Female-identifying queer artist, photographer and body-positivity activist @frances_cannon is changing perceptions all over Instagram with her raw art, honest storytelling and relatable illustrations.
With almost 200k followers in tow, Frances is using her unique work and strong voice to fight for change, squash stigmas and break down the barriers around mental health, gender, race and sexuality. And there’s no denying, her art is illu-straight up fire.
One of our Top 50 Instapreneurial Women to know and a Milkshake user herself, Frances has used her online platform to not only spread her message, but also build a consistent customer base to make a living from her art.
An artist always striving to evolve, grow and break the status quo, we can all draw some inspiration from this incredible illustrator and femme-powering changemaker…
How did @frances_cannon come about? What motivated you to start sharing your art?
I first got Instagram to post selfies and bad photos of food just like everyone else in 2012, but I started posting my art just cause I wanted to – and then it gradually grew into my main space to share my art.
How has it changed the direction of your work, life and career?
My Instagram helped me build a customer base so I could sell my art. This happened very slowly and gradually, so sorry to anyone wanting a magic formula to make your Instagram popular – I don’t have one! It happened very organically.
How do you make the most of your link in bio?
What’s the main mission or goal of your art?
I don’t really have a goal or mission. I’m an artist, and I make work about what I’m experiencing and am passionate about. Its an ongoing mission of processing my emotions and experiences. Instagram is just a way for me to connect and share with an audience.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the creative industries? How is your art aiming to address or combat this?
Pew pew! The arts are still a very WHITE CIS MALE dominated space. I’m continuously pushing against this as a queer woman. But I do still have privilege as a white person, so I try and lift up creatives who are POC as much as I can.
Your art is so unique! What’s your artistic background and how did you develop your current style?
I’ve been drawing my whole life! Developing my drawing style has come gradually over years and years and years of drawing. And it will keep growing and evolving! Staying the same is boring!
“Developing my drawing style has come gradually over years and years and years of drawing. And it will keep growing and evolving! Staying the same is boring!”
Where do you find inspo? How do you get re-inspired in a creative block?
Art galleries! Books! Artists from history! My friends! My experiences! Taking a break sometimes! Not feeling the pressure to be constantly productive!
What’s the hardest thing about being a creative in the public eye? How do you find the courage to post such raw, personal content on social media?
I think the hardest thing is that people often want creatives to have ONE style, and I have to continuously push against that. Forcing yourself to stick to a specific style stifles your creativity. I want to do everything and I won’t limit my creativity to fit into one style.
And I’m generally a very open and honest person, so I naturally want to make and post honest and raw artwork. It’s part of who I am.
“People often want creatives to have ONE style, and I have to continuously push against that. Forcing yourself to stick to a specific style stifles your creativity. I want to do everything and I won’t limit my creativity to fit into one style.”
What’s your creative process? What are your go to programs, tools or techniques for creating your work?
Pen and paper! A scanner! My iPad and ProCreate! I like exclamation points!
How are you breaking down stigmas around body positivity, sexuality and mental health?
I think the most powerful tool in challenging the stigma around mental health is just talking about it! So doing that in person, through social media, whatever (!) is helpful in breaking down those barriers.
“I think the most powerful tool in challenging the stigma around mental health is just talking about it! So doing that in person, through social media, whatever (!) is helpful in breaking down those barriers.”
What’s your most used Instagram feature?
Definitely Insta Stories! I love how casual and chatty I can be on the Story feature.
What’s your advice for other women who are thinking about following their passion and sharing their art?
Just do it! And don’t worry about followings tbh. Just post what you’re passionate about and do it for fun.
Who are some of your fave female-identifying or gender-fluid creatives doing amazing things on IG?
@heygemmaflack, @peomichie, @rach.e.lle, @aorists, @_aprilphillips_, @okaymontana, @hilarygreen_, @monicagreatgal, @ggggrimes, @bad.gal.rene, @hellomynameiswednesday, @estherolsson, @coffinbirth – to name a few!
You’ve already accomplished so much and empowered so many with your work. What’s next for you, your art and @frances_cannon?
More art! More activism! More angry bitch vibes! More fighting for change! More art again!