Horse of a Different Color, showed in Accidental Encounters at Lotus Fine Art in Woodstock

Plan a visit to Accidental Encounters:
Lotus Fine Art exhibits works of Fran Beallor

Interview by Barbara Gallo Farrell for the Poughkeepsie Journal
During Beallor's 2008 solo exhibition, Accidental Encounters, in Woodstock, NY 

Look closely at the paintings of Fran Beallor and you're likely to see more than meets the eye. Her fanciful paintings of old-fashioned toys, sculptures and interiors are intricately crafted into still lifes filled with details and colorful nuances. In Mysterious Entry, a reflection appears in a glossy vase, giving the viewer a glimpse of the artist at work. Her works of realism made up Accidental Encounters, an exhibition at Lotus Fine Art in Woodstock.

The New York City artist, who has traveled the world, took some time to answer the following questions about her work:

What inspires your work?

Many things inspire me. Seeing the world during my travels has certainly informed my art. I am also inspired by the work of other artists, in museums and on the street, from each continent, culture and time period: contemporary, historic and prehistoric. I am greatly inspired by science and nature - the perfection of seashells, the grace of an animal's horn and the astonishing variety of patterns and colors in flowers have found their way into my work.

Tell us about your work in the exhibit Accidental Encounters.

In my travels, I have met people of strikingly different cultures and have collected many beautiful objects for my still lifes. Back in my studio, when I put the objects together in a composition, they create a series of encounters between cultures that might usually be separate.

In some of the works, a view of myself painting in the studio finds its way into the reflective surface of a vase, bringing an accidental portrait and interior scene into my still life setup. In others, falling objects are captured forever in mid-flight - an accident about to happen?

How does your background contribute to your process as an artist?

My mother was an artist and my father, an amateur photographer and art maven. Together they infused my life with art, music and culture. They brought me everywhere with them - to museums, concerts, theater and dance performances. As for lifestyle, having traveled extensively, I find that experiencing the art and aesthetics of other cultures firsthand has broadened my sensibility as an artist and as a citizen of the world.

Why did you decide to focus on realism in your work?

I didn't "decide" to be an artist — rather I realized that art was what had been given to me and I am quite happy about that, as there is nothing I would rather do! And while I love to look at abstract art, it is not what calls me to paint. I like to tell stories in my work, to share the way I see the world or would like the world to be.

How do your paintings resonate with viewers?

I am very lucky that my work is quite accessible. Most people find it beautiful, but I am always pleased when people begin to see beyond the beauty to the more subtle themes beneath the surface. Some people think my work has a surreal quality, that it holds a mystery or an unanswered question. I like that mysterious quality.

What excites you about art - what keeps you interested?

The challenge of translating what I see onto the canvas or paper is very exciting. I am also excited to see, hear and read what other artists create. In addition, life, nature and people keep me interested. Art is exciting - I can't imagine a world without it.

What is your personal definition of art?

The full answer is too complex to put into a short space, but basically when a person translates some aspect of his or her experience into an aesthetic product, that is art. It doesn't have to be beautiful or emotional or even visible, but I think it must have a relationship to the individual artist, and to humanity since art is a human endeavor.

If we were to get a peek inside your journal or sketchbook, what would we see?

In some sketchbooks you would see fragments of dreams, visual poems and ideas for future works. In others, landscapes of Alaska, Asia, Ecuador, Putnam Valley, Mexico, etc. - places I have traveled. In still others, you would find faces that I sketched on the subway or figures from my imagination. You might discover a few crazy ideas that you may someday see in a painting!

What type of art decorates your home?

Aside from my own art, I have a collection of other artists' work. Mostly small things. (I do live in a New York City apartment, after all!) They are quite varied and are mainly the work of friends and teachers. I also have an extensive collection of masks, ethnic crafts and reflective objects from around the world, which I also use in my paintings, or ... may some day.

Interview by Barbara Gallo Farrell for the Poughkeepsie Journal  - September 4, 2008