It's been 15 years since Justine Frischmann captivated the Britpop generation with her dark wide-eyed stare and mischievous lip snarl while fronting one of England's most exciting alternative rock acts of the nineties, Elastica. The band's swaggering post-punk stylings found on their only two albums—1995's hooky self-titled effort and 2000's Menace–were as keen as her four-year relationship with Blur's Damon Albarn. But Frischmann has since shaken off her rock 'n' roll ways and gladly so.
Today, the 41-year-old Frischmann seems fully content with leaving the past in the past, while focusing on her visual art projects. In the October issue of UNCUT, she opens up about her latest "Mother Tongue" exhibit in San Francisco and reveals more about her quiet life in California's Bay Area. Music isn't so much a part of things.
"I don't write songs too much anymore," she tells interviewer Rich Tupica. "I help friends out with their songs and production. I suppose I'm like a consultant, really. That's the only musical work I do. I'm not interested in writing for myself or performing anymore. I feel really satisfied by making visual work. It feels more natural to me."
A self-proclaimed “untidy” artist, Frischmann says she prefers using materials like masking tape and spray paint in combination with some technical drawing via Photoshop. These creative ventures started to take shape in 2005 when she enrolled at the tiny Buddhist liberal arts school, Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. But it was during her touring days that she first discovered Colorado's fine outdoors en route to Los Angeles, a place that she calls "magical."
"I got very burnt out by London," Frischmann says. "I think living in a place that's quiet allows me to more creative. There is less noise around, so I can actually hear what's going on inside of me. I think that’s where the creativity comes from."
Leading more of an anonymous life also allowed Frischmann to find love. In 2006, while living in Boulder, Frischmann met Dr. Ian Faloona, an atmospheric scientist and professor at the University of California at Davis, through her neighbor. They married in 2008.
And while some of her Britpop counterparts have tried recapturing what once was, Frischmann won't be following suit. However, she's prepared for the unexpected.
"I don"t know what the future holds because my life has been so unpredictable so far. I never thought I'd end up living here, or married, or painting. My life has taken such surprising turns that I wouldn't like to predict what I'll be doing next. But this is something that I'm really interested in doing now. And there is a kind of peace in doing this work which I didn't find in music."
Elastica – "Stutter":
Elastica – "Connection"