Debra Frances Bean is Born 1967, London.
Lived and worked in New York and is now based in London.

Debra describes Artbag as a window into her soul. It was whilst studying at Central St Martins School of Art (2002-2005) that the idea for these first materialised. Debra took a beautiful handbag from a top couture house and adapted it into a silicone mould for casting.

The first bag was in heavy white plaster, but, her next bag, catch, was cast in resin and featured a goldfish inside a tank of water, mounted on a plinth. Her first pieces were highly autobiographical, as through these Debra visualised how she was feeling about various areas of her life.

Although this focus has shifted over time, Debra acknowledges that every bag is a distillation of who she has met, where she has been and what she has seen in the world. As Debra explains, ‘…all interactions leave a trace in me which inspire my work’. Every Artbag has a title and these are equally as intriguing: ranging from a single, punchy word through to smart, thought-provoking statements which brand and define the Artbag.

Debra explores ideas centred on consumption and mass production and recognises the complex relationship we have with material objects as consumable goods. With their kitschy elements these works are a clear nod to pop art, brought into the digital age: now more than ever, we curate and display the emblems that we love and they curate and display us.

Spanning luxury and familiarity, the elements held in each bag combine comfort, prestige and style. Resin encapsulation gives the chosen items a visually-intensified presence, with the anticipation of their consumption forever suspended in time, never to be realised.

The creation of an artbag has been likened to mummification in a slick and chic resin coffin. Objects are selected to ensure that they won’t break or melt in the casting process; occasionally, delicate items need their own mould. The silicone mould of the handbag comprises two parts and an initial layer of objects is laid out in each half.

Liquid resin is poured in, in layers, with a day in between for each layer to cure and with further objects added to build up the layers. To remove any last traces of air, the completed handbag is then put into a pressure chamber. This is the most delicate stage of the process as bubbles can be created in the resin. Once cured, the handbag stays in the mould for several days and when removed it is sanded down, polished to a high sheen and lacquered.

Debra Franses Bean was born in London in 1967. She studied Politics and Economics and initially pursued a career in advertising. She has lived and worked in New York and London, where she is now based. Her Artbags have been exhibited in galleries around the globe and she also undertakes private commissions. In 2015 she created works for the Coca Cola Museum to celebrate 100 years of the iconic coke bottle design and her works were shown alongside pieces by some of Debra’s own personal art heroes.

2002 – 2005 BA FA Central Saint Martins, London
2001 – 2002 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, City & Guilds, LondonMy sculptures are kitsch resin handbags – with dollar bills, My Little Ponies, pocket watches, or rusted keys encased within them presenting the viewer with a parody of commercial designer desirables through hyper-real emulation.

My work takes its cue from the kitschy elements of popular culture, referencing both pop art and post modernism’s endeavours to embody these ideals. The relentless repetition of this as a form and concept is replete with notions of the mass manufactured products that contribute to society’s increasingly cluttered landscape of ‘stuff’.

I explore ideas centred on consumption and mass production and acknowledge the complex relationship that we have with material objects as consumable goods – our penchant to consume is denigrated by the ensuing guilt and anxiety that tends to follow. These handbags are commodities in and of themselves.

In as much as these works are a nod to pop art, they also allude to the digital age, as the very process by which the contents of these resin handbags are acquired is through online shopping and social networking.


London art fair Islington Mark Jason Gallery
Hong Kong AAF Mark Jason Gallery
Scope Basel & Miami Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
Ghent Art Fair Axel Pairon Antwerp
Amsterdam AAF Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
Hamburg AAF Wanrooij Gallery Arnhem
“Upon Reflection” Quidley &Co, Boston
Battersea and Hampstead AAF Mark Jason Gallery
Fight for Sight Art auction
Scope Basel, Wanrooij Gallery
Bucks Open Studios, The Red House, Harefield
Quidley & Co Nantucket USA
Launch @ Biba Gallery Palm Beach

Scope Miami, Wanrooij Gallery
Affordable Art Fair (London, Singapore, New York), Mark Jason Gallery
Affordable Art Fair (Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels), Wanrooij Gallery
Boston Art Fair, Quidley & Company
Gallery artists, Axel Pieron, Antwerp Belgium
Greenwich Art and Design, Stanford USA, Manart Gallery Paris
Urban Intersections, Quidley & Company Boston
Knokke, Axel Pairon , Antwerp, Belgium,
Gallery Opening Show, Manart, Paris
Realisme, Amsterdam, Wanrooij Gallery
London Art Fair, Mark Jason Gallery

London Art Fair, Mark Jason Gallery
20/21 Royal College of Art, Mark Jason Gallery
John Lennon Show, Legend Celebrity Art, London
Affordable Art Fair (London and New York), Mark Jason Gallery
Affordable Art Fair (Brussels, Amsterdam), Wanrooij Gallery
Art Chicago, Mark Jason Gallery
A-P and Beyond, London
London Design Week, Brompton Oratory, London
Art London, London
“Identity”, RED PENGUIN GALLERY, El Court Ingles Marbella, Spain
Miljonair Fair, Amsterdam

London Art Fair, Mark Jason Gallery
Affordable Art Fair (London, New York), Mark Jason Gallery
Legende Celebrity Art, Embassy Rooms, Art Auction
Recollect, Hampstead Museum Burgh House, London
Midsummer salon des artes, Hampstead, London
London Design Week Milk Concept Boutique, London
Art London, Mark Jason Gallery

‘Handbags’ solo launch show at Artware Editions in New York
‘Group show portraits’, Galleria Fine art gallery, Guatemala
‘The destruction and the glory’ New paintings, London

June New Designers, Couturious, London
Degree show, Saint Martins, London

The art of love, Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, London
The gift part 2, Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, COFA, Sydney
Third Draw Down, Kudos Gallery, Sydney
Living London, London Collage of Fashion, London
Sculpture, Central Saint Martins, London
The Visitor, 23 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, London
Visitors, Films, Hamburg, Germany

2013 Manart Gallery, Paris
2010 Koukan gallery, London
2009 Launch show – Artware editions, New York
2005 Handbag and wallpaper installation, Selfridges Design room, London
2005 Wallpaper and sculpture installation, Harvey Nichols, London
2004 “A collection of Bags”, Glaxo Smithkline, Harlow, Essex

2005 Edward James Foundation bursary
2004 Digetex printing bursary
2003 Central Saint Martins printing & travel bursary for Venice

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