by Shauna Grissett, photos by Candra George
BECKY FOS, born and raised in Austin, Texas, never aspired to be a painter, let alone to have a gallery on famous Magazine Street. In fact, it was a series of unexpected occurrences that led to her future destiny. Well, that and natural talent. Unbelievably, Fos never studied studio art or painting in a traditional setting and says, “I always loved art, but except for in high school, I’ve had no formal training.”
With art not on the forefront of her mind, Fos’ life took off in a different direction with her focus on finding the right career and caring for her young family. “Initially, I started painting to relieve stress. That, and I was tired of looking at the bare, white walls in my house. I needed ‘art’ to decorate but couldn’t afford it and thought I could paint my own. I went to the art supply store with my little boy, bought some really cheap supplies and just started painting. And, that’s how I got started.” While this time may have felt a bit challenging for her, Fos would soon understand that her life was going exactly according to plan.
Back then, Fos was living in Old Gretna. “I had painted this purple cow, and when I went to the frame shop to pick it up, the owner told me that Terrance Osborne wanted to buy it. Terrance said that he loved my art because it was so colorful and vibrant. And the fact that I didn’t go to art school or have any training really impressed him. I couldn’t believe it!”
Now, lady luck was beginning to show her hand. Osborne has since become a mentor and friend to Fos and owns two pieces of her work.
The frame shop functioned as Fos’ first gallery, and the owner showed her paintings in the store’s windows. “I started selling that way, in the frame shop, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. Then, I did my first festival, Gretna Fest. It was there that I made a connection with someone who owned a frame shop on Metairie Road. He offered me half of his shop to show my art.” Her work proved to be so popular and sold so well that within the first week, a gallery on Royal Street contacted Fos about representing her. Luck was now clearly smiling down on Fos and her future was coming into focus.
After only a few short months on Royal Street, Fos made the decision to represent herself and opened her own gallery on Magazine Street, near Napoleon. “I remember when I signed the lease for my first gallery three years ago, it was really scary. But then I said to myself, ‘What do I have to lose?’ Making that first jump was extremely hard, but you only live once, and I don’t want to live with regrets. I feel so fortunate that I can make a living with my art and provide for my son.” She has since outgrown her first studio and is now located in Gallery B. Fos, on Magazine Street near Jackson Avenue. Fos has amassed a worldwide audience and is presently looking for gallery spaces in Florida and Texas.
Fos’ paintings are bold and energetic, and she is known for her impasto technique, applying wet, undiluted oil paint with a palette knife to the canvas. Her unabashed use of color is the centerpiece of her work and inspires an instant sense of joy. She says, “When I’m at the gallery and see the happy expressions on my clients’ faces, it makes everything worthwhile. I finally found my purpose in life, to make people happy with my art.”
And, yes, people are very happy with Fos’ art. Not only does she have local and worldwide client bases, but she is sponsored by two international brands: Lululemon and Evamor Water. “I’m a workout fanatic, and I love CrossFit. I have my daily routine—I wake up, drop off my little boy and I work out. Then, I go to the studio and paint. When I don’t work out, it throws me completely off; I need the endorphins!”
In terms of artistic inspiration, Fos cites Van Gogh, Picasso, Basquiat, James Michalopoulos and Terrance Osborne as particular favorites. And what moves her to pick up her palette knife and oil paints? “I gather boundless inspiration from all corners of this wild, beautiful, and colorful city. New Orleans is my muse. And, I continually return to cows and pelicans as subject matter. I don’t know if that’s because I’m from Texas and now live in Louisiana, but they are my favorites. I love to paint pelicans in action, flying in the air and then landing.”
One thing’s for sure, and it was obviously written in the stars, Fos’ career and creative energy are soaring, just like her beloved pelicans. “For me, painting is the most authentic way to express myself, and I try to transform the spirit of my inspirations into oil paintings.”
Gallery B. Fos is located at 2138 Magazine St., 444-2967, firstname.lastname@example.org.