Frances Berry is a photographer, painter, and collage artist in Memphis, Tennessee. Her work has appeared at the 2014 Biennial Roadshow in Marfa, Texas, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, as well as galleries around Memphis.
How do you feel about an artist's relationship to their surroundings?
One of my mother's favorite sayings was, "Bloom where you're planted," and I pretty much try to abide by this. I will not deny that my surroundings do impact me; however, I recognize that there is only so much that I have control over, and I try to carve out an environment conducive for my own creative practice regardless of where I am.
How do you choose your subjects?
I'm not sure that I ever made any sort of conscious decision about my subject matter. There are just certain things always come back to time and time again and these are the things I have chosen to fixate on.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
I had the good fortune of growing up in a home where creativity was nurtured and encouraged. My mother is and will always be my biggest influence. She went back to college to finish her BFA when I was nine and I spent many afternoons doing my homework quietly in the corner of whatever class that she had that day. It was during this time that I became truly aware of my desire to become an artist.
Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of? What opportunities are there for artists like yourself in your area?
When I first moved to Memphis I felt like I was in a creative desert. I enrolled in graduate school at Memphis College of Art January 2013, and everything changed. I had the good fortune of attending this school at the same time as so many other talented artists. It was in the following 2 1/2 years that I became the artist that I am today, and I finally began to call Memphis home. I wouldn't say that Memphis is necessarily bursting at the seams with artistic opportunities in any sort of traditional sense; however, it is a city that is in the middle of completely reinventing itself and is constantly seeking new and creative ways to do so.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
Yes, but in the same way that I feel satisfied after a meal. I might feel as though I never want to eat again however I know that this is irrational and that my hunger cannot be satiated for long.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
As usual I'm juggling many things. Guest room art work for a boutique hotel in Nashville... Album art for a band called cruel youth.... And of course the usual commissions... Whatever pays the bills, I'm on board.