Updated: Feb 12
'Artists cannot always please the viewer.'
Francien Krieg works full-time from her studio in the Netherlands. She has a fascination in painting the figures with a contemporary perspective, often employing unusual angles, and is fearless in showing the power and vulnerability of the human body.
Where is your current studio? What would be your dream studio?
My current studio is in my house, I have a space to work during wintertime of 25 m2 and in summer time I have a 100m2 studio at my house, my dream is to renovate this big space completely so I can work there full time. It has huge windows on the north so very stable light. Do you prefer to work in silence or does certain music inspire you?
That is different every time, mostly I listen to pop music, sometimes classical music, but always some powerful emotional music inspires me. Studio life can lead to isolation, how do you address this/ keep a balance?
I also give painting lessons so that is my way to stay in contact with people, and of course I have my family and friends. But I can be in isolation for a long time and not feel lonely at all, I think as an artist you should like to be alone or else this job is not for you I guess. Describe a moment you had an epiphany concerning your creative life.
It was during my artist in residency in New foundland Pouch cove Canada with the James Baird gallery. This time taught me an important lesson... After painting older women for more than 10 years I got so many reaction from people asking me to paint something more happy and light! So my goal in Canada was to explore more light subjects... After 1 month of working really hard I showed James Baird the results of what were in my eyes happy and light paintings... he called them melancholic… So I realized that is just what I am, a melancholic painter, better accept the nature of who you are and make that your own. What is your favorite/ least favorite part of the creative process?
The beginning is always the nicest, still everything is possible!
Do you have a personal mantra or quote which serves to motivate you?
Not really, but when I start a painting I tell myself it will be amazing! I need to feel good about myself when I start a work. How has your style evolved and what contributed to the changes?
My style evolved from very detailed and many layers to ala prima, and try to simplify as much as possible. Less is more, I learn every day, learning from colleagues, from the masters and from looking around in my daily life.
As an artist I think you should always try to improve yourself, and the only way to do that is to try new things, be open and critical to what you do. I think most artists, especially the good ones, they feel from time to time like they cannot paint at all. I think that is part of the process, to feel insecure about what you make so that you are not quickly satisfied and keep looking for different ways to express yourself in art. Describe an obstacle you have faced and how did you overcome it.
In the beginning of the pandemic and was suddenly without my older models... it gave space for new things, I started making self-portraits were I could reflect on the situation. The series is called : Life inside. It reads like a diary if I look back and recognize the stages of emotions I was in, and hopefully people can relate to these feelings and images.
Nature versus nurture- do you believe you have inherited abilities from creative parents, do you have creative siblings? Can you identify environmental factors or influences which led to your choices or directions?
I come from a very creative family so I am sure part of it is genetical, my father is a musician and a good painter as well, aunts also are musicians and active in arts. My brother has the genes of my mother and is not artistic at all.
I try to raise my children also to stimulate their creativity, my oldest son of 9 only likes to play outside and never likes my paintings or any art, my youngest son of 3 years old loves to paint and draw, so I have some hope he will develop his creativity. It is something that makes me very happy so I wish this also for my children, but if they decide to be a farmer that is fine to, as long as they are happy! Is there something you regard as essential to your preparation or process?
Cup of coffee is essential![ or 2]
I don’t believe in any magic, it is just getting up in time, work hard and making long days, that is what I believe works for me. Detail a moment which was the highlight for you, thus far.
I had so many highlights to be honest, difficult to pick one. The group exhibition from Poets and artists at the MEAM museum Barcelona last year on international Women’s day was amazing to be there! We were treated like rock stars, they showed so much respect to the artists, I cannot wait to be there again this coming march when my work is part of the Women’s day exhibition again.
If you could time travel, what advice would you give the younger you, regarding pursuing your artmaking?
I wish I had not listened to my painting teacher at art school who advised me to follow monumental art, I know now that I am really a painter. Also maybe I should have partied a little less when I was young, I started working more serious when I was in my late 20… On the other hand I don’t believe in regrets, it all made me the person I am today. How does your work respond to social trends?
I do not follow a trend I think... not even sure what the trend is at the moment? What do you hope to convey through your work?
I think we are all afraid to die. I think about it every day. But most people are scared to think about it and hide the feelings of the fear. I show ageing women , ageing people, [ I just can relate more to women that is why I choose to paint women and not man] to show that ageing is also part of life and it has great beauty in it...
Once you accept that you are ageing maybe we can embrace it more and be proud of it, of our wrinkles!