Women's History Month Artist Feature: Frances Tulk-Hart

Frances Tulk-Hart is an artist.  She is a photographer, an illustrator and she sings in the band Love Taps with her husband Rossi.  She is a Brit who moved to the US many moons ago and now has a funny accent that, some say, makes her sound Norwegian.  She is also a mum to two little girls who have completely changed her life.  (excerpt from her website bio)

Hope you enjoy this interview with her, we sure had a lot of fun!

Frances in her studio, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

Frances in her studio, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

What does a day in your creative process look like, sound like, feel like?

I love how you are covering all the senses for this question! I’m an artist and a mum so no two days are the same. So roughly this is my creative process…

It starts at 5 am which feels really hard! I have to use all my strength to not turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. Often I lose that battle and that doesn’t feel good. But my husband gets up then as well which helps. He is a carpenter by day, a damn fine one too! We both use that time for ourselves, our passion projects or reading, meditating etc before the madness of the day begins. I’m trying to write a book. I think it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do but I want to do it, really want to do it. I have stopped and started over the past two years, but I’m back on it right now. My husband brings me a cuppa tea as soon as I sit down to write, a smoky cup of Lapsang Sushong. I get an hour n half to write before I go and wake up my two girls for school. For the next couple of hours, it’s a whirlwind of breakfast, playing, clothes, teeth brushing etc. We listen mainly to Disney soundtracks on the way to school although recently the Rocky soundtrack has joined us too, singing them all at top volume. It’s an awesome way to start the day.  My eldest, Dotti, thinks her papa looks like Rocky so it’s Rocky this n Rocky that and do you think Rocky would ....!

If both girls are in school I drop them then race back home to squeeze in six hours of work on either photography or illustration or both.  Either working on projects or sending out emails. I have a room in our house that is my studio. It’s got so much light in it and is the warmest room. It gives me so much joy every time I walk in there. It’s so cosy I often squeal with excitement when I walk in. I make coffee when I get home then don’t really leave that room unless I have to. I get annoyed at being hungry and having to stop for lunch so it’s a quick one. At around 3:30 I leave to pick the girls up and for creativity that is when my day ends. Being a mum, being with my kids is just as important to me. It’s also a lot of work so from 3:30-8:30 it’s all about family. I go to bed at 8:30 to read and fall asleep, I need 8 hours of it.

When asked about your work, what projects are you most excited to share?

That changes all the time as the projects come and go. When I joined my new agency last year they asked me to make a book which ended up being one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on. It matched the style and feel of my website and helped me define my style. I’m working on a zine now, a sort of journal zine which is a lot of fun, and something that might become a regular thing if it all comes out as I hope. Recently I have started another personal project drawing baby elephants true to size.  I’m using inexpensive paper and crayons to do this in an attempt to shake up my mind a bit, work outside my comfort zone. My paintings are normally small and intricate so doing this is scary and liberating! One of them is going in a show in Newport at the end of the month. One other project of mine that both really excited and upset me is the one I continue to do called @2000taken. I started it in May as a protest to the children being separated at the border. I was so heartbroken by the news and knew I needed to say something. I taped a seven-foot by five-foot piece of paper to the wall, and for months got up at 4am to draw thirty kids a day on there. I uploaded my daily drawings to Instagram @2000taken along with either bits of news about what was happening at the border or my own experiences with my children. I wanted to cross political borders and reach out to people’s sense of empathy. By talking about my children, my experiences with them and what I would be missing if they too had been taken from me,  I hoped it would make people relate to what was happening at the border, it would keep those involved human, not just an immigration policy. I teamed up with Circle of Health, who help mothers and children at the border, to raise money for them. I drew a print, twenty copies of which were sold, all proceeds going to COH. iolabs without hesitation agreed to print them up free of charge, which was great.

Your project @2000taken truly gives me hope. The reality of the US immigration policy is heartbreaking and infuriating. How have these issues affect you as a mother? What are your intentions or hopes for this project? How many children have you drawn to date?

