Gracie Frank: Beyond the Pieces

By: Omonie Richardson (Junior)

“I think I would just tell my younger self that, stop being a coward and make whatever you want.”

Gracie Frank (15) A Senn Arts Sophomore oftentimes uses media ranging from pen and paper to digital animation. Frank gives thanks to her parents for opening the pathways for her to create art. Creation was not always easy as she faced the fear of what others thought. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Growing up in Chicago

Frank started out at Lillstreet Art Center, where she would doodle and draw. She then transitioned to Beaubien, where academics was the main focus after about 3 years in, Frank and her parents both realized that the school wasn’t a good fit for her as she wasn’t able to express her creativity, that’s when she found Franklin Fine Arts Center.

“I went to Franklin Fine Arts center and it was really good, I’m really glad my parents realized that it’s something that I wanted to pursue I don’t know what I would’ve done if I stayed at Beaubien.”

The connection with art didn’t start to form until Frank was at a sleepover in 5th grade where she and a friend snuck off to the bathroom to draw my little ponies. It was really in her teens that art started to take on meanings and concepts. She finds that Senn has helped her to realize this.

“I think about 8th grade when I was like 13 or 14  that’s when I started realizing that I can use this to pursue things that I really like or make pieces about things that I really care about and I think that once I came to Senn and started learning about concepts, that was something that I really wanted to do–like I started realizing this is important.”

Most of the time, Frank finds herself keeping things simple by sticking to her sketch book with pen. She often will sketch during times of boredom or idleness as she finds that it’s the best way to decompress, as well as sketching she also does digital animation.

“Right now, I use my sketch book a lot.. I kind of whip it out when I’m bored,  when I’m

FullSizeRender (3)
Gracie’s sketch journal

not doing anything.. Or just want to decompress..I do a lot of pen on paper, or multimedia stuff on paper, in my sketch book.. And I do a lot of digital work because I have a tablet at home so I draw on photoshop, and I do animation too.”

Finding time and taking on challenges

Frank finds that the “drive” behind pieces that she creates is just what she’s interested in at the time. Most of her work is “fan work” as she finds that it’s fun and it’s something that she likes.

“A lot of times I don’t create a lot of political pieces or stuff about things going on in the world right now, a lot of pieces I do are fanwork, just because it’s fun it’s something that I like.”

Over the summer, Frank took on the challenge of doing more animation pieces she found that this was the most challenging, as she had to have a lot of patience and dedication to animate everything that she drew. Setting boundaries and knowing her limits was the key to finishing the piece she said.

Such dedication and patience is hard and sometimes overwhelming, but Frank still finds the time to just be a teen.

Outside of all art and high school, Frank is just your regular teen, who likes to hang out with her friends and be in her room.

“I do a lot of stuff with my friends, I spend a lot of time in my room because I’m a teen on my computer. I have a lot of online friends so I spend a lot of time talking to them too.”

Looking Ahead and Overcoming

When asked about what the future holds for Frank and art, she found that she doesn’t necessarily want to pursue it fully, but rather just work with it. She says that she would like to combine media with art like writing. Right now she wants to create a webcomic or even a click point game but is a bit shaky on the idea as she’s worried about the strength of her writing. For now she just wants to explore the world of media and mix things together to see the outcome.

“I feel like there’s a lot of stuff that I could do like  a whole world of possibilities–like a whole world of mediums and I really just want to like mix a lot of stuff together.”

Constant internalization and fear really stifled the young teen for awhile until her parents and friends pulled her out. The fear was undone by the support. Frank came to the conclusion that if fear held back all artists and authors then most of the things people liked or read would never be created.

“I kind of got older and realized certain things that I liked wouldn’t be created if the author or the artist was too scared to make something.”

Sometimes the only thing that you need is family.

Frank gives thanks to her parents, as they have helped her in her endeavors. From applying to Lillstreet to Senn to just helping her get her opportunities in order.

“I think my parents are really good in the way that they do care about what I’m interested in–what’s important to me I’m very lucky to have that and I think that they have supported me through a lot of my endeavors.”

Frank’s parents are both cinematographers who have helped spread the word of the IB program here at Senn to the community through documentaries. Although they aren’t sketching in a book they have helped Frank sketch out her passion for art by paving her plenty of paths.

“Even though they aren’t illustrators– they do understand the concepts and passion behind art and art making so i feel like that probably has to do– with  why they help me they’ve given me the opportunity to grow and stuff and to like do art.”

Art is able to convey any message that it likes to the viewer so long as the viewer listens. Frank finds that as she grows older there’s so much that she can do with her art and make people feel as well.

“I think I’m starting to realize what I can do with my art, how much more I can do with my art and how I can make people feel things.”

Frank hopes to continue to just explore the fields of art from media to all the opportunities it may bring.


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