Ana Frois is a portuguese architect and self-taught illustrator based in Coimbra, Portugal. She graduated in Architecture, University of Coimbra. Since 2012, she has been working mainly with drawing and illustration.
Conversation with Ana Frois
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I’m from a village in the center of Portugal. It’s rural area surrounded by mountains. When I was a teenager, I moved to Coimbra to continue my studies and still live here. Coimbra is a University City in the centre of Portugal, not far from the place where I grew up.
When did you become an artist and what was your first project?
I am an architect and self-taught illustrator. Although, I’ve always been interested in art and illustration until four years ago, I had only worked as an architect.
In 2012, as I wasn’t happy with my job, I decided to take illustration and drawing more seriously. I started with simple drawings, mainly some small botanical drawings, and enjoy it so much that it became clear to me that I wanted to continue.
One of my first projects was a series of the green houses which resulted on Green House (I) and Greenhouse (II). These two drawings are still among my favorites.
Did you study art in school, if so where?
I didn’t go to Art School. I studied architecture at University of Coimbra for 6 years and later, I did a Postgraduate course in Architecture also at University of Coimbra. I had some drawing and art history classes while studying architecture, but mainly I am self-taught.
What inspires you? Any particular artists?
Objects, pieces of furniture, houses and elements of nature always inspire me. I am always under the spell of something.
I am interested in drawing as primary and dynamic medium to creative thought. Aphorism and poetry are key elements in my work process.
As for favorite artists, I love the work of Philippe Weisbecker, namely his green houses and his drawings ordinary objects. When I first saw his drawings, I thought, Dam! I wish I had done that!
Also, I’ve been following Rachel Whitbread’s work since my university days. Although, she is mainly known as a sculptor, her drawings are so beautiful and interesting. I love her use of color and the ghostly character of her drawings.
What are some of the ideas behind your work?
Home and private space are the ideas that I am most interested in. I like to draw house elements like doors, switchers, stairs and windows. It all started as natural extension of my academic background, as these ideas have a strong connection to architecture. But soon they turned into the main focus of my drawings.
Nature plays also big role in my drawings. What often interest me is the structure of natural elements, like the structure of a leaf or tree. I find that drawing is the perfect medium to reveal these patterns and structures.
In these kind of drawings, I sometimes incorporate photography and some small collages of natural elements.