes is a “God given talent” – he now has his work sold in Oxford Street.
1) Why do you draw and why is it important to you?
I draw because I feel that I have a natural affinity with art; drawing is like second nature to me. Give me a pen and paper, and I’m just going to have to start doodling. I’ve always been a terrible student academically, even since primary school. I just thank God my parents were so supportive. It seemed the only subject that really grabbbed me and I was good at was art; since I was young it was the only way I could honestly express myself.
I think I have an overactive mind of which my wild imagination is fuel, you can see it with the drawings I come up with, some good, some bad, bad as in I would get in trouble at class for drawing them…
2) Does your art have any particular message?
It depends, I tend to just freestyle, I’ll draw an object, an animal or a person and quite often, a sentence or word. Depending on how it comes out, I get an idea of what to add to it and it just comes together naturally.
3) Which artists inspire you?
I cant list them all, mainly comic book artists and Japanese comic cartoonists (Mangakas) like: Mike Mignola, Jim Lee, and my personal favourite- Yoshirio Togashi. I love his dark style and line work, it really inspires me. I try not to let my inspirations influence my work too much visually, I try and keep my own style so you know its my work straight away.
4) Do you have anything big planned at the moment?
I have quiet a lot of plans lined up at the moment, my art is up for display at Urban Outfitters in Oxford Street, my piece ”Was it All a Dream?!” is being sold as a limited print of 100 copies. I plan to draw about 20 new pieces at least before the end of the year.
I’m working on some Illustrations for musicians to use for album/mixtape work. I’ve finished art for east London rapper Kaos’s follow up mixtape to Heir to the Throne and recently finished illustrating album cover art for Margers release KushWave the Album coming out soon.
I’m continuing to develop a story I began two years back, I plan to create a comic out of it called “Sirius the Wishing Star”, this is a comic I want to start drawing out from once I’ve graduated.
Also, I’m starting up my own clothing label, fusing my art with clothing, Im aiming to launch it before the year ends, this is something I’m really excited about.
5) Do you work from imagination or life experiences?
Everything I work on is from my imagination, its all pure fantasy.
6) You seem to draw the same girl in many of your pictures, who is she or what does she represent?
Beauty. But also, what is hidden behind the beauty! Looks can be deceiving and the women in my drawings may seem beautiful but they hide there true selfs inside. I like to show strong women who are at the same time beautiful, my piece “She’s Coming” is the best example of that…
7) Does any of your art have a deeper meaning?
Yes, each of my work has a distinct narrative. Usually, I add a phrase or simply a word and that becomes the theme of that particular piece. What brings all of my pieces together is the style, I’d say my work is a bit dark and as such they all link all my separate pieces together. It’s a matter of how people interpret it, I’ll have work up and people will come up with different ideas of what it means to them, its really interesting!
8)Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
I see myself just living life to its fullest, with my wonderful family, my amazing girlfriend and closest friends, I want to be able to have a biillion reasons to be happy and smile. Work wise, I see my art being successful, and all of my future projects to be running smoothly. I plan for my clothing line to be running smoothly and my comic to be published. I want to do a lot of charity work too !
by Omar Shahid
Follow me on Twitter: Omar Shahid