Frances Henson

I Want You To Have This

Bachelor of Visual Arts Mixed Media Social Art Practices Language

I Want You To Have This

As a painter I find preloved goods and paint them with subject matter aimed to capture an interaction I’ve had with someone. I then gift it back to them after I’ve completed painting it. This exchanging/gifting is the main essence of my work, and was aimed to start conversation about the consumerism in the art world and to spread kindness to those that I care about. The 60’s style was inspired by the Hippie ideologies in the 60’s and the mentality of Love, Peace and unconditional gifting/sharing. These values are needed more than ever in a year such as 2020, and to create even more positivity I embedded humour through ‘recycled quotes’. Overall I wanted to gift art to put humour and colour into peoples lives, and to reflect our exchanges on objects that were destined to be thrown away.

Tell me about your first experiences of art?

My grandfather was a very active painter and I used to love watching him and the skill he had.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Dude, gnarly, bro, standard surfer’s or 60s slang. Random made-up words that I say accidentally. I have a preference for the quirky which is how I fell into putting text in the artwork. Fat fetta fetish, Prison Pony (one of my friend’s word for a zebra). One of my flatmates referred to margarine she was slathering on toast as bread moisturiser. I constantly adopt new words.

What’s the process of language winding up in your work?

I try to live a low-waste lifestyle and this could be applied to almost anything, so I applied it to words. Humour aligned with my concept of gifting and wanting to make people feel good. If they could appreciate the quotes as much as me I should put them in there, save a bit of waste in a different form. I hope to capture things. What’s your spirit animal? was my favourite question to ask people.

So you put your ‘subjects’ through a Q and A?

There are 10 works. Some started with no one to give it to. Skateboards were where it started. I got 2 skateboards from someone in Wellington. I said I would give them back after the exhibition was done. So I did start asking questions to find out what I should paint on it and capture the person receiving it. One has two quotes because the recipient studied English – she has Coral Beef and Purple Nurple on her skateboard. Other examples are mushy mandarin and the other has fat fetta fetish

You have an ear for everyday poetry?

It gives me endless entertainment. Not quite sure where I got it from.

How did you get to working with found objects?

Last year when I was focused on the idea of negativity and trying to put that out in the world, I became fascinated and a bit perturbed by nihilistic views in pop culture. I was watching TV shows and reading books and find really depressing quotes and put them on bits of salvaged plastic. I get a bit panicky when I think about the climate crisis. I didn’t want it to go to waste at all. My love of text and sustainable art came out of this.

Could you talk me through your ideas of the preloved?

I find it sad that things are getting produced and produced and produced. I like the idea of giving something a new life. I’m giving them a kind of makeup.

It’s a very particular make up you’re applying

Ive always been obsessed by the 1960s it’s such an important time in the world. There are so many parallels between 1960 and 2020 —political discussions, what people wear. . . Love and peace is old and used but I definitely think the world needs more of that. I really wanted to paint in this way to bring it back.

What do you wish you knew?

I wish I knew what it was like to see from other people’s perspectives. If I could have a superpower it would be that. I’ve always been quite bad at conflict or being decisive. I think it would be easier to go through life if you knew what it was like on the other side of the fence.