Destinations London: In Conversation With Frankie Strand

Destinations London: In Conversation With Frankie Strand

Destinations London, the heartbeat of the UK, a unique cultural hotspot that lives and breathes fashion from every corner of the city. This is one city that has many undertones, whether it be fashion, sport or food and drink. We delve deeper into the cultural side of London, collaborating with Frankie Strand as she discusses the London street art scene.

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Taking it back to the beginning and to give a little context on her street work we kick off our ‘In Conversation With’ from where it all started for Frankie.

Where did it all start? Was art and design a big thing for you in school?

My art teacher saw my sketch books, they recognised I liked illustration and showed me artists that were relevant to me. I had always followed street art blogs and I had some friends that were into it, so I began by going out to abandoned buildings to have a go at painting.

Where did you create your first piece of street art?Ā 

The first pieces of street art I created would have been in Leicester. My friend Jack Osbourne is also an artist and he did a lot of re-pastes, when you draw something on wallpaper and paste it up. Like you would with wallpapering the street, so that was my first introduction to street art. After that was when I first started painting myself, there was something so freeing about it. I would spend the day making art and I loved it.

What is it about street art/urban art that really excites you?

It’s just there for people to see, it doesn’t necessarily have a big motive behind it. It is sort of art for arts sake, which I really like about it.

What do you use to create your street art?

Spray paint, it’s easy, quick and immediate. You can get quite a lot of effects that are quite effortless in comparison to with a brush which may take you a long time to blend something.

Your work features primarily exotic animals, what’s influenced this for you?

There is a couple of factors, one being that I used to go to museums and sketch specimens a lot, I was really drawn to lizards in jars. I love the scales and developed quite a good understanding of their anatomy. It was also a good excuse to use colour in my designs. I didn’t just want to paint brown furry creatures, I wanted to be doing turquoise, pink and green animals. I also love flamingos for there long necks and I feel there character has a lot of movement within it.

Can you tell us about any other art you create?Ā 

I started working with jesmonite as a new way of making stuff and then I learned to weld to sort of pair with that, so I could make metal frames and it was really interesting seeing my eye for colour. The aesthetic, I just appreciate feeding into such different form. It’s been really fun to try new avenues of working.

A lot of communities and industries are seen to be male dominated. Is this true of the arts community that you are a part of?

There are a lot of female street artists but it’s definitely a male-dominated scene and i’m not sure why that is exactly. Personally I have probably benefitted from being female in the industry because its almost shone a spotlight on me

What places in London inspire you?

Most recently I have done a few short quotes that I found inspiring. Especially since the lockdowns, I’ve wanted people to be out in the street and see something that cheers them up. There is one with a Virginia Wolf quote which states ‘This has to be lived, I say to myself’, which I thought was nice as we’ve just got to carry on with this difficult time in our lives.

I also feel like I’ve had a spiritual top up, if I go to a gallery and see an exhibition, learning all about a certain artist. I go away and feel a little bit better inside. Exhibitions at the Tate such as Dorothea Tanning, Dora Maar were really good. Just hearing about all these creatives and how they inspired each other it’s so life affirming and motivating. I feel so blessed to live in London and have access to all these art exhibitions.

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