Finding Beauty in the chaos of an uncertain world - Life UK Publications

ARTBAG is the creation of British artist Debra Franses, born in London, went to school in Rickmansworth, started her family in New,York, and now resides in Buckinghamshire.

During lockdown Debra opened a boutique gallery in Amersham as all her shows were cancelled. This she said was therapeutic and helped her to

remember the exciting world that she had worked for the last 15 years to be a part of. You might walk past the small windows and bright pink door assuming it to be a charming cottage, however once inside your entering into a world of wild imagination. Think Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory, only voyeuristic transparent resin handbag sculptures.

We asked Debra, why the fascination for the handbag? Her father was in the industry for over 40 years and she was given handbag gifts from an early age when he travelled which was often. The handbag represents a psychological canvas for her mind saying “we are what we carry.” They also made excellent dolls houses when she was little and enabled her to imagine womanhood and play with fashion.

Debra studied at London’s Central Saint Martins, graduating in 2005 and launched a boutique design company, Couturious, after winning student prizes for her innovative designs. These quirky designs were turned into wallpaper and fabrics which showcased in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.

It was whilst studying Art in the early 2000s that the idea for ARTBAG first took shape. She took a couture handbag and adapted it into a silicone mould, and then discovered her preferred media, “resin”.

Good ideas feed themselves. Do what you love and do it well, believe in yourself and follow your dreams and your audience will find you

Her first casting was a handbag containing a goldfish. She called the artwork “catch”. It was a playful joke to get the attention of Damien Hirst who was floating sharks in tanks of formaldehyde at the Saatchi gallery. She, placed “catch” in a fish tank full of water on a gallery plinth and the Artbag concept was created.

Today, amongst other things, she casts luxury consumer goods alongside familiar utilitarian objects inside replica Hermes Birkin Bags, LV Briefcases and her own iconic handbag design. Today Debra’s art is admired in galleries and museums, as well as being commissioned by brands such as Coca Cola, Gucci, NY Fashion Week, Fairmont Hotels, and is currently exhibiting at the IFC in Shanghai. The billionaire, philanthropist and art collector, Steve Cohen, bought two pieces from Gallery Biba in Palm Beach further cementing her reputation as an investible artist.

The large sculptures are expensive and make a statement in themselves about wealth – However, she has launched some smaller ARTBAGS perfect for the dressing table or powder room. She also creates elegant illuminated photographic prints which you can buy from her gallery directly – or on her website These more affordable editions cannot be found in the luxury galleries who represent her. You can also take a workshop with her in the studio, learning how to cast and pour resin or create an Artbag memories wall piece of your own. Workshops cost upwards of £150 and make a great gift for the novice or experienced artist.

Debra tries to explain ARTBAG in words but struggles and says – that’s why I make art and don’t write! They just look gorgeous, and you connect to them instantly as they evoke memories from movies, pop culture, media and a sense of nostalgic familiarity - a calm order in the messy, disorganized beauty of human life.

She finds meaning in objects which hold memories; after lockdown took away so many of our liberties. These frozen snapshots are like our lives - “frozen in a moment of time”.

Everything was cancelled; fashion weeks in New York, gallery shows, the Dubai diamond handbag just all stopped” Thanks to the internet many collectors found her work online and started commissioning new pieces, so life continued calmly in her studio without all the travel and running around.

She is just working on a new collection to launch before Christmas for British gallery group Clarendon Fine Art who have several galleries in Marlow, Beaconsfield and Windsor.

Debra believes that “Good ideas feed themselves. Do what you love and do it well, believe in yourself and follow your dreams and your audience will find you”. In 2010 after recovering from breast cancer, Debra set up Mini Monets, a children’s art school currently based in Amersham where she has inspired hundreds of students to express themselves through art.

