Meet the Maker - Anna Francis

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Ever looked a map and marvelled at the lines and structure of this land?  Well, local artist Anna Francis does just that.  Using old Ordinance Survey maps, Anna produces colourful graphic  illustrations of well known and off the beaten track areas of the Country.  We recently chatted to Anna about her inspirations and her love of music...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
I’m Anna and I’ve lived in Bristol for 17 years. I originally trained as a photographer but now work as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator. The maps began life as stencils may years ago, appearing on fridge doors and car bonnets. I never really expected to go on to illustrate so many different places, and for the maps to become so popular, I’m really chuffed.

Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
Lots of walking, seeing my friends, being outdoors with my son and boyfriend, eating and seeing bands. I love music and am quite obsessed with Bill Callahan, Nick Cave and John Grant. My number one job would to be a musician.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always enjoyed the creative process since I can remember. My Mum was an art teacher so I was always encouraged to paint and draw. My Grandad was an artist and I have very fond memories of him taking me outdoors to sketch buildings and landscapes when I was little. Art was my favourite subject at school.

Where does your inspiration come from? 
People often suggest new areas they’d like to see as a map illustration. I also think back to places I’ve visited in the past, it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming to think of all the places I could illustrate.

Describe your studio or workspace? 
A tiny space under the stairs in our dining room, I’m pretty small so it just about works...
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman, who would it be?
Peter Blake or Patti Smith/Robert Mapplethorpe.

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
A wind-up toy mouse that does backward somersaults, I think he’s about 90. A lovely Christmas present from my boyfriend.
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
I always have a backlog of illustrations in my head, and a huge pile of maps sitting in the corner, so I haven’t found myself in a rut yet!
The Thames Estuary
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
It would be amazing to have my own studio, and to have the funds to make gigantic maps the size of buildings.

Thank you Anna!  Such a great interview, and great music taste!  You can find Anna's work in our Made in Britain shop and soon in our festive shrine to good design, our Christmas Design Temporium at the Architecture Centre.

Made in Britain
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus

Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

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