WELCOME! I am so glad you stopped by.
My name is Fran Mason. I am an author, illustrator, and fine artist with strong oddball leanings!
I grew up in a rural community in SE Michigan (USA) and it was there that I happily spent my days climbing trees, riding bikes and running through sprinklers. Once we made a homemade slip N slide from a plastic paint tarp and it was marvelous fun. This infuriated my father because we were not supposed touch his stuff (the tarp) and had matted a giant swath of grass in his manicured backyard! One can o only imagine his rancor when we dug swimming pool holes in the yard for Barbie (they were really, really deep holes). Sometimes, we tried to dig all the way to China!
Animals were a huge part of my youth. There were horses, stray dogs, and barn cats were everywhere. In the hundreds of little ponds and creeks in our area, we hunted for salamanders, toads, and crayfish. We had no fear of these creatures, only awe of the natural world.
My childhood was magical. We were left to our own devices to imagine and create. It was enchanting! Adults were not present for the most part. This time was where my creativity was born and nurtured. I've never lost the sense of wonder born in childhood.
I received my B.A. in Art Education and Sculpture from Colorado State University. I taught elementary, junior high, and high school Art for 8 years before leaving to pursue an advanced degree. I earned an M.A. in Art Education and Painting/Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which was of the most amazing experiences of my life. I've taught the visual arts to PK-graduate students and have created art, including illustrations, paintings, and prints, for more than 25 years.
Right now, I am working on my first two books. The first is a is a middle grade novel about a feisty, imaginative fifth grader attempting to navigate an insensitive world, which will have fun spot illustrations done in pen and ink and watercolor. I have outlined 5 additional books that will be part of that series. The second is a picture book of outrageous poems entitled Recipe for a Hairy Chest. It will have full color ink, watercolor, and collage illustrations .
My visual work is the blend of childhood inspirations, COLOR•COLOR•COLOR, and a sort of off-kilter, oddball perspective on life.
I am particularly inspired by the work of fine artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean DuBuffet and Alice Neel. Illustrators Quentin Blake, Henrik Drescher, Oliver Jeffers, Valeri Gorbachev, and Melissa Sweet, along with cartoonist-graphic novelist Lynda Barry all rock my world! Other influences include children's art, outliers and outsiders, design and toys from the 50's-70's, and Primitive art/Art Brut.