It has been life changing what happened at the border, how can it not be.  As a mother I felt like I could feel the real pain of the families being separated. Just imagining what that must feel like to have your babies ripped away from you, not knowing if you would see them again would often and still makes me cry. Being that the problem still persists, I am still drawing. The 5’x7’ paper is nearly full. I’m not totally sure how many children I have drawn now but it’s in the realm of 5000 plus.  I want to donate it to a museum or museums along with all the stories that were written with each Instagram post. I don’t want people to ever forget what happened here on these borders.  Let it never happen again in our future. The experience of doing the painting and being made aware every day of the awful stories at the border has made an indelible mark on me, as have my own children. I want to some how carry on helping children, I don’t know how perhaps by giving a percentage of proceeds of the sale of each painting to children charities or ideally set up my own charity.

Have your daughters started to form an interest in the arts? What ways do they impact your practice? Have you ever collaborated with them?

My two-year-old, Frankie, likes to pretend she is a photographer! An old film camera of mine that doesn’t work is in their playroom and she likes to “take photos” of me with it! Dotti, who is five, is a great drawer. She draws all the time.  We collaborate on drawings for their Papa’s bday or Valentine’s Day and then we did a collaboration a couple of months ago for a school project. It was to celebrate 100 days of school. So Dotti and I drew 100 children, 50 each.  She has been a part of the 2000taken project, always asking questions about what it is, she understands what is going on at the border and is always asking why and then checking that she and Frankie are ok and that Trump won’t take her away!   She is now also starting to ask to come on my shoots with me and is wanting to turn the camera on me after I photograph her…! They have been a huge part of my creative process as well. I spend so much time with them, I observe them, play with them which is all the necessary ingredients for a photo so I shoot them A LOT! They have taught me to slow down, to stop the rushing, they have brought me to their speed which is beautiful for my own happiness and for observing the world around us.  I don’t always succeed at staying stress-free/rush-free but I’m aware of it when I am and work hard to not be.

How and when did 5minuteswithfranny begin?

5 minutes with Franny began about six years ago. I was in India driving along a dusty road when the idea just popped into my head that I should photograph and interview some of these amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. I had been working in the fashion and photography industry for about fifteen years at this point.  I have always been inspired by the journeys people have taken to get where they are, and wanted to share those stories with everyone.  I got a friend to help design the website and then started reaching out to people. It is a lot of fun and allows me the freedom to do what I want to do creatively. 

Frances and Dotti, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

Frances and Dotti, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

When asked if there was anything else she’d like to share, Frances replied,

“Do it because you love it. Let it be about the contentment it brings you on a daily basis, not the accolades and recognition that you may or may not get.”

Thanks so much, Frances for sharing the behind the scenes of your process, and thanks all for reading! Stay tuned for future iolabs and Frances collaborations, and head on over to her show this month at Bowler Lane Projects in Newport.  The exhibition is open to the public. Opening night is March 30th, 6-9 pm.

Visit Frances’s website and instagram to see more of her work online!


FRAMES IN FOCUS: Panel Boxes

Close to ten years ago, iolabs began producing custom-made, hardwood Panel Boxes as a simplified yet sophisticated, contemporary, and ready-to-hang solution that really drew attention to the artwork, illustration, photograph, map, or design being showcased.

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Take the anxiety out of the process 

and allow the work to speak for itself. We offer a variety of stain options for the Panel Box edges, keeping it simple and effectively highlighting the artworks intention. 

Finishing options include natural colors such as White-Wash, Black Satin, Walnut, Golden Oak, and Driftwood. We also custom paint to order in Silver, Gold, or any specified available paint colors and finishes. Offering a variety of edge colorings and wood grain options allows Panel Boxes to complement the end environment they are hung in, ie matching wood or painted interior colors.   

 

Less is More

Unlike a traditional frame with glass, the Panel Box surface is your artwork, front and centered. The work is mounted flush with the surface of a custom wooden box handmade by our woodworker in any shape or size. Without glazing, frame molding, or glass, your image is able to speak for itself when mounted to a panel box.

