Mary Frances Spears
Painting, drawing, photography
Mary Frances is an artist living and working in and around San Antonio Texas. She is a conceptual artist recently painting with encaustic, oil and cold wax, and acrylic mediums. Her focus is most often center on environmental concerns and our human connections and dependency on our earth. She has also created works exploring the effects of domestic violence, long term illness, and most recently lessons from earth. Series and exhibitions include; Ashes to Ashes, Broken Beauty, of the soil, Flight Lines, Unceasing Prayer, and Broken. In 2013, Mary Frances starting teaching with the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS). She soon added community classes and demonstrations through local arts programs. Teaching foundations and Advanced drawing classes renewed her love of teaching and confirmed a passion for encouraging creative explorations as a fundamental aspect of being human.
Q & A
Where are you from, originally?
I was born at Tinker AFB Oklahoma City, but my formative years were spent in Northern California.
What events in your life have had the largest impact on who you are today as an artist?
One of my first memories of creating art is a dark one. At 5 years old my teacher took my crayons away, proclaiming I was never to draw again. Thankfully my Grandmother sat me down at a sewing machine the same day and restored my love of creation.
Later, as an adult, I fled the corporate workplace devastated and traumatized and found healing in art classes... although that was a near thing and almost didn't happen. I actually snuck out of my first drawing class with the voice of my kindergarten teacher screaming in my head "You can't draw!" My professor caught me going down the stairs and brought me back promising that she could teach me. She is an amazing woman and I am forever grateful to her for saving me that day.
After that I found my true calling as an artist. It is who I am and likely who I have always been. Still, it was not easy. It has taken courage and faith to step out and do the work.
My first major series "Ashes to Ashes" was conceived in a Biology class fieldwork trip into recently burned forests to record effects on the wildlife. I went back and spent much of my summer recording photographically what I witnessed and spent the next year responding to the photographs with various mediums and experimental ways to draw others into this darkened landscape. It became my first successes and my benchmark for future work.
What do you appreciate most about having a studio at the Millworks?
Being an artist is often a secluded experience, being with a community of creatives brings a fresh energy and a renewed commitment to myself as an artist.