Palace -Class Artbags Exhibition

Shanghai ifc shopping mall丨Grand Art Package Exhibition Glory National Day

In order to promote fashion art creation, Shanghai ifc mall held a special "Hall Art Package Exhibition" on this National Day. We sincerely invite internationally renowned British artist Debra Franses to join hands in creating a fashionable bag art exhibition. Incorporating the dynamic airport luggage conveyor belt into the creativity, it means that all the art exhibits will be airborne in Shanghai continuously, presenting the unparalleled and elegant visual feast of Shencheng this autumn. Let every customer who visits the mall experience the artistic creativity of the palace-class bags, enjoy the grand ceremony of fashion and celebrate the beautiful season together during the National Day Golden Week.

Feng Xiuyan, Executive Director of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said: “Shanghai ifc mall has been continuously holding trend-leading art activities to create a diversified fashion shopping experience for customers pursuing high-end quality of life. In order to welcome the National Day Golden Week, the mall specializes With the theme of bag art, the "Palace Art Bag Exhibition" was held. British fashion creative artist Debra Franses was invited to exhibit for the first time in China, injecting ladies’ most beloved bags with unique creativity and shaping Ingenious works of art. The shopping mall has specially created two large and dazzling artistic bags, and based on the installation of the airport baggage claim area, it presents a bright fashion art corridor on the first floor of the Avenue of Stars. Customers can be on the static luggage conveyor belt , Tasting unique creative works with the rhythm of "dazzling" life, as if all artworks have just arrived in Shanghai, you can take the lead in appreciating them. While enjoying the fashionable products, you can also participate in the first interactive art bag game. The perfect combination of diverse cultures, experience high-quality art palaces and luxurious and elegant fashion lifestyles."

Huang Zhisheng, general manager of the shopping mall leasing department of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency Co., Ltd. continued: “During the National Day Golden Week, customers on the Avenue of Stars in the shopping mall can not only appreciate the top bag art works and experience the most creative fashion installation space, but also Watch the wonderful carnival show from the art troupe, and enjoy the unparalleled joy of art. In addition, in order to respond to the call to drive consumption, customers can also enjoy exclusive and exclusive shopping rewards during the Golden Week, inviting everyone in the joyful shopping fun Customers spend the National Day together."


Creative Fashion Dynamic Art Gallery

The mall invited the well-known British artist Debra Franses to jointly create a large-scale fashion art installation [Creative Fashion Dynamic Art Gallery] with a length of more than 20 meters and a height of 3 meters on the Avenue of Stars on the first floor. Gorgeous fashion art bag installations, dynamic airport luggage conveyor belts, colorful creative bags and colorful lights create an eye-catching fashion art gallery. Large-scale bag installations using noble and elegant electroplating colors and colorful neon Melaleuca light effects stand on both sides of the promenade, echoing the art bags of the airport luggage conveyor belt, as if all artworks are the latest arrival In Shanghai, Shanghai customers can enjoy the world's top bag trends for the first time, and explore the ensuing palace-level artworks in a "many" way of life.


Invest in  Art Bags

In addition to the creation of Debra Franses, she also collaborated with other world-class fashion designers in cross-border collaborations, including: the British world's top fashionista (Gary James McQueen), internationally renowned cross-border artist (Whathisname) ), internationally renowned dessert pop artist (Betsy Enzensberger), etc. exhibited dozens of world-renowned avant-garde bag art works. The unique creative design style, eye-catching fashion items are placed in the bag, and there are more artistic elements such as artist exclusive dolls, lifelike insect specimens, colorful candies, etc., which vividly conveys the palace-level design aesthetics. The combination of superb craftsmanship and unconstrained creativity, brilliant colors, novel elements, and admirable, will constantly move your eyeballs, which is extremely visually stunning and enjoyable, and enjoy the artistic feast brought by fashion trends.

GO "Buy" bags together

Palace Art Bag Exhibition at ifc Shanghai Time Out

Starting over October holiday, Shanghai ifc Shopping Mall is presenting a bag art exhibition by internationally renowned British artist Debra Franses. Displayed like a luggage carousel at the airport, the exhibit is a flash of creativity for shoppers in the mall.
Click here to see on Time Out Shanghai website