Some nerdy details: Panel Boxes are made to order in custom sizes ranging from 2” x 2” up to 60” x 120.” Our standard panel box depth is 1.5”, but can range from 1.25” to 4.” Depending on the desired edge coloring (stained, painted or natural),  Panel Boxes are constructed from Maple, Oak, Clear fir or Poplar wood. Additional materials may include MDF, MDO, and finish-grade plywoods.

Options for added image surface protection are also available and include invisible lacquer, clear-coated finishes in matte, satin or luster, or museum-grade pearl film laminate. All of these protective surfaces allow gentle cleaning or dusting, and protection from moisture, fingerprints, and UV light.

 
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Ready-to-Hang

Small or large, panel boxes come equipped with wire, D-rings or cleated backs, depending on size, location, and wall types. Locking hardware can also be added to prevent panel boxes from being lifted or accidentally knocked from walls. 

And that’s a wrap! Literally, wouldn’t one of these make a pretty present for someone you love? 


MARCH EVENTS

We’ve curated a list of local art events, this month featuring primarily female artists. Tap the event titles for more information. Look forward to seeing you at some of these!

 

OUTSPOKEN: Expanded

The RI Center for Photographic Arts presents the work of nine women photographers,
curated by Marky Kauffmann. The work “explores and challenges ideas related to being female”.
March 21st - April 12th
Opening reception: March 21st, 5-9pm

HERA GALLERY 

Animation and Photographs from a Decadent World, Night by Mara Trachtenberg
In Conversations Uli Brahmst with Judy Spier
March 2nd - March 30th

IMAGO FOUNDATION

Migration, an exhibition of the work of Harriet Diamond and Sally Mavor
March 14th - April 21st
Opening reception: March 15th, 6pm

TREVA LINDSEY, visiting speaker

Dr. Lindsey will give a talk about the history of Title IX, and the ways in which we grapple with sexual discrimination. She is a “renowned scholar of critical race and gender theory, sexual politics, black feminist theory, women's history and popular culture”.
Friday March 15th, 7pm
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center/RISD Museum

WATSON INSTITUTE

Maré da Dentro: Life in Rio de Janeiro's Favela, a photo and film exhibit organized by Nicholas Barnes, photographs by Antonello Veneri, and produced by Henrique Gomes da Silva.
March 5th - May 5th
Stephan Rober ‘62 Hall, 2nd and 3rd Floors

Spring Film Series 2019: The Hyperwomen
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 7–9pm
Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

DAVID WINSTON BELL GALLERY

Recent Acquisitions: Photography and Abstraction
An exhibition of new additions to the gallery’s collection.
Artists showing include: Berenice Abbott, Tom Baril, Marilyn Bridges, Edward Burtynsky, Christiane Feser, Jed Fielding, Bill Jacobson, Lauren Henkin, Dorothy Norman, Gabriel Martinez, Aaron Siskind, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. 
January 19th - May 26th
ARTIST TALK: Bill Jacobson
Tuesday March 12th, 5:30pm

AS220 - ProvSlam

EVERY 1ST THURSDAY
6:00 pm: Free Youth Writing Workshop at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St.)
8:00 pm: Poetry Show at AS220 (115 Empire St.)

EVERY 3RD THURSDAY
6:00 pm: Free Youth Writing Workshop at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St.)
8:00 pm: Poetry Show at AS220 (115 Empire St.)

Bowler Lane Projects

An exhibition of work by Frances Tulk-Hart
Opening March 30th, 6-9pm
Newport, RI

RISD MUESUM

Meditative Mending, Christina Bevilacqua will be in the gallery mending and sewing well-loved clothing. Free with admission, all are welcome to bring supplies to sew and mend with her.
Saturday March 16th, 2-4pm

(159) Sutton Street Gallery

Monster Banners & Other Teaching Aids, illustrations by Walker Mettling
Open Gallery Hours: Sunday March 10, 17, 24, 31; 12-3pm
Tuesday March 26, 3-8pm
Tuesday April 9, 3-8pm

 
 

UPCOMING in April, iolabs will host fathom library!

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