Frances Swigart has been creating art for 40 years and it continues to be her all-consuming passion. She is an artist to the core — it’s even in her blood. When her father first visited her studio, he noticed that Frances was using a very similar press to the one his own father had in his studio. They had never known each other, but Frances and her grandfather both coincidentally chose to work in the same medium. We sat down with Frances to ask her some questions about her creative process.
Describe your art in three words.
Elegant. Timeless. Archival.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
New Orleans is where people of different concepts meet. These meetings create energy without formulas. The City supports creativity as it nurtures individuality.
My home is in the French Quarter. I enjoy walking and absorbing the sights and sounds of my neighborhood and the Mississippi river.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
Each piece does have a rite of passage, a journey.
With tools and materials that are familiar to me, I challenge myself to create a new path to a yet-uncreated place. I start impulsively. Soon resolutions start appearing. What I judged unacceptable resolves itself into something satisfactory.
It is like the mythical journey into the underworld. The work speaks to me and brings me to the other side.
Where do you draw inspiration?
From great artistic masters such as Rembrandt.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Sadie Irvine and Jim Steg, both academic mentors.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Classic, Jazz, Blues.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Walking the river near the Quarter, sitting in the sunshine, gardening (“earthing”) in my patio with my cat.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I like to sing.
To see more of Frances’ etchings and prints, visit her Where Y’Art profile.