Studio Visit

Faranu is Choosing Charcoal


Artists can be recognized by a signature style, because of unique characteristics, themes or methods. This is why one easily recognizes a Picasso or Dali. Finding ones style is an intense and personal process. Have a look at Mondriaan, where you wouldn’t link the early landscape works with the Victory Boogie Woogie. Others find their style a lot sooner. One of them is Faranu, who we visited in her Rotterdam studio. Her style? It is obvious: charcoal and repeating forms. An intriguing mix of abstract forms, which leaves space for interpretation.

Artist visit Faranu
Faranu finds her inspiration in daily life: whether looking at the water, analysing the fish scales on her plate or finding an interesting Japanese paper towel in a restaurant. She has a Big Apple ‘aan de Maas’ mentality of just doing it. On the ground she rolls out a paper, bends over it and like a monk starts to create the forms with repetition, until the work has found its harmony.

It is interesting to see that the artist is so full of energy, while her work is surrounded with serenity creating something universal. By using the charcoal and scratching with it on the paper, she brings an ancient technique in a meditative way back to life. The paper is a benevolent recipient, which makes you think about the tension and thin line between lightness and fragile vulnerability versus solid indestructible concepts. Somehow it reminds of the game ‘rock-paper-scissors’: the various hand commands with the symbols they represent are recurring themes in Faranu’s work.

To come to this style, Faranu had to change, experiment and ‘pivot’ as we call it in the start-up world. She changed her way of working from video to charcoal drawing and later from figurative to abstract, because it didn’t work anymore. Not really from the market viewpoint, but from the artistic eye. One has to keep wondering and questioning, proposing challenging perspectives. The first bold step she took in her last year at the academy, she through all other techniques in the bin to focus solemnly on charcoal. A rather practical choice: it is a very cheap material. After receiving recognition and living in New York for a while, she decided to step away from figurative art. Resulting in the abstract, repetitive works we see from her today. What is admirable is that she works hard to improve her style and that the works are getting more depth. She lets her admirers be free to interpret what they see and sometimes, based on the reactions, she will create a new episode.

Of course, the question is, will this be the definite style or will we be surprised by Faranu in another ten years time? However, the charcoal we understood, is something to stay. She fell in love with this technique, the purity, the availability and endless variants Faranu can make with it. And we keep seeing new stories in her work.

Image credits: Faranu