Ian Francis - profile, contemporary art

Ian Francis

United Kingdom 1979

Illustration, Painting


Ian Francis
Ian Francis
United Kingdom
May 23, 2017

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.

Ian Francis - A Flock Of Birds Either Attack A Girl Or Try To Keep Her From Falling , 2012, mixed media
Ian Francis – A Flock Of Birds Either Attack A Girl Or Try To Keep Her From Falling , 2012

A Different Kind of Artist

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.

Ian Francis - Hunting Costume Accident, 2014, mixed media, contemporary art
Ian Francis – Hunting Costume Accident, 2014

Style of Ian Francis

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 - artwork from The Chosen Form of Your Destroyer exhibition at the Lazarides Gallery, 2015
Ian Francis – artwork from The Chosen Form of Your Destroyer exhibition at the Lazarides Gallery, 2015

The Chosen Form of Your Destroyer

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.

Ian Francis lives and works in Bristol, United Kingdom.

Featured image: Ian Francis portrait
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015The Chosen Form of Your DestroyerLazarides Rathbone Gallery, LondonSolo
2014Endless SummerThe Outsiders Gallery, Greek Street, LondonSolo
2014PULPLazarides Gallery, NewcastleGroup
2013Season 1, Episode 0Joshua Liner Gallery, New YorkSolo
201210,000 years from nowLazarides Gallery - Rathbone Place, LondonSolo
2012Summer Group Exhibition 2012Joshua Liner Gallery, New YorkGroup
2012BedlamLazarides Gallery, The Old Vic Tunnels, LondonGroup
2011FirelandJoshua Liner Gallery, New YorkSolo
2011The minotaurLazarides Gallery, The Old Vic Tunnels, LondonGroup
2011Summer Group ExhibitionJoshua Liner Gallery, New YorkGroup
2010ExodusLazarides Gallery - Rathbone Place, LondonSolo
2010Hell's Half AcreLazarides Gallery, The Old Vic Tunnels, LondonGroup
2009Ian Francis: New WorksMTV Gallery Space, Sydney with Kinsey - DesForgesSolo
2008Together ForeverKinsey - DesForges, Los AngelesSolo
2008The OutsidersLazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2008The Outsiders Lazarides Gallery, LondonGroup
2008NEXT Chicago Art FairChicagoGroup
2007Super Coma FantasyBLK - MRKT Gallery, Los AngelesSolo
2007The Outsiders Inaugural OpeningLazarides Gallery, NewcastleGroup
2007Art Basel Miami, Red Dot BLK - MRKT GalleryGroup
2007BMG Artists’ Annual 07BLK - MRKT Gallery, Los AngelesGroup