The Woman that is Francesca Lowe
When I worked at M&C Saatchi, my boss would seek his art buying advice by a guy called Tot Taylor. The owner of the Riflemaker gallery on Beak Street.
It was at this time that I learnt you could be an art buyer from as little as £50. But only if you bought with some research and wisdom.
His particular paintings (a little more than £50 I should add) would be delivered to his office. I remember one piece, painted by the artist Gavin Turk. He won the turner prize later that year. Because of his new found prestige, I had to contact insurers as the painting had gone up by 200% in price.
4 years and no longer owning a mortgage (I sold my flat in 2009) I wanted to invest my money in something – but with the fear of the double dip recession, it wasn’t going to be bricks and mortar.
I visited Riflemaker to see their latest gallery. I called Tot, asking him for his latest tips. ‘There’s a girl, 31, who’s causing a small storm’.
I’m always sceptical with art, even with Rothko it took me a good decade to get the point. But with Lowe, it was emotional. Instant. The moment I came across her Grace picture – (above) I experienced the ‘I have to have this in my life’ sensation.
A whirl wind of stunning images (sexual women, wolves, cars – the demise of everything that used to be masculine) immersed in a tree and thickened by about 16 different sets of oiled layers. Amongst all this were topographic map style words – leading from darkness to light. Like our lives, we have light and dark moments. At the top of the tree is the word ‘ascend’, at the bottom left was the word ‘prick’
It was as if the oxytocin hormone had been released in my brain.
I wanted to meet her. Just one soya latte later, I decided to commission Francesca to paint me the same painting, with some of my own personal afflictions. A triumph motorbike of my father’s to stand underneath the tree. Mrs Tiggywinkles (my friends call my mother this), the 171 club logo (a hell’s angels club my parents founded in the 60s which gained 1,000 members and became known as the heaven’s angels). Burlesque women to show my adoration of the female form and how us ladies must be proud of it. The white butterfly. Then poems, the Desiderata, scriptures, my favourite quotes, words all flooded Francesca’s way.
And last week I visited her studio to see the progress. There she was with two more commissions in an awesome personalised white space, in a warehouse in east london.
Last week the Sunday Times had written her as one to watch. Tot Taylor had made his investment in her work, and much of her work had already sold before she launched her exhibition. Tot had made a great investment.
You see the difference about this girl is that, apart from the clear influence she had from her incredible skill and her time in Rome (the colours are renaissance led), is that the girl has serious insight. An incredibly creative mind, even if she does put her skill down to a lot of practice.
But there it was. The painting that I chose to spend some of my savings on.
It was this moment where the investment didn’t matter, it was merely an excuse to get my grubby little mitts on her mind. With her hands, she describes a world I fantasize about. We ate jaffa cakes, drank coffee. Talked about being an artist and then I left her to it. I gave her LOVE magazine for thoughts on the style of font for the title, but that was it. I trusted her, and although she was nervous about how I’d see it, I like using people’s interpretations of my thoughts. Especially hers. It’s much more fun and more enlightening that just dishing my own dirt and getting silence as feedback.
I can’t wait for you to see it. I should tell you this, photos don’t do justice to the kinesthetic experience.