Fran studied art and sociology as an undergraduate at Brandeis University and then received an MSW, working for several years with heroin addicts. Discovering that she could indeed earn a living in the arts, she earned an MFA in graphic design but spent most of her grad school years in the darkroom. She wanted to be a photographer but didn't want to shoot weddings or war zones; she wanted to do animation, but didn't have the patience. She turned to graphic design because it was the perfect intersection of fine art, commerce and psychology, and from graphic design she came to understand the emotional power of visual communication within a defined space.
She held a succession of positions in the field of illustration and design: branding, print, and signage for corporate, arts, and retail establishments; CD-roms for books, museum installations, sales and training; book cover illustrations; animations, multimedia, and web designs. Additionally, she was Senior Designer with AOL Time Warner, where she was designer of the preeminent web site devoted to African American culture and where she produced photo illustrations for the daily editorial content.
Between professional life and raising two daughters, Fran continued to create her personal art, combining her illustrative and photographic skills with a passion for surrealism, paradox, illusion, assemblage, and the dislocations of time and place.
Fran's photo-paintings are in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM, Washington, DC), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Grace Museum, Abilene, and the North Down Museum, Northern Ireland.
Fran is a Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and teaches workshops at selected schools in the US and abroad. She is also a recipient of grants from the Sassower, Tyre, Tavris, and Puffin Foundations. She has been a Resident Artist at Holsnoy Kloster, Norway, The Studios of Key West, and the Vermont Studio Center.
Escape Artist: The Art of Fran Forman, was published by Schiffer Books in 2014 and was selected by Elizabeth Avedon as One of the Best Photobooks of 2014 and won First Prize in an international juried competition selected by by 21st Editions.
She is also a featured artist in Photoshop Masking and Compositing, by Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan, and Jim Porto, published in 2013, in Contemporary Cape Cod Artists (2014), and in Professional Artist magazine.
Fran has won numerous significant awards and prizes; most recently, first place from the Julia Margaret Cameron awards, three awards (First Place, Gold and Silver) from PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris 2012. In 2011, she was invited to exhibit and attend the China 2nd Biennial International Photographic Cultural Festival and Exhibition, Lishui, China (one of only thirty Americans); she also won the second prize from the World Photography Gala Award (out of over 8000 entries) in the People and Portrait category; in 2010, she won 1st place as well as an Honorable Mention in the Fine Arts Collage sub-category for the Lucie Foundation’s International Photo Awards (IPA). She was one of the Top 40 at the LA Center for Digital Art in 2010 and 2006. She also received first and second place awards in the Fine Arts sub-categories at the Px3 Prix de la Photographie (2008 and 2007 respectively); she was a fourth place winner in the Adobe sponsored Photoworkshop.com; and she was a finalist for an Ultimate Eye Foundation grant. And at the International Photo Awards 2008, she won 2nd place for Collage and Honorable Mention for Digitally Enhanced.
She is represented by Pucker Gallery (Boston), Afterimage Gallery (Dallas), Susan Spiritus Gallery (Newport Beach, CA), Sohn Fine Art Gallery (Lenox, MA), and PhotoMéthode (Austin).