FRENCHIE AND HER LADIES
Empowerment, body positivity, feminism. These words stand perfectly in line with International Women’s Day which we celebrate every year on 8 March. At Casa, diversity and inclusiveness is a very important topic. That’s why Fransje Calf’s work caught our eye. Naked, colourful women’s bodies with a funky vibe.
From craft works to naked women
Fransje is the power woman behind the creative studio By Frenchie. In March, she will exhibit her body-positive art at Casa for 3 weeks. Read more about Fransje and her art.
Fransje: “I love the fact that for 2 years now, I have been able to honour the female body with By Frenchie with lot’s of colour. I am proud that people find me more and more these days, contributing a little to (individual) women empowerment every time. I have always loved all kinds of ‘crafting’. As a child, this was a way to unwind in my own little fantasy world. I often would retreat and remember that this was often in the company of markers, paints, craft books and mandalas. Painting naked women came a lot later! Why I started doing this is actually simple: I love the round shapes, the physical strength and the infinite diversity of women. And – not so – secretly I also love buttocks.”
What do you want to portray with your work?
“Often, I work on lovely assignments, but also have a number of permanent works in my collection, which I make in different colour combinations. When I paint on assignment, this is a very personal process for me and for the person requesting the work. With my paintings, I want to show that every body is a unique work of art. We can all be so critical of ourselves when we look in the mirror. But seeing our bodies reflected in a colourful, funky work of art will surely makes us feel insanely proud and hopefully encourages physical self-acceptance. Even in that mirror. How honourable is it if I can have a small part in that?”
Why is empowerment so important to you?
“We could all become more aware about feminist issues and overall inequality. Let’s strive together to take steps forward, in whatever form you like. After all, being a feminist doesn’t always have to be activistic. It can also live purely within yourself. My own vision is mainly about more equality and I see this in many parts of my life. Such like in my interests, environment, work and, of course, my art.”
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“As far as I am concerned, this day gives a lot of space to reflect on the fact that an International Women’s Day is truly necessary. If you are in favour of opportunity equality and equal rights across all genders, this is a great day to see how you can contribute to it in your own way. And of course it’s a nice day to extra celebrate being (and feeling like) a woman!”
How do you feel about the ‘shocking effect’ on naked women’s bodies?
“Well, many people are shocked by naked bodies indeed. But I would like to normalise the portrayal of naked women with my work, without sexualising the body. I often see male artists portraying women’s bodies and usually I find it beautiful, but for me the emphasis is still too much on sex. Even on social media, this association is common and I cannot promote my work because it shows women’s nipples. PAINTED women’s nipples! For me, feminism is about normalising, not shocking. It literally means striving for equal rights for women and men. That should not be very unrealistic right? For those who find ‘feminism’ a shocking term, I would like to say: get over yourself and join us in a way that fits you!”
Draw yourself as you were a French girl
Why is your work typically Frenchie?
“Pastels hug my eyes every time I see them. I really have a huge colour crush and find colour extremely important – always and everywhere. Colours have a great effect on the brain, emotions and in everyday life. You might notice the beige, nude and natural trend around you right now; I personally don’t get very excited about that. Colours cannot be bright enough for me. Making the combo between funky colours and women’s bodies are really a case of preference and taste. Nice and playful and not too serious, just like me!”
On 11 March, you will host a painting workshop at Hotel Casa. What feeling do you want to pass on to participants?
“For me, it is important that before, during and after the workshop we can have good, personal conversations about our experiences of feeling female. This in relation to emancipation and experiencing inequality. I think it would be great to have these conversations while everyone draws their own body on the canvas. This way, we consciously and unconsciously work on self-acceptance, confidence and creative freedom. Making a painting à la Frenchie is more accessible than you might think. I divide my workshop into small steps, so no one feels overwhelmed and will feel no creative pressure. Just us and some pretty pastels.”
Want your own By Frenchie artwork on your wall? Join the By Frenchie Art Workshop at Casa on 11 March and celebrate yourself in the most beautiful colours.
Spotted a painting by Frenchie that would look really nice at your place? All her works are for sale: email Fransje at email@example.com.