Art & Entertainment, Artist Spotlight, Interviews

Artist Spotlight: Rua Francis, Detroit-based Artist

Meet Rua Francis, a Detroit-based, Canadian artist and fashion illustrator! Today on Good Life Detroit, Rua shares the meaning of her artistic style and what inspires her to create art. Rua will also present her artwork at the ART on the GRAND, June 3 – 4, 2017, in Downtown Farmington, Michigan. Check out our interview with Rua Francis!


Meet Rua Francis!

Rua Francis’ art is shaped and influenced by her Mesopotamian and Assyrian heritage. This is evident in her artwork, as she infuses forms of Aramaic and Arabic arabesque and calligraphy art by combining the “elegant complexity of ink on paper”. Francis’ art style creates “an experiential interpretation of what ‘is’ versus what is ‘seen’ while illuminating the harmony and oneness of all parts”.

I had the amazing opportunity to catch up with Rua and ask her a few questions about her beautiful artwork. She shared with me her cultural background and what inspires her to create art.


Good Life Detroit (GLD): Where are you from? How long have you been living in Detroit?

Rua Francis (RF): I was born in Kuwait and raised in both Kuwait and Iraq until my family and I fled to Canada at age 19. It has been a long journey of hardships, adjustments, and growth; which has definitely taken a toll on my artistic expression. I came to Detroit 4 years ago to study at Wayne State University and obtained a BSc. in Marketing. I’ve since fallen in love with a Michigander, got married and now have a baby boy together.

GLD: How long have you been creating art?

RF: It’s been a lifetime! I come from a long line of creative artists and designers. My father, a physician by day, designed and handcrafted fashion jewelry and accessories by night. My creativity was also cultivated at age 3 by my aunt: an artist and art teacher. It has been a journey of artistic and personal evolution ever since.

Rua Francis
Rua Francis, Detroit-based artist presents her art show “This is Not Art” at ART on the GRAND June 3 – 4, 2017. (Photo courtesy Rua Francis)

GLD: How would you describe your art/artwork?

RF: Bold, elegant and fresh! I create with bold lines and dynamic flowing compositions. Through the techniques of repetition, line, and negative space, the lines bring depth and movement to the surface infused with forms of Aramaic and Arabic calligraphy and arabesque.

I choose to work with black ink, for its timeless elegance. It also provides an infinite space to contemplate and to inspire! My goal is to illuminate harmony and oneness of the parts while creating the whole.

GLD: What inspires you to create your art?

RF: It’s hard to contain what inspires me! Overall, I’m very influenced by my personal growth, social issues, and beauty. Also, traveling and immersing myself in new cultures energizes me to create.

Rua Francis
“I’m very influenced by my personal growth, social issues and beauty. Also, travelling and immersing myself in new cultures energizes me to create.” -Rua Francis

GLD: Which artist or art movement influences you as an artist?

RF: Many artists from various art movements influence me. Among those are Klimt, Monet and Matisse. I’ve also been influenced by my mentor, Jamil Hamoudi, an international artist and Iraqi pioneer.

I must also admit that listening to classical music guides my working process. Almost all of my pieces can be attributed to Chopin, Rachmaninof and many other composers.

“I create with bold lines and dynamic flowing compositions. Through the techniques of repetition, line, and negative space, the lines bring depth and movement to the surface infused with forms of Aramaic and Arabic calligraphy and arabesque.”

-Rua Francis, Detroit-based artist

Rua Francis
Rua’s artwork on display in her studio. (Photo courtesy of Rua Francis).

GLD: Your bio says you are also a fashion illustrator. Can you tell us what is a fashion illustrator and what type of fashion illustrations do you create?

RF: In fashion illustration, we communicate design and ideas in an artistic form. It can be anything from illustrating live at a runway show to sketching garments or fashion products.

I sketch and paint with watercolors, pencil, and ink. I currently illustrate iconic perfume bottles and fashion accessories. Illustration is my carefree playful outlet where I explore design and iconic themes with a pop of color!

“Femme No. 1” by Rua Francis

Rua Francis
Femme No.1″ by Rua Francis

Femme No.1 is “inspired by the working women of ancient and rural Mesopotamia, farming and gathering food while taking care of their families and village all along. This is a dedication to all the hardworking and strong women, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends where ever they are”. This piece is embellished with calligraphy and letters that make up the word ‘Woman’ in Aramaic and Arabic.” -Rua Francis


What is the Art of Arabesque and Calligraphy? 

Arabesque and calligraphy art are two of the three “distinct disciplines that underpins Islamic art.” The third type of art is geometry. According to Adam Williamson, Islimi designs are biomorphic, floral patterns representing the underlying order and unity of nature; they are evident throughout the artwork of various cultures within the Islamic world from Morocco to Malaysia (Williamson, Adam. “Biomorphic Art: The Art of Arabesque”. The Art of Islamic Pattern).

Read more about the art of arabesque and calligraphy at The Art of Islamic Pattern’s official website.


Rua Francis Presents “This is Not Art: All That We Seek, Simply Arts Within”

Rua Francis will feature her brilliant artwork at the annual fine art fair  ART on the GRAND in Downtown Farmington, Michigan, June 3 – 4, 2017. Francis invites art enthusiasts to her art showcase “This is Not Art: All That We Seek, Simply Arts Within”. She encourages viewers to explore the illusion of art and how it is perceived.

“We tend to look for objects of obsession for the sake of fulfillment or joy” Francis explained. “Often times we seek objects that represent these desires externally meanwhile all that we seek simply arts within. Meaning, if we look inward, we find all that we ever need or seek.”


If you would like to view Rua’s artwork, she will be at Booth No. 33 on both days of the art fair. Stop by and say hi or purchase an art piece by Rua to add to your art collection!

ART on the GRAND is a two-day fine art fair held annually in Downtown Farmington, Michigan. The art fair features various artists from across the country! Admission is FREE for the art fair and it is a family-friendly event for all. For more information about ART on the GRAND, visit their official website.

If you would like to reach out to Rua Francis or inquire about her artwork, here is her contact information:

Instagram: rua_francis
Facebook: Ruaatelier


Special thanks to Rua Francis for taking the time to answer interview questions about her art! 

Pin This! to save for later. 🙂

Share the Love!Share on Facebook282Share on StumbleUpon96Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Print this pageEmail this to someone

22 thoughts on “Artist Spotlight: Rua Francis, Detroit-based Artist

  1. Rua’s work is beautiful! I love watching artists in process of working on their pieces. It’s really fascinating to watch and hear about their whole creative process. I love how she incorporates her culture and music into her art. Excellent interview.

  2. Wow. Great interview. I love art, and illustration is my favorite right now. Rau. I’m going to check out the Islamic art types she discusses. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great interview, and wonderful business she has. I’ve always been interested in paper and writing mediums (one of the reasons I love calligraphy so much) and she combines the two seamlessly! I love her art as well!

  4. I love her art style. I love her art style. It is so unique. I have not seen any thing like it until now. Thanks for sharing your interview with Rua Francis. I am sure many people were also amazed at her work at the exhibit.

  5. I think making a living doing something you love would be amazing. Kudos to those who can, especially when it’s in the arts!

  6. I love her work! As she stated about her lines, they are dynamic and flowing, which is the best part! I feel like the two are contradictory but she pulls it off well.

  7. I studied fine art in undergraduate school and could never find a way to make a career out of it. I ended up changing directions in grad school. It always makes me happy to see an artist doing what they love AND making a living out of it.

What are your thoughts?