Flo is a Bristol based Artist, primarily focussing on Portrait and Figurative artwork, but she remains open minded about where her journey might take her in terms of subject matter.
Tell us about yourself?
I was somewhat thrown into the deep end back in 2018 after being made redundant from a corporate career of 13 years. I studied Art at a younger age, but as soon as my study finished so did my art practice.
In 2018 I challenged myself to create a unique piece of Artwork each day, I succeeded and created over 365 pieces. It really helped me to develop my confidence and developing style- I would highly recommend it to anyone.
How would you best describe your style?
My style is ever evolving, and sometimes determined by the materials I use. However, I am fascinated by being able to see the inner structure of an artwork, so that you can see the journey a painting has taken. I leave brushstrokes clearly visible and expressive, I leave areas of paintings intentionally underdeveloped – The Artist Steve Huston said, “Art is not a Lecture, it’s a conversation” I love to create both to convey an idea but also for pure aesthetic pleasure.
When did you start getting into art?
I have always loved creating, from a young age. I don’t remember a start point, it is always something I have just done. To this day my mum hasn’t let me forget that I drew spiders around my childhood home in permanent marker pen.
I studied Art throughout my school years, went on to do a foundation degree and then a diploma, but never went on to university.
My Art then just remained as a hobby until early last year.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
At the moment I am mainly inspired by portraiture. There are amazing resources out there to use for reference images, so sometimes I am simply inspired by a pose, angle or shadow on a face. However, I am sometimes inspired by memories, inspirational people or even by just a single word.
The longest time you have spent on a project?
I am a mother to a young family so my art practice has to fit around school runs etc. I could spend a week on a piece, but only spend a few hours each day creating it. I am a fast worker and never time how long I spend on a piece. I am also very decisive, so if a piece just doesn’t feel right, even after spending hours creating it, I do not find it difficult painting over it, and starting over.
How do you pair colours together, what goes through your mind before your decision?
I experiment lots! Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!!
I like to combine what would be considered realistic colours with bright and contrasting colours, I like to make it interesting. I often have a set idea with the colours I would like to use, and this can be influenced by an idea behind a painting, but throughout the process I have to remain open minded. It often happens that my original colour ideas before I set paint to canvas or paper, are different to the final result.
How do you seek opportunities?
I use social media daily and have built an amazing network of friends through this. We all share opportunities we have heard about, whether it’s an open call, café looking for work or an Art trail. I love helping others as well, so if I am approached by someone for a commission, and I don’t think I am the artist for the job, then I will happily recommend others.
I network regularly with people who are passionate about interior design, whether that be in their own home or as a business owner, using Instagram and Linked in.
Word of mouth is very powerful and have completed commissions and had sales off of the back of my work being seen in other people’s homes. I try to be guided by creating what I love creating, not to try and create to sell, or to second guess what people will like- I think this honesty in turn will bring the right opportunities.
What challenges have you faced?
The main challenges I have faced have been completely self- created. I am highly motivated, and genuinely never find it difficult to create each day or push my art career.
However, challenging this, is self- doubt, handling rejection, understanding your path or niche. I would doubt that my work was good enough, that my work was not worthy of a certain price tag. Rejection always feels very personal and feeds the self- doubt.
As a mum, needing to provide for my family, there has always been the added pressure of creating an income from my artwork. As much as I love creating, unless it continues to create an income, I will not be able to continue. Therefore, another challenge has been to create a sustainable career from what I do.
More recently I have learned to trust my journey, to keep creating, keep pushing and not worry about having it all figured out yet. I am getting better at not comparing myself to others, as ultimately, I would end up viewing my work as interior or not “as good”.
Staying positive, practicing mindfulness and yoga as a part of my Art practice has helped endlessly, taking time for myself.
Best compliment you have ever received about your work?
Maybe not the best compliment, but best reaction has been someone crying when they received a piece of my work. I never imagined I could create a piece of artwork that would induce such a physical reaction in someone. I feel privileged that I get to do something I love every day and blessed that through this I can lift others.