Francesca Van Haverbeke – art

Francesca is an artist making all kinds of things: paintings, drawings, sculptures, pots, mugs, jugs, and that’s it for now.

year of birth: 1988

birthplace: Tielt (Belgium)

current residence: London

not sure when she started, maybe around 2012

Where did it all begin?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an actress or a writer. I guess there’s always been an interest in storytelling.

Then during my law studies, I realised I had a visual memory so I started to translate the material into big drawings of made up stories. The drawings weren’t any good aesthetically, but they helped me retain lots of information and in a way kept me entertained.

The first real thing I created was a line of jewelry. From there I went on to drawings of weird characters,  paintings, short stories, digital drawings, sculptures, oil pastel drawings, and the latest: ceramics. And I also made a few music videos.

I always get excited by the next thing, which is probably a curse and a blessing at the same time.

What is the worst advice you’ve heard?

“Good things come to those who wait”, I think that’s misleading. I learnt that good things come to those who act, and try. If you’re waiting around, you’ll never be able to seize the moment and take the small steps you need to start your journey.

Also, any advice implying that there is one way. In life, or in the creative process.

Most beautiful moment during the creative process?

For me there are two. The first one is before anything is there, but there’s an idea, like a flash of inspiration, that’s the biggest excitement. The second one is when everything comes together and feels whole. The bit in between is a gamble and a struggle (but also a beautiful one, hmm maybe even the most beautiful…).

What doesn’t inspire you?

People being metaphorical sheep. Competitiveness. People who stop learning. Oh, and the typical captions you see on social media.

What are you proud of?

I was proud of my first solo show. And being in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. And more in general, I’m proud of finding my own way.

Who would you like to meet or who would you like to work with?

Hmm… I would probably find it awkward to meet my ‘heroes’ but I think I would like to meet musician Bill Callahan. He’s actually probably one of the most awkward persons I could pick, hah. And working with… maybe also him? I listen to his music all the time when I’m creating. Maybe it would be interesting to more consciously create a visual to his music. Or maybe it wouldn’t work, I don’t know.

Other than that, I would love to be a fly on the wall in the studio of a lot of artists I admire, to watch their process, tricks, etc.

Favorite material?

I think that would be oil pastel and clay at the moment.

Oil pastel is very easy and direct to use. I enjoy the vibrancy of the colours and the active energy of applying it. You can’t really be very delicate with it.

Clay interests me because I’m naturally a very impatient person, and creating with clay takes time and patience. It’s a process that covers several weeks. The making, drying, the firing, then the glazing and the second firing. Clay also changes consistency and requires a different way of handling it depending on where you are in the process. In the end there’s also always an element of surprise, you don’t know what is going to come out of the oven, it’s a process that you can never 100% control, and that loosens me up.

What would you have done, if not this?

I have a master degree in law and international relations, and then worked for seven years in advertising as a creative before I became a full time artist. So I have done other things, but always end up moving on.

But if ‘this’ wasn’t there, I would like to be a psychotherapist.

When was your biggest moment of doubt?

 Every day around 3pm.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have a lot of big supporters: my boyfriend (also an artist), my family, friends. But I think despite my 3pm moments, that there’s something inside of me that pushes me through every time and that gives me direction. So, in a way… that nagging voice inside my head that doesn’t let me give up.

Favorite image?

That’s a very tricky one. In fact it’s impossible. There’s too many beautiful artworks to pick from, so I will have to go with this ‘intense flute’ image, out of protest. But I like flutes, and surrealism.

What is to you, the most beautiful sentence?

“Sometimes I wish we were an eagle” It’s a Bill Callahan album title. I’m not sure what it means but it says it all. That’s poetry for me.

And then maybe a more ‘maker’ relevant one by Charles Bukowski: “Find what you love and let it kill you”

What do you still want to do?

Be an eagle.

Where do you work?

In my studio at home in London, outside in the park, the cemetery, on the tube, etc.

Want to see more of Francesca’s work?


And I urgently need to work on my website

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