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Frea Buckler


How do you decide on a composition or colour scheme?

“I improvise my work; I start with a red(ish) type print or a green type print and I’ll put the first colour down and then I just kind of intuitively follow with the next colour. So I may have the first few colours imagined in my head but I won’t ever have a picture of the whole thing.”

“It evolves as the print evolves; always responding to what you’ve done before and it kind of grows like that. Yet in a way I never quite know what’s going to come out.”

“I do have set colours that I use, my favourite colours. But I try to use different colours to see how it would work, sometimes they don’t. However its good as I don’t want to be safe all the time. To make it more interesting, you do get surprised with what can happen.”

“… The same applies to composition really, some of my work sort of expands across the page. Then others are more like boxes, open out like nets type thing. So I would probably have the idea of wanting to either one of those two things.”

Is every print meant to resemble something?

“I never intentionally set out to achieve anything. They aren’t meant to look like boxes, however they do, they are almost a metaphor for life, making connections or kind of the way we are compartmentalise; having things in different places. So they aren’t intended to look like boxes they are made to be suggestions for that.”

“… Yet what happens is they are often linked to origami a little bit, which isn’t intentional; they quite often end up looking like birds or fish. As people we really try to see those things in them. Yet anything that ends up looking like anything, I tend to reject.”

Do you often create prints with the intention of then recreating them in 3-D?

“I think naturally my prints refer to three-dimension, almost playing with the idea of are they 3-D or are they flat? Especially my most recent prints with the lines, our brains automatically try to see three-dimensions.”

“I haven’t ever actually tried to make one (a print) into a 3D object, I do kind of think it could be something to do. But another big part of my practise is not planning or thinking too much. I tend to find if I think too much, I get bored and things get boring.”

What is your process from start to finish?

“…So now I’ve basically got rid of anything in my process that I don’t enjoy doing. So I expose one screen, I could use that screen for a year and mask area’s off with tape. It’s all analogue, I don’t use the computer at all anymore; I cut all my stencils from card, so I’m just exposing bits of card onto the screen.”

“… I kind of describe it like drawing with screen print because I just sort of ‘go’. You usually design the screen print, make your separations then you print it out so it looks like what it does on your screen, I mean that’s how I use to work. There is a real satisfaction in that and you create an addition. I just wanted to undo that and come at it slightly differently.”

“Leaving yourself open for things that might go wrong.”

Names of people that inspire you and how does it reflect in your work?

“Ascetically I like people like Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Carmen Herrera. Strangely I like peoples work that far more paired back then mine. They’re the kind of artists that I’m looking at, naturally I don’t do that myself I can’t leave things that simple or minimal. I just love to keep adding stuff.”

“… On instagram there is Kate Benassi, she’s an British Artist living over in Australia. She great because she’s a free sort of stylist screen printer in a similar way to me.”

How important is social media to your career?

“It’s been really amazing actually for me as a person as I’m quite shy, I’m not someone who would go round saying “hey look I’ve done this” or necessarily talk about what I’ve done. But in a way my Instagram account started out as almost a kind of sketchbook of my work, for me to record things for myslef and in a way it’s still just for me and making a record of everything I’ve done but it so happens there is also all these other people who have excess and can follow my work also”

Have you got any examples of your earlier work?

“On my MA I was doing a lot of full colour separation, lots of photographic found imagery. Really different to what I do now, most of the images were collected from holiday brochures. Yet again all about illusions and perception, not knowing. That idea of a place you find in holiday brochures, big lovely, colourful pictures of turquoise seas and things like that. So there was a lot of wildlife in it, mountains, skies… Then gradually over time I sort of paired that back and they just became rings, I simplified the whole process over quiet a long time. So it became all about the colour and getting away from the idea of what I was doing and more about how it made you feel creating that work.”

Teach us a skill in 5 minutes?

“I would like to teach others to listen, to override their mind and tap into your feelings when you’re making something. For me, matching up neat, flat colours is satisfying, yet we all have different things. I would like others to be aware of those things themselves.”

Interview conducted by George Bone, Hedongfang Li and Morgan Kinniard


Frea Buckler is a Bristol based artist who resides in the use of improvisation or as she refers to it ‘freestyle-printing’. Buckler studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, then going on to do a Masters in Printing at UWE Bristol. Often her prints show overlaying geometric shapes, with warm pastel colours that complement each other and create a sense of depth and three-dimension. Frea also works part time as an instructor in UWE’s printing studios to pass on her expertise as a practitioner.

Frea’s social media attention has been a big part of her recent success. What started out as a way of documenting her work, her Instagram account (@freabuckler) attracted over 20k followers.

More information on Frea can be found at her website: and her work can be purchased through the Smithson Gallery website: