Courtesy of Tatanja Ross
TW: anxiety, body-image, mental health
With the new year (not new me because I am working towards growth all year), I’ve been trying to follow more people who inspire me on social media. As fun as it is seeing underclassmen from my high-school, I’m more interested in the stories of people who are making change. More artists, more activists, more people who are empowered. Because Instagram is already a visual media, I’ve been looking into artists that use their artwork to elevate messages of self-love and acceptance while speaking honestly about mental health and the difficulties that come with growth and change. I started following @FrancesCannon, a multidisciplinary visual artist from Melbourne, Australia, and I wholeheartedly think she is making my outlook and my views towards myself more positive every day.
A lot of her work is autobiographical as she draws from her own experiences with mental health, relationships, anxiety, body-image, and current events. Best known for her small portraits of naked women, she stated in an interview with Howl magazine that she “[sees] worth and beauty in the human figure and the importance of sharing love for the body.” Body positivity has been somewhat of a buzz-word in social media this year and Frances Cannon is part of it. She shared with Splinter News that she wasn’t always body-positive but “once [she] discovered the movement… [she] couldn’t deny it’s power. Loving yourself unapologetically is SO POWERFUL!”
Inspired by feminist ideas and current events, she also portrays taboo or difficult to talk about issues such as the nonlinear nature of healing and the difficult nature of self-acceptance. In her paintings she often includes period blood and pubic and body hair to “challenge the stigma surrounding periods and other bodily functions that women and humans go through” (Splinternews). She also knows the profound impact that art can have in communicating political issues and perpetuating acceptance, so she challenges “the fear and policing of bodies (particularly bodies of women and non-binary people)” in her work (Splinternews.com).
Visual and graphic artists on Instagram are often open to commission or custom designs through Etsy or other online retailers and Frances is on that train too! She sells ‘tattoo tickets’ so that anyone who loves her artwork enough to get it permanently adorned on their body can and in doing so, she started a self-love movement. Frances herself is beautifully adorned with her own and others’ artwork and at one point got a piece that said “SELF LOVE CLUB” on her arm. She posted a picture of it on Instagram and invited anyone that wanted to join this radically accepting movement to get it as well. Paying her for her artwork is nice too but she ultimately wants to project kindness and self-care into the world. She only expected a handful of people to actually do it, but the act launched a full-on phenomenon where hundreds of people joined her with self-love on their arms (or wherever they wanted it).
She decided to establish rules for the club, which are as follows:
“You must always show yourself respect, love, forgiveness, and understanding.
You must always show each other respect, love, forgiveness, and understanding.
You must be kind to your body and you must take care of your mental health.”
Cannon uses her social media to talk openly about her own struggles with her past relationships and her anxiety as well. On her social media, she often uses her Instagram story to describe how she is feeling that day, whether it be anxious, which she says includes “a lot of crying, inability to work, more crying,” or a day filled with joy as she paints in her studio or walks her dog, Whippy. She has said her mental health is improving as she is learning how to handle it and heal, but she acknowledges that healing is non-linear and that there will always be hard days. She supports and affirms her fans and followers and hopes that sharing her story will help others stand up, be strong, and support others too.
An artist that advocates for positive mental health, self-love, self-acceptance, supporting others through her artwork, and in her everyday life? Sign me UP. She is loving, kind, positive, and real, something which can be hard to find on social media these days. Her prints and apparel are super cute and can be purchased here. You can get a tattoo ticket too if you’re already down to join the self-love club! She also does custom works for tattoos and drawings. If you’re down to see more of her work, you can view her personal website here. Above all else, you can follow her on Instagram @FrancesCannon and I promise it will make your day.
ANNI CHRISTENSEN | Pam Beesly Personality | KXSU Arts Reporter