Onwards Together: An interview with artist Frea Buckler

June 2020

This week, Fora unveiled vibrant art installations across all of our locations in London and Reading. The installation is titled Onwards by artist Frea Buckler.

By placing ‘Onwards’ in our windows, we declare our commitment to projecting optimism not only to our Residents, but also to passers-by of the communities in which Fora resides. The partnership with Frea Buckler aligns with our continued desire to be the home for new ideas, connections and experiences, and the initiative is part of our continued partnership with Jealous Gallery based in Shoreditch.

Frea Buckler studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and MA Multidisciplinary Printmaking at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has been nominated for awards including the Aesthetica Art Prize and the Neo: Print Prize. Fora’s co-founder and head of experience, Katrina Larkin, caught up with Frea to talk about Onwards, her inspiration and her experience of lockdown…

At Fora, creating spaces that enhance productivity and creativity is key to our approach, where do you draw your Inspiration from?

My studio is so important, it allows me a space to separate myself from home. It’s filled with light, has high ceilings, is aesthetically pleasing and I need to keep it tidy. I’m strict with my time and have always been very disciplined in my approach to work. I do have days where the inspiration isn’t flowing, but I have come to accept that as part of the process and it’s important to me to live with those bad days, by going back to the basics, rewinding, doing something that comes naturally to me such as creating a collage, looking at colours and looking at other artists work that inspires me. Keep doing things, don’t sit and think, just do things – It can be as simple as folding paper and the inspiration starts to flow again. The process of my work looks very geometric, but it’s quite chaotic, the work is not pre-planned, but slowly the creation becomes aligned.

Did you take note of the rainbows before we started working together?

Yes, lots. In people’s windows in Bristol where I live. I like seeing children’s drawings and inventive interpretation of the rainbow.

Did you think you would be creating a rainbow?

No as it’s quite hard to reform from what it is, as it’s quite childlike and there are no curves in my work.

So what encouraged you to work with us?

I liked Fora very quickly, what you stand for and the message and I wanted to create a piece of work for the people who worked in those spaces. Knowing they might be going through all the mixed emotions I was. Also, art is a great healer and can do powerful things to support the viewer. I can’t work on the frontline, but I can use my work to try and spread positivity. 

What do you want people to take away when they see the piece?

In reality, stimulation when they enter the building – art has the power to transform a feeling, lift some apprehension from the moment. The colours I work in can have an uplifting effect and hopefully an elevation of feelings. People will be returning to work in curious states of mind and the Rainbow symbolises our unity and moving forward. I am not glossing over what’s happened, as we are all dealing with different levels of stress – I certainly don’t want it to look like a jolly plaster over the window. I hope that people like it and respond in a way that is positive. For me success is not monetary, but a bad reaction is also ok, I just hope they take a moment to reflect.

Have you worked through lockdown?

When you first approached me with the idea, you were the first contact to reach out to me regarding work and I felt a sense of strangeness. I’d been in my family ‘bubble’ – I think I found it apprehensive at first and I’m sure people will be feeling similar when they first walk in the door. Now I am with my family each morning and work each afternoon in my studio. I have rembraced the discipline of my work.


You can see Frea’s uplifting works via her Instagram and the Jealous Gallery website.