Hanging through Sat., 8/11
Costello’s Piano Bar • 211 Princess St. Sat.-Thurs.: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Fri.: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Every artist is moved by different things, finds inspiration in different places. For Francisca Dekker, the motivation for her art is simple: people.
Dekker’s latest exhibit, “Inside Out,” is now on display at Costello’s Piano Bar, courtesy of the local Checker Cab Gallery as a part of their new initiative to showcase regional works at remote locations. “One of the gallery’s focuses is to take local artists and put them in front of markets outside of the area, from Raleigh and Charlotte to Atlanta,” Terry Espy, Checker Cab Gallery co-owner, explains. “We want to get the artists into new venues because there is so much talent in the area, great work that should be seen. The remote show at Costello’s is the first step toward that goal.”
Dekker’s show will be displayed at Costello’s for roughly the next two months. I sat down to have a talk with this self-taught artist on a beautiful morning when her spacious studio was flooded with light. During our chat we discussed her history, her inspiration, but most of all, her life. Born in The Netherlands in 1954, Dekker’s first career was in designing gardens. After meeting her husband, they both dove into social work, and they moved to the U.S. in 1987. She spent 15 years in social work but felt she’d done her part. There was something else she was meant to do: paint.
e: You are a figure artist—why do you focus on people in your works?
FD: I actually started with the opposite; I just experimented for a while. I’m terrible at pottery. I tried stained glass—I cut myself more than the glass. I really never did landscapes, but I did some early paintings of flowers. Really, you feel your way, see what talks to you. Personally, I am fascinated by people which is why I was in social work for so many years. The subject of my art needs to have a meaning for me. For example, I love nature, I’m a gardener. But, when it comes to art, I feel I can never even touch nature. I sing for the joy of sharing music, but I don’t have much talent. You really just have to figure out what inspires you. When you paint or draw or create any kind of art, it’s not only with the heart but also with the soul.
e: What was your exhibit before this like?
FD: My previous show was called “Naked Truth” and it was composed of nude portraits. The idea behind it, for me, was that so many people hide everything. We are covering ourselves up so much. But I wanted them to be appropriate. I don’t have to paint details—what I see inside is what I paint.
e: That idea seems connected to your latest exhibit, “Inside Out.” Tell me about this one.
A: If I meet somebody and I feel a connection with them, I paint with colors. I don’t see people in black and white. Colors are the connection I have with that model—the inside colors. There is a combination of male and female figures in free-style. I love the way people move; I see the movement. To get the essence of the person, to capture the movement, that is the free-style. Physical flaws, sizes, colors, those are not the essence. Male, female, black, white—it doesn’t matter. Like right now, I’m seeing you sitting, I know you have arms and legs, but I see the whole picture. I want to draw you—how you move, think, feel.
e: So what do you think are consistent qualities throughout your work, no matter what exhibit they’re a part of?
FD: I always do very big hands. I love hands. You use them for everything: to express, cook, make love, type, even talk. I also do big feet because they are our connection with the earth. And I always base my works off of the rhythm of our conversation; that’s what I draw. I want to tell the whole story in a minimum of lines. Because of this, I think everybody can identify themselves in parts of my paintings. Identification is very important. If you feel comfortable with others and identify with something in their portrait, then you share something.