Damian Francis, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is an artist in a variety of ways. Through his music and paintings, Francis has shown the many faces of art and expression throughout the years.
Since childhood, Francis has been interested in many kinds of art, often including different mediums in his pieces.
“I use a lot of different mediums. I’m a big fan of mixed media, [where] I’ll paint and take some stuff from a magazine,” Francis said. “I [generally] work on text wove paper and a sketchbook or I’ll do visual artwork. I [also] have $400 drawing tablets.”
Francis tends to gravitate towards drawing characters or what he generally enjoys. He typically makes art for those he is close to, rather than the general following.
In art, oftentimes there will be a specific focus that relays its message to the viewer. With the art Francis produces, he focuses on expressing himself in a deeper and more significant meaning.
“[Art is] definitely an outlet for emotions. There’s a lot of stuff called vent art, which is essentially art to let out strong emotions that are hard to deal with,” Francis said. “You’ll see a lot of horror, and that’s usually [considered] vent art.”
Usually, Francis stays up for hours creating and recreating art. He spends upwards of eight hours consecutively, often drawing larger pieces at night and doodling during the day. As most hobbies go, Francis does not draw every day, instead only drawing when he has the motivation.
“Sometimes I [feel] super burnt out after a long piece or that a certain drawing makes me feel [really] bad so I’ll talk breaks,” Francis said. “I think my most recent break was about two months.”
Artists do not always come out of the womb skilled with the paint on their hands. Often, they find themselves inspired by an outside factor in which they grow from. When Francis was younger, he always enjoyed art for no particular reason besides sitting on his mother’s lap while she drew. As his mother stopped drawing while he grew older, he decided to pick up on her hobby and make it his own.
“I used to just copy people’s artwork,” Francis said.
Due to the lack of artists drawing his specific interests, Francis was motivated to learn how to draw to keep himself entertained and satisfied.
Aside from his mother and physical reminders, there are others around him that influenced him to make art. Francis looks up to comic book writers and artists, specifically the style used. One person in particular is his comic book teacher, Cory Laud, who is also an English teacher and interned under Marvel. Laud has been teaching Francis everything he needs to know for around two years now.
Francis often draws at home rather in school; he used to go to comic class every Saturday but that now has stopped due to the pandemic. Back in middle school, he used to be a part of an art club and in freshman year he was in Spoken Word.
Besides art, he often catches up with friends from school or on the internet and with hot new shows on TV. Despite not drawing while hanging out with friends, they have a lot to say to his hobby.
“Damian’s a funky little dude. His work never fails to inspire feelings of eldritch discomfort–– in the best way possible,” said Marisol Martinez, a previous MSD alumni. “I’m proud I get to watch him grow and develop as an artist. The only skill greater than his talent is his boundless and bizarre creativity.”