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About the Artist

Debra describes Artbag as a window into her soul. It was whilst studying at Central St Martins School of Art (2002-2005) that the idea for these first materialised. Debra took a beautiful handbag from a top couture house and adapted it into a silicone mould for casting.

The first bag was in heavy white plaster, but, her next bag, catch, was cast in resin and featured a goldfish inside a tank of water, mounted on a plinth. Her first pieces were highly autobiographical, as through these Debra visualised how she was feeling about various areas of her life. 

Although this focus has shifted over time, Debra acknowledges that every bag is a distillation of who she has met, where she has been and what she has seen in the world. As Debra explains, ‘…all interactions leave a trace in me which inspire my work’. Every Artbag has a title and these are equally as intriguing: ranging from a single, punchy word through to smart, thought-provoking statements which brand and define the Artbag.

Debra explores ideas centred on consumption and mass production and recognises the complex relationship we have with material objects as consumable goods. With their kitschy elements these works are a clear nod to pop art, brought into the digital age: now more than ever, we curate and display the emblems that we love and they curate and display us. 

Spanning luxury and familiarity, the elements held in each bag combine comfort, prestige and style. Resin encapsulation gives the chosen items a visually-intensified presence, with the anticipation of their consumption forever suspended in time, never to be realised.

The creation of an artbag has been likened to mummification in a slick and chic resin coffin. Objects are selected to ensure that they won’t break or melt in the casting process; occasionally, delicate items need their own mould. The silicone mould of the handbag comprises two parts and an initial layer of objects is laid out in each half. 

Liquid resin is poured in, in layers, with a day in between for each layer to cure and with further objects added to build up the layers. To remove any last traces of air, the completed handbag is then put into a pressure chamber. This is the most delicate stage of the process as bubbles can be created in the resin. Once cured, the handbag stays in the mould for several days and when removed it is sanded down, polished to a high sheen and lacquered.

Debra Franses Bean was born in London in 1967. She studied Politics and Economics and initially pursued a career in advertising. She has lived and worked in New York and London, where she is now based. Her Artbags have been exhibited in galleries around the globe and she also undertakes private commissions. In 2015 she created works for the Coca Cola Museum to celebrate 100 years of the iconic coke bottle design and her works were shown alongside pieces by some of Debra’s own personal art heroes.

Exhibitions

2017 - 2019

  • Hong Kong AAF, TAG Fine Arts
  • Scope Miami S’ist Gallery, Venice, Italy
  • Maison ET Object Paris, Cobra Fine Art
  • New York AAF, Tag Fine Art/ Mark Jason Gallery
  • New Generation artists, Amsterdam & Rotterdam, Cobra Fine Art
  • Summer exhibition, Gallery Saint Martin St Tropez, France
  • Winter exhibition, Gallery Bartoux, Courcheval, Megeve, Singapore
  • New Artworks, Galleries Artelie, Paris
  • Gallery artists, Buemee Contemporary, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

2014 – 2016

  • Coca Cola 100 years of the Bottle, Global tour and WORLD EXPO Milan
  • Hong Kong AAF, TAG Fine Arts
  • London AAF, Mark Jason Gallery
  • New York AAF Mark Jason Gallery
  • Art Palm Beach, Gallery Biba
  • Hamburg AAF, Wanrooij
  • Winter exhibition, Gallery Bartoux, Courcheval, Megeve, Singapore
  • Summer Exhibition, Rarity Gallery, Mikonos Greece

2013

  • London art fair Islington Mark Jason Gallery
  • Hong Kong AAF Mark Jason Gallery
  • Scope Basel & Miami Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
  • Ghent Art Fair Axel Pairon Antwerp
  • Amsterdam AAF Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
  • Hamburg AAF Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
  • “Upon Reflection” Quidley &Co, Boston
  • Battersea and Hampstead AAF Mark Jason Gallery
  • Fight for Sight Art auction
  • Scope Basel, Wanrooij Gallery
  • Bucks Open Studios, The Red House, Harefield
  • Quidley & Co Nantucket USA
  • Launch @ Biba Gallery Palm Beach

2012

  • Scope Miami, Wanrooij Gallery
  • Affordable Art Fair (London, Singapore, New York), Mark Jason Gallery
  • Affordable Art Fair (Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels), Wanrooij Gallery
  • Boston Art Fair, Quidley & Company
  • Gallery artists, Axel Pieron, Antwerp Belgium
  • Greenwich Art and Design, Stanford USA, Manart Gallery Paris
  • Urban Intersections, Quidley & Company Boston
  • Knokke, Axel Pairon , Antwerp, Belgium,
  • Gallery Opening Show, Manart, Paris
  • Realisme, Amsterdam, Wanrooij Gallery
  • London Art Fair, Mark Jason Gallery

2011

  • London Art Fair, Mark Jason Gallery
  • 20/21 Royal College of Art, Mark Jason Gallery
  • John Lennon Show, Legend Celebrity Art, London
  • Affordable Art Fair (London and New York), Mark Jason Gallery
  • Affordable Art Fair (Brussels, Amsterdam), Wanrooij Gallery
  • Art Chicago, Mark Jason Gallery
  • A-P and Beyond, London
  • London Design Week, Brompton Oratory, London
  • Art London, London
  • “Identity”, RED PENGUIN GALLERY, El Court Ingles Marbella, Spain
  • Miljonair Fair, Amsterdam

