Frances Hilary Hahn


Frances studied English Literature and Art History before teaching for a year in Italy where she fell in love with design. A graduate of Environmental Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Frances worked in architectural offices since from 2003-2012. Currently, she is faculty at OCADU in Environmental Design. She is a partner at Necessary Arts Company, a coworking space for creatives in downtown Guelph Ontario, where she paints. As a lifetime doodler in watercolour, Frances made the switch to acrylic and oil in 2013. Sometimes described as dream-like, her pieces depict people engaged in pastimes and imagined landscapes. Reality and fantasy mingle as simplified forms and amplified colours.

Ways I Work

What kind of artwork do you have in your home?

Colour is always a huge draw for me, but mostly I buy (or trade) art that is unlike anything I make: detailed pencil drawings, classical portraiture and photography.

Which piece of art you've created is your favourite, and why?

I painted a piece earlier this year titled, "Fuck You" that managed to communicate my intent more directly than any other. The client who purchased the piece named it.

When did you start making art, and why?

I am the kid of an artist. The beginning was too far back to remember.

Favourite movie

The Big Lebowski. Always and forevermore.

In a previous life I was (a) ...

white squirrel.

Favourite medium

Oil paint. On mylar.

Your favourite spot in Toronto right now

I had dinner at Bar Isabel in the spring and I'm smitten. And I can't wait to try Cafe Cancan, cause, well, COLOUR!

During my breaks, I tend to ...

bike really fast.

Describe your home in 3 words

colourful, eclectic, energetic

Best season of the year in Toronto

spring. To be more precise, 7 to 8 am on a weekday walking to work.

What artists do you admire right now?

I'm crushing on Kristy Blackwell and American Painter Michael Carson. I get lost in the landscapes of Mel Gausden and Australian Richard Claremont. And Minnie Pwerle. And the cleverness of Susanna Scott.

Beverage of choice

fizzy water. Or coffee. Or fizzy water. Wait, no, coffee wins.

Favourite book

Just one?

Why is it important for people to have art in their home or life?

Art has the power to be densely meaningful and at the same time provide joy and levity. There's little else that can compare.

What do you listen to when you work?

Podcasts and music. 50/50

Favourite musical artist / band right now

Sylvan Esso

Only thing you need when you leave the house


Describe the person your work appeals to in 3 words

Thoughtful. Full of life. A lover.

What places do you hang out in Toronto?

I teach at OCADU so lots of spots around there, but my heart will forever be attached to Dufferin Grove Park

How long have you been creating art?

I've been painting almost full time for four years. Before that I was a designer

When I'm not making art, I'm (a) ...

teaching. Being a mama. Reading.

Why is art important to you?

Only way to make sense of all the tiny pieces of stardust spinning around the sun.

Everyone should know about

how to play, at any age.


Hello world