Diana Francis, British fine artist, illustrator and graphic designer is one of the many brilliant artists collaborating with Elephant Parade. Today, she joins us so we can get to know her a little bit better!
Who are you, Diana Francis?
I'm a British fine artist, illustrator and graphic designer. I'm originally from London, but I've lived in Asia for 25 years and am a proud mum of 3, 1 son and 2 daughters. For 15 years, I worked in advertising as an art director before I went back to my fine art roots, and now have my own art gallery/ design studio in Holland Village where I work on commissions for private and corporate clients. For my fine art, I work in the traditional medium of oil on canvas. My works are on permanent display at Changi Airport Terminal 3, at the SATS Lounge. I've also worked with National Heritage Board of Singapore, have my works displayed at Grand Park City Hall and exhibited my gallery at the Affordable Art Fair in November. The inspiration in my art is Asian heritage, especially that of Singapore's, which has a stunning Peranakan history. In 2008, I won an Olympic medal representing the UK at the Beijing Olympics for Fine Art.
Who is your style icon?
Tough one, it depends on my mood. I have to say I love the old Sex In The City TV show and Carrie Bradshaw always epitomised 'style' to me. Boho chic, sexy and cool. Audrey Hepburn too of course! One of the greatest style icons of our time.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get my inspiration from colour, which comes through so strongly in Singapore due to the tropical sun, and the Peranakan heritage of Singapore is simply stunning in its kaleidoscope of colours, seen on architecture, clothing and in the local foods. The Asian spices inspire my taste, the heritage inspires me visually and the heat inspires my senses. In a nutshell, where I live inspires my creativity.
What is your beauty routine?
Moisturiser with SPF 15. SPF being most important as the sun in the tropics really can affect and damage our skin (especially western skin). A good gentle foundation with SPF, subtle make-up (due to the heat here) and clear lip gloss with SPF. When evening comes, it’s a natural make-up remover and a decent night cream, as air-con can also really dry our skin out at night.
How did you learn about Elephant Parade?
After working as a fine artist for quite some time in Singapore I was approached by the Netherlands Investment Agency (NFIA) who commissioned me to paint an elephant! I didn't quite know what to expect from this request, but as I learnt about Elephant Parade, a business of applying fine art to fun, full size baby fibreglass elephants to install all over a city, which raises funds and awareness for a serious cause (that of Asian elephant conservation), I fell in love with it. I’ve been very happy for the past 5 years to be part of Elephant Parade significantly as I've designed over 35 elephants for Elephant Parade and organised and managed their parade in Hong Kong in 2014.
Where did your design inspiration for Colour Me Beautiful come from?
My inspiration for Colour Me Beautiful came from my love of colour, which really makes this world we live in a beautiful place if we can open our eyes. I travel a lot and will never cease to be amazed at what inspiration can be drawn from the countries and places I've been lucky enough to visit. The world is full of hues and shades, be it cities, people or nature. Apply colour to ourselves, and we colour ourselves beautiful too. Thus, the inspiration behind my elephant, Colour Me Beautiful.
What other social/charitable causes are you passionate about?
I'm very passionate about animal conservation in general. In addition to supporting the Asian elephant with Elephant Parade, I also work closely with Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF) at the Singapore Zoos to raise funds and awareness for local Singapore wildlife (such as the Pangolin, Fresh Water Crabs and Hornbills, to name but a few unsung local heroes), I design some of their merchandise for retail. I'm also now developing a project to protect rhinos globally, to launch sometime in 2017. For the community, I auction a lot of my paintings for Caring For Cambodia, Riding For The Disabled & UNIFEM as I find these are very worthwhile causes.
What is your wish for 2016?
To keep doing what I do with passion – more elephants please! More WRSCF projects to build awareness for local wildlife, more fine art to share at the Affordable Art Fair in November this year, along of course with a balance of personal time with my family, friends. And travel, travel and more travel when I can.