Frances Goodman – Gritty Graffiti

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Frances Goodman is a South African artist whose hand embroidered graffiti explore the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial and the dark places that they obscure.

Frances Goodman - I Love Jason - Hand Embroidery
I Love Jason (2007)

Her 2007 collection is called Toilet Graffiti Embroideries and is a series of embroidered hoops that recreate the “folk art” that can be found in the kind of toilets and washrooms that you might not want to hang about in.

Frances Goodman - How Can A Young Offender - Hand Embroidery
How Can A Young Offender (2007)

From her site: “These toilet philosophies, boasts, confessions and rants are reworked into seemingly precious objects, which are at odds with the sometimes lewd and throwaway content. The labour and intensity of hand-embroidering these anonymous, dirty ‘nothings’, reveal a voyeuristic fascination with other people’s sordid fantasies and inner monologues.

I think these are cool.

Toilet graffiti always teeters on the border of darkness, and some of Frances’ other pieces reflect that darkness much more than the ones shown here. This is a terrific idea; the work is high quality and the length of time each piece must have taken suggests a certain voyeurism – to spend hours stitching some else’s private confessions is not the remit of the clean and pure.

Frances Goodman - I Am A Bad Ass - Hand Embroidery
I Am A Bad Ass (2007)

Graffiti is a popular subject matter for contemporary embroidery and the contrast between irreverent commentary and labourious stitching is something that has been used to great effect – Tracey Emin‘s deliberate mistakes as a case in point. We reconsider these fleeting urban art expressions when we connect with the production process and recognise a new value in them. Frances gives us the opportunity to look into these intimate expressions with new eyes.

Frances Goodman - I'm So Fuck'd (2007)
I’m So Fuck’d (2007)

Find out more about Frances Goodman at her website and follow her on Instagram.

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