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How Toronto Artscape Foundation Launchpad Bursary Recipient, Frances Sousa, keeps learning, experimenting and evolving her artistic practice

Frances Sousa Toronto Artscape Foundation Launchpad Bursary recipient, Frances Sousa became interested in art as a teenager. She started experimenting in photography, and became interested in textiles and thrift store materials — like band T-shirts — that she could alter or embellish.

“I am self-taught, working primarily with abstract painting on vintage textiles, as well as other recycled materials. I think a lot about how I can reuse discarded materials to make something beautiful,” explains Frances.

As her creative practice evolved, she became more interested in how that process can be applied to contemporary art and decor for daily living. In her work, Frances Sousa uses different media including photography, painting, collage and textile work, incorporating both recycled and new materials into her pieces. The concept of each work is often developed based on the materials at hand.

“Usually, I have an idea intuitively that I want to make. Then, I will learn how to achieve what I’m going for, practice, and then follow through with executing it. It may result in how I originally wanted it to be, or it may result in a completely different but better way that I have not previously even considered,” she explains of her process.

“Other times, I don’t have an idea but am wanting to work with materials I have on my supply shelf. I will pair materials together until I find what feels right. In that way, there is a certain magic that takes place between the meeting of my efforts and what happens to be the end result.”

Frances Sousa artwork

Frances Sousa uses various media in her works including vintage textiles, paint, photography and more. (Source: The artist)

Since December 2019, Frances Sousa has been working at Artscape Daniels Launchpad as a Toronto Artscape Foundation Launchpad Bursary recipient. As a mixed media artist, Frances predominantly uses the Commons and other co-working space, she has also been learning and experimenting in the Creative Studios.

The most valuable aspect of [the Toronto Artscape Foundation Launchpad Bursary] program for my creative practice has been the opportunity and access to the creative studios,” she explains.

“I’ve been able to learn about and have access to tools and equipment that I would have never had access to. I’ve loved what I have learned in the Textile and Fashion Studios. I am looking forward to using it more regularly as things begin to reopen more.”

During Artscape Daniels Launchpad’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Frances has been frequenting the free Launchpad Learning Online workshops.

“The Launchpad Learning Online workshop that has been most helpful to me during quarantine was Intro to Set Design taught by Djenabé Edouard. I really enjoyed learning and thinking about the concepts she presented in a fresh way.”

To keep inspired and productive as a working artist, Frances keeps an organized planner to keep track of ongoing projects. She finds that writing down and organizing her ideas in her planner, and then mapping out the steps to bring these ideas to fruition really motivates her. She also practices meditation to ensure her productivity.

Get Ready for the Flood by Frances Sousa

Frances Sousa’s Get Ready for the Flood (Acrylic Painting on Vintage Textile) was selected for the Girlboss x Tumi collection. (Source: The artist)

As a working artist, one of Frances’ career highlights to date was when her painting was hand selected for the Girlboss x Tumi collection and exhibited at the Girlboss Rally at UCLA.

“It was so exciting to see my work there with work from other artists that I admire. It was  wonderful to connect with creative people from other parts of the world that I met through having my work there, that I still have connections with now.”

You can see more of Frances Sousa’s work or follow her on Instagram @frances.sousa.

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