Fran Giffard is an artist whose works have a distinctly original medium: her vibrant watercolour and aquarelle paintings of birds fill the used pages of Moleskine diaries. Presenting a glimpse of the artist’s daily life, brief diary entries – shopping lists, personal reminders, day schedules – can be read alongside the brilliantly coloured images of wildlife, making Fran’s work unforgettably unique.
She says it all started almost accidently one Christmas, when she received a Moleskine sketchbook as a present. Worried by the thought of ruining the luxurious pages, she decided to practise on her Moleskin diary, as the pages were similar in texture and had the same natural fluidity as a sketchbook. She began drawing, and her characteristic style was born.
Fran often undertakes commissions from people who request an artwork on a specific date of a diary page. This chosen date could be a birthday, an anniversary, or the National Day of a particular country: typically something important to the individual. Fran says her work certainly taps into sentimentality around special days of the year because of the medium she works on.
Based in South London, Fran normally works from books and photographic material of wildlife, as much of her subject matter comprises of tropical birds that do not inhabit the British Isles. However, during a recent trip to Reunion Island, she was able to get up close to such birds and draw from direct observation. She chooses a particular species according to the size available on a double page spread of an old diary
With every piece she creates, Fran tries to impart her distinctive creative style to all her paintings. Commissioning an artwork on something as imaginative as a diary page creates something both aesthetic and personalised to the individual.
Interviewed by Jess Baxter
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