Mike Francis already produced 5000 artworks since he took a pencil for the first time at the age of 6, and still working.
As an Interior Designer, it is my love of art that guides me in the task of helping my readers and clients find the best color plans and designs for their lives. To me, Art and Design are parts of the same equation, and the road to striking that balance, for me, began the day I first took a pencil and started sketching.
Today, I strive to go beyond trends and design layouts that present themselves as works of art, and in that pursuit, I have kept myself appraised of many painters, including the work of an amazing contemporary: Mike Francis.
This hyperrealist British painter started his career as a commercial illustrator in Soho and Hatton Garden through the late ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s. Later on, he became a freelance artist with the Treadwell Gallery from 1974-1990, and then his latest paintings and shows with Whitford Fine Art, Messums, and Plus One.
Mike Francis is clearly influenced by his previous work as a commercial illustrator, but taking on a more imaginary approach. Mixing natural landscapes with elements of the urban as the backdrop for his subjects, the artist creates a narrative that viewers are invited to interpret and add to. His works blur the boundary between the real and the imaginary, to the point where they become indistinguishable.
Many of the pieces, both in oil and acrylic on canvas, concentrate on Francis's large-scale landscape, pool, and beach scenes. Often including a prominent female figure accompanied by a dog, many of his compositions possess a distinctive summer feel and remain vibrant in color and narrative. Some of his creations bare a resemblance to 1950s postcards, again highlighting how he combines styles from his commercial illustrator past with techniques more in tune with hyperrealism.
But those paintings are also tenderly observed studies: balancing on skyscraper heals, a young lady adjusts her shoe, a fragile young girl seems to drift ghost–like across a misty pond; a couple resigned to the background appear peaceful and contained, both entirely involved in their thoughts. These are the scenes of everyday life, as varied as the work from which Mike Francis draws his inspiration.