Graham Franciose’s Dreamlike Paintings in Watercolor and Gouache Tell a Snippet of a Story — Colossal

May 31, 2024 - Art


#Graham Franciose

a portrait of a woman with long brown hair and a patterned sweater with a vine and flower emerging from her chest. a butterfly lands on the flower

“A Bloom For a One and Only Pollinator.” All images © Graham Franciose, shared with permission

“My first memories of appreciating any form of ‘art’ were the illustrations in children’s books,” writes Graham Franciose (previously). “My grandmother had a whole bookshelf full of them in the guest room of her New England home, and my brother and cousins and I would pull them out and pour through them at every family gathering.” When paging through these formative texts, Francoise would create vast narratives to pair with the illustrations, ignoring the storylines already filling the pages.

Today, the artist takes a similar approach with his watercolor and gouache paintings. His latest exhibition titled Story to Tell comprises 40 new pieces that begin with a small seed of an idea and branch out into vast, surreal worlds. While Franciose often contemplates humans’ connection to nature and introspective journeys, this body of work sees recurring motifs of plants emerging from animal bodies and figures lost in contemplation. As with most of his dream-like paintings, subjects are portrayed in strange, unlikely situations, offering viewers several threads to spin into a larger story.

If you’re in Seattle, stop by Gallery ERGO to see the exhibition before it closes on June 10. Otherwise, find more of Franciose’s works on Instagram.


a watercolor work of a rabbit over a hole with a green vine emerging from its body and patterned objects around it

“Rabbit Hole”

a woman sits on an enormous orange-pink bird with a long beak as it wades across water with a small lighthouse strapped to its head

“Safe Passage”

a woman approaches a man in a tree with banners strung around the numerous trunks

“A visitor”

a woman sits backward on a bull holding a large flag-like objects with red and yellow patterned banners. yellow butterflies surround them

“The Bull and the Butterfly”

a woman holding a rose floats above a hole in the ground

“Plucked in its Prime”

a green vine emerges from a tiger's mouth with a patterned quilt and a yellow orb nearby

“Tiger Lilly”

an orange vine emerges from a crocodile's mouth with a patterned quilt and a yellow orb nearby

“Crocodile Eye”

#Graham Franciose


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