Written by: Alex Green
Over the years, former Elastica singer Justine Frischmann has been come to known as the J.D. Salinger of Britpop.
The London band was around for nine years and their tenure yielded some rather impressive results: their debut album entered the charts at Number One, they played Glastonbury and Lollapalooza and were cited by many as one of the most influential and memorable acts of the Britpop era.
But after they broke up in 2001, singer Justine Frischmann dropped out of sight.
She did resurface in 2003 as a co-writer for MIA’s debut record, but after that, the singer moved to Colorado to start a new life as a painter. Attending the intimate Buddhist-influenced Naropa University, Frischmann studied her new craft and emerged as a fascinating and stirring modern painter.
She found herself in 2012 being shortlisted for the UK’s Marmite Prize for painting and early this month the George Lawson Gallery exhibited several new pieces of her work at Volta, New York. Additionally, the GLG will also have a solo show of her paintings April 13–May 28, 2016.
Not one to give interviews, Frischmann broke her silence in a conversation with the Guardian, during which she reflected on her career in music.
“At this point when I look at the videos of my performances I feel that it’s another person,” Frischmann said of her days in Elastica.
As for any hope of an Elastica reunion, she said: “I don’t really have any desire to make music, to be honest…I really feel I’ve found my medium [with painting]. Also I think I’m a socially anxious person. I kind of deal with it but actually I’m really happy on my own. When I’m in the studio and things are unfolding and exciting I have that feeling that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. I don’t think I ever really had that with music, it always felt like a rollercoaster ride and there was going to be a horrible smash.”
That said, Frischmann remains grateful for her time in the spotlight, but is careful to point out that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“I got to go all over the world and have a real snapshot of the planet in ’95, ’96, and I got to meet a lot of my heroes,” she said. “One of the most valuable lessons was to realize that success isn’t necessarily enriching or enlivening. We live in a culture where there’s so much emphasis on celebrity and we all grow up feeling like being famous must be really great.”