Artist Interview with Francesca Buchko
By Chris Hajny
Meet Francesca Buchko. She is a talented watercolor and digital artist, an avid book reader, and a sketchbook lover, as well as a great colleague and friend. Francesca graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with Illustration. She works as a product designer at Paper Bicycle LLC and and a curator and assistant at Light Grey Art Lab. She is one fascinating lady!
Hi Francesca! What you do at Light Grey Art Lab?
Hey! I do a lot of odd things! I update the Light Grey Tumblr. I have been doing artist interviews lately, too–it’s been great getting in touch with artists. I am at all of the shows, often manning the sales table and cutting fruit, sometimes I help edit writing, or I’ll make a sign if we’re missing one, or I’ll take a picture if we need one and there isn’t anyone doing that, and on a rare occasion I’ll stay in the gallery for gallery hours. I might be a professional intern.
It’s rare to see you without a sketchbook in hand, how long have you carried one? Do you use it as a dumping ground for ideas? To test out techniques? Or is your sketchbook precious, and you think of it as a whole?
I’ve had a sketchbook since I was sixteen–my first one was a present from a coworker. After that, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t kept a sketchbook earlier, because it’s exactly the thing I needed. I use it for everything—drawing from life, drawing characters, writing down the name of a song or a story idea or someone’s number. I guess it’s kind of like a journal, but it’s mostly pictures.
What about your more finished artwork? Any favorite subjects? Materials? Themes?
I really have been into painting lately. Watercolor and gouache are my favorite media right now, though at some point I think I need to reinvestigate digital.
I loooove drawing people. I didn’t realize it until fairly recently, but I love drawing places, too. People in places is probably my favorite subject.
I draw a lot of cats in my sketchbook.
Francesca at a Light Grey Lock In.
If you didn’t make art for a living what would you do instead?
I don’t even know if I’d be doing anything! When I was little I wanted to be an artist, a ballerina and a vet. I like to think that there is an athletic alternate universe version of me somewhere that is a stellar dancer. I imagine she would work very hard at it.
What hobbies do you have outside of making art?
I like reading a lot, and biking around (though I am by no means a biker) and exploring. I also spend a considerable amount of time on the phone, thanks to having a lot of really good friends and family out of town. I really really like eating.
Your love of Minneapolis is widely known. If you had to choose ONE aspect of Minneapolis as your favorite, what would it be and why?
It’s the people! Aside from the fact that this is where my closest friends are, there are so many cool things here because there are so many cool people. Every awesome gallery and bike trail and coffee shop is thanks to a dedicated group of folks and some really devoted patrons. Those guys are my favorite.
And if you had to choose one thing you hate the most about Minneapolis?
Hah! I wish it was harder...a year ago and I would have said not a thing. Sometimes it’s too snowy. Or a little too hot. Hate is pretty strong, but I might hate that snow.
Have you ever been anywhere amazing? Is there anywhere you just have to visit in your lifetime?
I haven’t been out of the country yet, but I’ve been to a lot of places in the U.S. that were pretty incredible. I’m always blown away by mountains. When I was a kid I really wanted to see the ocean, and even though I love the ocean, the Rocky Mountains might be my favorite land feature I have seen.
As weird as it is, I want to see cities. Maybe to compare to other cities? I love that a city is like a person that has been built out of a million people. I’m really curious about San Francisco. I mean, with a name like that, why not?
(This question was answered last week, before their trip to Iceland! I look forward to hearing how this answer changes- what her new favorites places and cultures are. )
Do you have a favorite artist? It could be a visual artist, writer, director, musician?
It’s really hard to pick just one. I have mini art crushes. A little bit ago it was Mark Gatiss, a British writer/actor/producer (he wrote a few episodes of Doctor Who and Sherlock). I was listening to an audio commentary with him and I was impressed by the way that he talks about his work. He’s definitely a nerd—he’s writing for things that he obsessed over as a kid—but he has great integrity about it. I think that’s really difficult to do.
You always play a Ranger/Hunter in games. Why is that your go-to choice?
I think that skill is cool; to just be so good at something that you can just pick it up and go. I also feel good about slowly whittling away at something. It suits my real-life strategy—pick a stance and be devoted to it.
If you stumbled across a bazillion dollars what would you do?
I would for real pay off loans. Good thing they’re less than a bazillion dollars! After that I would set up retirement properly and put a good chunk of away. And then I would go on sabbatical, all around the world. And I’d eat everything.
Describe your perfect day.
It would be 67 degrees and sunny, I’d wake up at 7:30, go to a coffee shop for a hour of writing. Then I’d go home, clean, call my fam, eat lunch at 11. Take a bike ride to a bookstore or library. Draw outside for awhile–by this time it would be 75 degrees–then go to United Noodle around 3-4, buy a bunch of imported snacks and possibly dinner ingredients. Bike to your (Chris & Lindsay’s) house to visit for a couple hours and share some snacks. Then we’d call up the rest of the friends, go out to eat around seven and talk there for a couple hours. Then I’d go home and work on comics until bed.
You can see more of Francesca's work here
and follow her blog too.