Artist profile - Grace Foster

Grace Foster sketching for some of the huge murals she has planned

Grace Foster sketching for some of the huge murals she has planned - Credit: Archant

A young woman from Broughton-in-Furness is specialising in large scale murals inspired by anything from the natural world to comic books

Customers in a cafe sit in front of one Grace's huge murals

Customers in a cafe sit in front of one Grace's huge murals - Credit: Archant

From Harry Potter to surrealist mythology and a world filled with ethereal feminine characters, Grace Foster’s art is dominated by nature and delicate line work.

Award winning Grace, aged 28 is from Broughton in Furness but she studied at Leeds Arts University, specialising in textiles and surface pattern design after leaving The John Ruskin School in Coniston.

‘Art school isn’t for everyone; it is not necessarily the way everyone learns. I went through some low points while I was at uni,’ she says.

‘Sometimes, the pressure of exams can detract from the creative process, but I guess it was a good example of the art world, sticking to tight deadlines. I had a great art teacher at John Ruskin, Mrs Walton, who really pushed me to pursue a career in art.’

Grace with a book of designs

Grace with a book of designs - Credit: Archant

Growing up in the Lake District surrounded by nature played a big role the inspiration in her work. ‘I knew at a very young age I wanted to be an artist, but was unsure about the route to take. I figured if I dabbled in as many different areas as I could I would eventually find what I loved the most.’

When she was 18 she went to London and got a job with the prosthetics and make-up team at Warner Brothers.

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‘We were working on the Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows, at the time and I learnt about set designs, make-up – and wizards!’

In 2013 Grace went to Denmark to enter a competition by the contemporary rug company Ege. ‘My design was based on the strange and unique sea creatures called basket stars. My aim was to build awareness of this delicate sea life and how we are carelessly destroying it. I was astounded when I was named the winner.’

Eight years ago she went to Nepal where she worked rehabilitating a group of young deaf females who had been trafficked. ‘I had to learn sign language then teach them new skills. They were the sweetest girls imaginable, and I am still in touch with some of them. they named me Didi, which means sister.

‘Working closely with these girls really opened my eyes and challenged me, even though it was heart-breaking sometimes, it helped me grow as a person and an artist.’

Back home, she is with a creative group painting large murals and designs on theatres and restaurants doors, walls and windows nationwide. She experiments with the combination of botanicals and portraiture. Mythology, sacred geometry, comics and animation also play a role in her work.

‘I would like to paint more large murals and to hone my craft and style or maybe do a similar project like Nepal,’ she says. ‘I plan to have a few solo exhibitions, but, who knows what opportunities or people I may meet within the next ten years?’