Design + Illustration Studio

Design Updates + Inspirations


Spaces // Mary Frances Foster

Excited to shared today’s Spaces feature with you, as we take a look into Mary Frances Foster’s beautiful workspace. Mary Frances is a graphic designer and mixed media artist, her work is always perfectly thought out and beautifully vintage. Take a look!

Tell us about yourself as a creative.
I am a freelance graphic designer, art director and mixed media artist living (and working) from the second floor of a two-family flat in St. Louis. I’d say my main objective is to tell a story. To create a careful connection, evoking a delicate narrative between the words and imagery by using a hands-on design approach. Day-to-day I work on design projects ranging from branding to print, styling to stationery, packaging to web design. In addition, I’m planning to open an online shop offering my own original collage works, prints and stationery later this year.

Describe your creative journey.
I am fortunate to have been born to a creatively eclectic crew. My maternal Grandma is what I would consider a [Charlene] of all trades; graphic designer, painter, sign-painter, doll maker…one of those women who could do–and did–everything real well. My Mom and my Aunt certainly inherited her curiosity and creativity (I’ll probably never completely comprehend their collections). I guess growing up, I observed Mom with her careful collections and Dad, his apparent love for music and somewhere along the line I acquired my own capacity to connect and collect–and eventually create. And certainly to care about it all.

I remember in preschool, my teacher had the teeniest silver pencil on her desk. It was as long as my pointer, skinny as a coffee-stirrer, and had a single line of hearts all the way up the side in every shade of the rainbow. I had to have it. Once I finally fessed up about fawning over it, she gave it to me and even though I studied it every night, I never so much as drew a line with it. I imagine that’s where it all started.

After studying design a couple years (with a heavy emphasis on fine art), I interned as a junior art director at a local advertising agency where I was soon hired on full-time. From there, I worked for a handful of creative agencies for the next 6+ years as an art director, enabling me to work with big-name clients–and actually getting to see my work on the shelf. All-the-while, I found myself sort of grabbing for something with substance. I’d spend my evenings scouring websites, scanning bookstores. On the weekend, I’d hit antique shops and see as much live music as I could. I started to slowly sort through it all. This was when I began developing my illustration style, and I started a blog to get out the creative energy I had pent-up day-in and day-out working on things that I felt weren’t fully utilizing my own voice. Something clicked. Since then, I founded and ran an art gallery for about a year (until someone bought our space), continuously dabbled in creative going-ons and am now working on my own, designing for a diverse selection of start-ups, on a handful of exciting new projects. So, things are really just getting started! I’m excited for everything on the horizon.

Share a little bit about your space.
I moved in in November and am finally feeling settled. It’s right on the park and a block from the international district here that has great food, quaint bars and a few great coffee shops. It’s been great for meeting with clients and other creatives day-to-day without having to get in the car at all. As far as the space itself, it has much more light than my previous place and I really love having a place for all of my “creative messes” aside from the dining room table. Although, I still like to spread out and work there quite a bit. My office is small, but sort of a perfect fit. Nothing compares to the character of an old building (and the pocket door kills me).

What’s your favorite thing about your space?
Since working from home, I love that I can listen to music–a turntable even–without headphones on, or for that matter not worrying that the music I’ve selected isn’t going to totally bum my neighbor out. Also, since I moved my desk to lookout the window, I look forward to seeing the old man across the street leave with his dog a handful of times each day. They’re gone for about 20 minutes each time and look like they have a ball together.

What’s one thing you think every creative needs in their space?
Whos-its and whats-its galore. Books, certainly. Sounds. Strong coffee… Abandon.

Thanks Mary Frances!

Check her out:
+ Website
+ Blog
+ Twitter
+ Dribbble