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Art We Love: Franke Vassell

 Thursday, 3rd August, 2017

Upcoming Artist in Residence, Franke Vassell, opens up about his inspiration and style.

Vassell is a formerly homeless painter and sculptor from London. Vassell draws heavily upon the work of the Renaissance artists and he can often be found sketching in the National Gallery and The British Museum. Vassell’s talent was discovered when he attended a drawing course run by artist’s agents Go Figurative and the National Gallery whilst living at at a hostel run by homelessness charity Centrepoint.

He subsequently won a bursary to Heatherley’s Art School to study Sculpture and Portraiture and graduated in 2016. He was selected for the Federation of British Artists' Futures exhibition at the Mall Galleries in 2014. His work is in collections in London and Austria.
Club Art curator, Ali Hillman, interviews him ahead of his Hospital Club residency.

How long have you been painting for and what inspired you to start?

6 years ago I took part in a painting project run by the National Gallery, Go Figurative and Centerpoint. Their support really inspired me to see painting as more than just a hobby of mine.

You spend a lot of time studying the Masters at The National, who are your faves?

I admire Seurat, Turner, Monet, Degas, Rubens, Durer, Gericault and Rothko. I study their work as much as I can. I was blown away by the Da Vinci exhibition at the National a few years back, especially the small drawings.

We will showcase charcoal sketches and oil paintings in your upcoming residency but you have started to experiment with bronze. How have you approached that medium and do you see yourself exploring sculpture in the near future?

I'd love to create more bronzes but it's expensive so quite prohibitive to have things finished in that way.
Is there a person you would very much like to portray or is the subject not the real significance for you?
I want everything I do to capture a mood, and a piece of me. I like art that's simple with a clear point. Art should, for me, be a complex thing in its simplest form.
Vassell will exhibit his work, The Figure, on The Hospital Club second floor from 13th August - 5th October.