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 Francis Hogan Brown  (20/21st century)

About: Francis Hogan Brown


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: abstract, gestural/drip painting

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Frankie Brown is primarily known as Francis Hogan Brown

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Having begun painting with oil and acrylics in the late 1970s, Francis "Frankie" Brown refers to his work as "splatter-dash paintings" because they are so similar to the gestural paintings of Jackson Pollock.   No one has accused him of doing 'knock offs' of Pollock's work, but he believes that the very much publicized assertion by Teri Horton that she owns a Pollock and the film made to support her claim, is, in fact, a reference to one of his paintings.  "It's certainly not a Pollock.  It could be mine."  He makes that statement from comparing the brushstrokes but says he would need to see the actual painting to determine if it is his work.

About painting like Pollock, he said:  "Yes, anyone can do it.  Not they don't look the same.  What I learned the most from Jackson Pollock is discipline and thrift.  It's all one piece.  There is no up or down.  No composing or designing.  No drips.  The viewer sees whatever."  However, his work does differ in an obvious way from Pollock's in that Brown has a brighter palette, uses much more paint, much thinner lines, spends much time on backgrounds using gesso and a background color,  and sometimes uses gold leaf and "really shiny gold paint" in his work.  He does not think that Pollock would have access to the same kind of 'shiny' paint.  However, like Pollock, Brown works with a commitment of letting the work take shape without pre-planning and by applying paint to a canvas laid flat on the floor. 

Brown's first exhibition of his work was in October, 1979 at the Clam Broth House in Hoboken, New Jersey, and later he had exhibitions in New York, Illinois and California.

He was born in Manhattan and grew up in Newark, New Jersey, but lived his adult life in California.  In 1970, he graduated from Cal State, with a business degree and  teaching certificate in art and industrial arts.  First he worked as an accountant, but then switched his focus to making art.  Opening his studio, he first did photography and then ceramics, metal and conceptual art.  He became the first director of the gallery in the new student union at Cal Tech in 1976, and also served as coordinator of the crafts department.

During this period he developed the philosophy that art should be away from studios and 'out there' in the world.  He belonged to the Dada movement and participated in Dada parades in San Francisco.

In 1978, he began the Pollock-style paintings, an activity that evolved from his belief that art was much more related to space and color than the depiction of realist scenes from his surroundings.  From that time, he has done hundreds of paintings, and has exhibited all over the world, especially in Eastern Europe.

For 13 years he had a studio in Palm Springs and continues to spend time there, although he lives primarily in Chico, California.

Of future plans he says, "he hopes some day to live in outer space."


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