Interview by JiJJy Maison for Ebonyx
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Francilla, tell us a little about your brand?
Zions-i is an Art and Design brand which produce fine art originals, limited edition Giclee prints, greeting cards, jewellery and clothing. Designs are inspired by combining Afrocentric History and science. Completed by hand to high standard. Our designs are enriched with creativity, beauty and subliminal message of empowerment.
The current two collections titled Genesis Timelines and Maps and In the Beginning there was Black offer an unique vision of world history, taking the viewer on a creative visual journey through different space and time dimensions. Starting with our very distant subatomic past.
Your art, is itself taught or learnt at college or university? If it is self-taught when did you start?
I come from a fashion and textiles background originally, though I've always had a natural artistic ability. I grew up creating portraits for friends and family. However, it wasn't until 2009 I decided to get serious about art and enrolled as mature student for a Fine Art degree at Kingston University Upon Thames.
The course focused heavily on critical analysis, art exploration and experimentation - encouraging students to find your creative voice and style through those means. I realised very early on that I wanted my art practice to concentrate on the African diaspora.
What inspired you to start creating art?
I have had a few first inspirations into creating art.
In 1999 we took a 7 week family holiday to St Lucia where we met our mum's mother for the first time. I had never been to the Caribbean before this so I was amazed by the vivid colours, rich landscape and culture of the island. Imagine they have electric blue coloured bees out there! So scenes like this together with our discovery of our family heritage definitely sparked my desire to capture beauty and identity onto canvas.
This idea was re-enforced by the first art project assigned at University. I began to envisage providing the Africa diaspora a sort of 'One Stop Shop ' to Afro history and Identity. Back then I believed the problems of a 'lost' people would be relieved with a map demonstrating where you have come from and how you got to where you are now.
Another motivator was my dissatisfaction, frustration and confusion with conflicting Eurocentric accounts of African history. The notion Africa had no history before slavery, or little contribution to human advancement made me feel cheated. And to top, Art history lectures included no black art masters or movements due to centuries of enforced slavery, Insult was added to injury with academic claim that the Great Pyramids couldn't possibly have been built by Black people - even aliens were considered more serious contenders. I felt compelled to do something.
Would you say your art is contemporary / modern art or other?
I would say I'm a contemporary artist. My developing style is colourful detailed graphics with ethereal elements.
You had a new project called Genesis Timeline and Maps, is this all done already or still on going and what is it about?
In reality, Genesis Timelines and Maps is likely to take years to complete. The aim to give an artistic 'one stop shop' of African history has taken my work on a journey which includes spiritually, quantum mechanics, anthropology, world economics and the esoteric. It is both a joy and challenge to to create work that is inspired by historical and scientific fact.
I feel you are an all-round artist; you sculpt as well? If yes, does your art of sculpting come from the same inspiration as your painting
Thank you I appreciate that. Yes it does, the clay work which I am developing, I see as three dimensional extension of my paintings.
As an artist what mediums do you use that are unique to you? Are the mediums different for your sculpturing and your painting?
I like to experiment with different art forms. I discovered photogram- photography technique whilst at university and thought it a fantastic medium to capture the ethereal quality to my art. I also recently took a course in photo etching, a technique which involves burning acid into metal plates to achieve unique print effects.
I'm probably known best for my work in acrylics. Acrylic paint dries very quickly so allows me to work with many colours at the same time, which suited the vast colour ranges in my art, though, I am currently creating new work in oils - it dries much slower but I love the extra layer of depth this medium provides.
Let's talk about your paintings. I have to admit I was not into contemporary art, but I am lured in. Your piece, “The First Woman'', reels me in. What is the story behind or your inspiration behind it.
Using Chapter 1, verses 1 to 31 of the book of Genesis as a lose framework of historical world events combined with the Human Genome Project research into Mitochondrial DNA. I created The First Women painting to visually identify the ancestral mother of all humans, as an African woman.
This divine creation steps out from heaven straight onto a newly formed earth, her mission and power -to create life. She is fully focused and aware. I wanted all African heritage women to recognise part of themselves in her.
Her partner, The First Man is her complete equal, they balance each other, their strength is their unity.
I hope I am not wrong but I also feel people will love to know you’re a little about your two painting, “The big bang- creation" and “black holes and molecules”, were you inspired by the science of creation?
The Big Bang - Creation, visualises the instant God created the Universe. The original acrylic on canvas painting is approximately 1 X 1.5 metres - it's very vibrant and detailed.
Once I completed the painting it occurred that when you section areas of the painting, these focus points become artworks in their own right.
Blackholes and Molecules along with Energies, The Choir, Stars in Motion, Family and Mankinray are actually enlarged sections of The Big Bang - Creation reproduced as giclee limited editions and greeting cards.
Ultimately these works together show how sound energy synthesises fundamental forces and subatomic particles of matter. The different tones and frequencies created by the ether, organise these forces and particles into scared geometric shapes from which all other geometric forms emerge. Which is reflective of the science of creation.
Among your pieces do you have a few that only a small number have been created and therefore limited edition?
The Big Bang Creation and the sections mentioned above
First Man & First Woman and Beauty Within are available as limited edition Giclee print of 9 -25 they come with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity.
I recently exhibited new work two monochrome graphics Sirius B Simple Mathematics Black Line on White and Inverted shown in Can't Stop Our Flow Virtual Art Exhibition these are also editions.
I will be revealing new art work early Spring and will be launching Zions-i fashion label, which is a fusion of urban chic street wear.
Which piece did you enjoy creating the most and what message are you sending to us with that piece?
I enjoy creating all my work though, painting Beauty Within was particularly enjoyable since it was based on a photograph of myself on holiday.
I wanted to convey that our cosmic essence is our true beauty and treasure.
How would you like your art to make your audience or clients feel?
Uplifted.... Inspired.... Motivated. The intricate works I create definitely give a positive energy bringing a good vibe to any room.
My art has been described as rich, beautiful and inspirational. Hopefully they give continuous benefit including increased financial value over time.
Do you have a favourite funny quote you would like to share with us?
'You never know where you're going until you know where you are coming from.'
Interview by JiJJY Maison