2009

  • ‘Group show portraits’, Galleria Fine art gallery, Guatemala
  • ‘The destruction and the glory’ New paintings, London
  • Gallery Launch Show, Artware Editions , Greenwich Village, NYC, USA

2006

  • June New Designers, Couturious, London
  • Degree show, Saint Martins, London

2004

  • The art of love, Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, London
  • The gift part 2, Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, COFA, Sydney
  • Third Draw Down, Kudos Gallery, Sydney
  • Living London, London Collage of Fashion, London
  • Sculpture, Central Saint Martins, London
  • The Visitor, 23 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, London
  • Visitors, Films, Hamburg, Germany

SELECTED SOLO SHOWS

2016 Gallery Show Northwood Etz Chaim Synagogue 2013 Manart Gallery, Paris 2010 Koukan gallery, London 2009 Launch show – Artware editions, New York 2005 Handbag and wallpaper installation, Selfridges Design room, London 2005 Wallpaper and sculpture installation, Harvey Nichols, London 2004 “A collection of Bags”, Glaxo Smithkline, Harlow, Essex

AWARDS

2005 Edward James Foundation bursary 2004 Digetex printing bursary 2003 Central Saint Martins printing & travel bursary for Venice
Forty Nine Questions and Art Ain't One
  1. Favourite Colour? Gold
  2. When you were growing up what did you want to be? An artist from the age of 9 prior to that a ballerina
  3. Name the place you'd most like to live in? New York
  4. Seaside or Countryside? Seaside ....fire island
  5. You're hosting a dinner party what's your signature dish? Spaghetti bolognese
  6. Dogs or Cats? Dogs
  7. What was your nickname at school? Hot lips or Dibs
  8. Most influential person in your life? My dad
  9. If you could go back in time to which period would you go to? 1920s
  10. Name an Instagram account you follow.? Fred Allard he’s my nemesis and I like to see what he’s up to visually, he also makes resin bags but they are less poetic than mine, more consumerist and male. I like to hate him
  11. Favourite Museum or Gallery? The Serpentine gallery, London & the Guggenheim Venice 
  12. If money was no object, what luxury item would you buy yourself? A modernist beach house
  13. Favorite Album (music) Radiohead ok computer 
  14. Person you'd love to meet? The queen
  15. Describe your ultimate romantic date. The second date with my boyfriend was pretty perfect, a mixture of great art, live music, walk in the park, great food, cocktails somewhere funky, night lights twinkling on the water and total connection...no traffic and great conversation.
  16. You are happiest when.......I’m not anxious about something and being appreciated for doing something lovely for people I care about.
  17. What makes you sad? seeing the world destroying itself. how much recycling I have everyday and when people can’t express themselves and bottle up emotions until they can’t go on anymore.
  18. If you could change one thing about the world l would stop fast fashion, fast food, fast lane....slow it down and be more thoughtful.
  19. Whats the first thing on your bucket list? A trip on the orient express to Venice
  20. Favorite Restaurant? The artichoke Michelin starred in old Amersham...it’s just 400 meters walk away from my home in old Amersham no cab needed.
  21. Book shop or Record Shop?book shop... best one is in Paris over 5 floors with divine nooks for browsing
  22. Name your favourite book? Secret history by Donna Tart it’s so dark. I also loved the coming of age novelette  catcher in the Rye
  23. Pet Hate? a messy kitchen in the morning
  24. Prize Possession ? My Range Rover Evoke with my personal BAG number plate.
  25. How many tattoos/piercings do you have? None
  26. Gym or Jim Bean?  More GIN please
  27. What colour are your eyes? Blue green Hazel
  28. Junk Food which is your dirty secret? Crisps
  29. What's your poison? Gin, champagne, Lindt milk chocolate with hazelnuts
  30. Describe your morning routine.  Wake up, coffee, stretch, sex if I have time, shower then dog walk then cooked breakfast
  31. Where do you call home? My house
  32. What makes you laugh? Being tickled
  33. What perfume/aftershave do you use? A mixture of molecule,Tempe Passada, and essential oils. It’s my finishing touch..
  34. Whats you favourite season and why? Spring , new life
  35. Describe the wildest night out you've ever had. No.
  36. What opportunity have you turned down? A couple of my designs after I graduated being licensed by FENDI
  37. Have you ever been arrested? YES
  38. Favorite Quote? If at first you don’t succeed....try, try, try again.
  39. First live band you went to see? SOUXIE AND THE BANSHIES
  40. Biggest Regret? Not going to live aid
  41. Describe something that you are proud of? I’m finally learning to play the guitar
  42. Describe yourself in 3 words.  Warm  creative stubborn
  43. Favourite film. Lalaland
  44. How many pairs of shoes do you own?30 but wear only 5 pairs
  45. Describe a favourite walk, sun, birdsong, breeze, views, a hill, cliff I love walking along the beach in Studland Dorset to harrys rock or pretty much anywhere along the Jurassic coast..preferably with my dog and either my son or partner.
  46. Tell us whats in your bag/pockets, lip balm,chewing gum, loose change,iPhone
  47. Who was the last person you called? My best friend from uni, her father in law just died of Covid today.
  48. Whats the tune/band that you are listening to the most? Somewhere over the rainbow by Israel
  49. Whats your cure for a hangover? Sleep bath Bloody Mary, dog walk

AVAILABLE WORKS

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