We had the good fortune of connecting with Francis River and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francis, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Currently, I’m working full-time as a farm manager for a non-profit. So I’m still trying to figure out my work-life situation, but oftentimes I gather inspiration from work and the people I engage with. I think it’s important to be engaged with the community, your surroundings, and experiences outside of the studio. However, when I’m in making mode for shows, etc. I’m in the studio everyday after the farm. The routine itself of creating everyday becomes the important thing. It’s a form of mesmerism for me. This process hasn’t changed, but I have become more receptive to stepping back from studio time to be present with friendships, family, nature, and exploring other outlets that oftentimes stimulate new ideas. I now embrace the importance of a work-life balance. To pursue such an iteration day in and day out, requires a good amount of physical and mental strength, and stepping out of the studio and exploring is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been working with clay for four years. My work balances between functional utilitarian pieces which I make for cafes and restaurants to sculpture and abstract pieces I make for art shows and homes. Currently, my career is a little all over the place. I was accepted to California State University Long Beach MFA program for Ceramic Art, but because of Covid-19 restrictions, I decided to drop out. Now, I’m back in the studio experimenting and creating new work, as well as exploring new opportunities. I’ve also been teaching online classes on IG live, as well as outdoor classes and workshops at Still Life Ceramics and Clay CA. Most recently, I started sewing and making garments, and exploring the relationship between fiber and clay.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First place would definitely be the ocean. I’m so grateful to be near the ocean. I also enjoy spending time and biking along the LA river. Hiking around griffith park. Dinner at Dan Sung Sa followed by karaoke in koreatown. We visit as many museums as possible. Pick up some food from Señorita and Future Tasties. Visit Clay Ca and Still Life Ceramics. Drinks at Tiki-ti and a movie at the vista. I think some combination os all this and some wandering around.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a great question! And the funny thing is, I actually write a poem of “shoutouts” to my friends every year at my birthday gathering. So cheers to shoutouts. To begin, I would really like to shout out Echo Ceramics, Clay CA, and Still Life Ceramics. These three studios have supported my work and have been a community where I’ve met some of the most amazing people and received such support and encouragement. I also want to shout The Craft Contemporary Museum. They’ve supported my work and have supported the work of so many amazing artists. And I just really want to shout out all my friends. They mean a lot to me and have always been supportive, radical, and inspiring.