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.
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.
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, Rachmaninoff, 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
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. The illustration is my carefree playful outlet where I explore design and iconic themes with a pop of color!
“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:
Special thanks to Rua Francis for taking the time to answer interview questions about her art!