INTERVIEW: Frea Buckler

Hailing from Somerset, contemporary printmaker Frea Buckler is now based in Bristol and works predominantly with screenprint to create bright, geometric compositions that explore form, colour and structure.

We have recently been collaborating with Buckler and are proud to present our classic Syndicut swim shorts in her jazzy Zig Zag on White and Red Triangle prints pictured above, as well as on our soon-to-be-released collection of reversible women’s swimwear shown below.

Buckler’s practice “embraces the balance between chaos and control” and her screenprinted compositions challenge how we perceive form and space. Every print is unique and seems almost animated in its arrangement of angular, vibrantly coloured shapes, as though they are three-dimensional structures unfolding like origami. Frea describes her prints as “visual representations of our processes and behaviours, such as poise and balance, rather than objects.”

What are the inspirations behind your practice?

“Illusion and perception, knowing and not knowing. Minimalism, paring back. Feeling small in the scheme of things. Mountains. Colour. Following impulses, believing in intuition. The artists Ellsworth Kelly, Blinky Palermo, Imi Knoebel, Ben Nicholson, Bridget Riley and Barbara Hepworth.”

In three words how would you describe your creative practice?

“Improvised, screenprinted, serendipity.”


Left to right: Float, Glide, Untitled, Frea Buckler

What are your feelings about Syndicut and our ethos of collaboration with emerging artists and designers?

“I think it’s a great idea, a win-win situation for Syndicut and the artists involved, it has allowed me to reach an audience that I may not have done before.”


Left to right: Wrap, Hush, Shine 3, Shine 4, Frea Buckler

What are your current ongoing projects? How do these feed into your designs?

“I am making work all the time, currently I am working towards the Art Car Boot and the Autumn Art Fairs where I exhibit with Smithson Gallery, plus some other exciting projects in 2017.”


Left to right: Collate, Collate 2, Hold, Frea Buckler

Where did you study?

“Central Saint Martins in London for a degree in Fine Art and then UWE in Bristol for a Masters in Printmaking.”

How long have you been an artist?

“I have always needed to be doing something creative but I would say I have been a professional artist for about 9 years.”

How did you discover your creative discipline?

My art teacher at school was my dad and he introduced me to screenprint. I still have my first screenprint that I made when I was about 13. I fell in love with the magic of screenprinting immediately.”


Left to right: Slide, Slide 2, Slide 3, Slide 4, Frea Buckler

What initially encouraged or inspired you?

“My parents interest and appreciation of prints, visiting art galleries and particularly their interest in mid century artists such as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. They were very supportive of me studying art and my dad is an artist, still making crazy, vibrant mono-prints on his press at home.”

Is your work a response to any particular issues or topics of interest to you? If so, how do you explore and express these through your practice?

“After studying Fine Art where you have to justify every aspect of something you make, I am now more interested in following impulses and I try not to think too much. I have a vague idea of something in my head, e.g. forms and colours and then I just start screenprinting, almost drawing or painting with it - not really having any idea where it may take me. It's a curious balance between chaos and control, quite nerve wracking because I might mess it up but also very exciting.”


Left to right: Fifteen Colours from Paradise, Twelve Colours, Fifteen Greys, Frea Buckler

Which artists or artworks have particularly inspired you, or changed the way you approach your practice?

“Frank Stella, Mondrian, Fiona Curran. Also Jim Lambie's floor pieces called ZOBOP which I first saw at Tate Liverpool definitely inspired my ZigZag print. Nuria Mora a street artist from Spain and Kate Banazi and Kate Gibb, brilliant screenprinters I discovered on Instagram.”


Clockwise from top left: Jim Lambie, ZOBOP at the Royal Academy of Art, vinyl tape; Nuria Mora, Street Art; Fiona Curran, Sinking Fast, acrylic on linen with card; Kate Gibb, Process, screenprint; Kate Banazi, two screenprints; Frank Stella, Rabat, screenprint & Coxuria, lithograph and screenprint; Piet Mondrian, No. VI / Composition No. II, oil on canvas

As well as on her website and Instagram, Frea’s exciting prints can be found in the Smithson Gallery’s online collections here.