FRANCESCA GAVIN, VISUAL ARTS JOURNALIST AND CURATOR

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Francesca Gavin juggles multiple editorial roles, including Visual Arts Editor for Dazed & Confused, Art Editor for Twin and Contributing Editor at AnOther, while writing on art for a range of publications and curating shows. Francesca tells me why a career is what you make of it and how she picks artists to write about…


Did you always want to be an art journalist? 
I did History of Art at university but never thought I’d do anything with it because I didn’t think there was any way to make a living out of it – I just loved the subject. I used to say the one thing I didn’t want to be was a journalist. I knew lots of music journalists when I was a teenager because I grew up near Camden. It all seemed a bit awful but I had bought five magazines a week from the age of 12, so it was a world I knew.

I actually began at Dazed. I called them up and said, “I want your job, how do I get it?” I’d left university at this point and had been working for a year and a half in a picture research department at a book publisher. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a journalist until I was at Dazed. Then it started making sense. I loved being in that environment. I remember sweeping floors with eagerness! And I loved opening post – it felt like Christmas looking at everyone’s invites and press releases.

So did you start out as an intern?
I interned part-time and worked part-time for a year. I started doing bits of writing while I was there and it all felt natural. I don’t think anyone can teach you to write. You have to learn from doing it. I never understood people doing journalism postgrads. If I started again, I definitely wouldn’t do one.  I’ve always believed you need to create your own life. If you want to learn about magazine structure, just look at magazines. Cultural journalism is about coming up with ideas you find yourself.



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