I love doing these artist interviews because I find it so interesting to read about the thoughts of other artists- and I hope you guys do too. I only contact artists whose work I really love... but this interview is definitely my favourite of them all! I can't remember how I first came across Erin Flannery, but I have been following her blog for a long time now and adore her work. Erin's a 28-year-old full time artist living in northern New South Wales (Gold Coast) Australia. As you can see in the examples below, she has a stunning, consistent style with a refined colour palette. I love how Erin can portray such beautiful women with solid black shapes and delicate patterns, and she comes up with such great titles for her work. I was so thrilled when Erin replied to my email, happy to answer my questions! She seems like such a lovely person- and when I asked her if there was anything else she wanted included in this post she replied "Your blog is beautiful". Aww!
|Mary Mary Quite Contrary Reflects|
How long have you been creating?
About 24 years. I've always made weird and wonderful little creations out of whatever is sitting in front of me but if we're talking more 'serious art on walls' I'd say about 10 years with the last 5-6 years really focusing on my current style... it certainly doesn't feel that long!
Is your family artistic?
I grew up following my sister and my Mum around with their art and craft. At the time I was just there to have a bit of fun and a score a week off school but I think it rubbed off on me! I also spent huge amounts of time in op-shops, markets, garage sales and other people's studios.
What artistic training do you have, and did you study with a specific career path in mind?
I studied art throughout school and I think my final two years of that is when it started getting more serious. I then graduated from school and went on to study at the Queensland Institute of Graphic Art to focus more on graphic design as a career path. I think the graphic side of my art displays that training coming through – we used to learn the 'old way' before being allowed to touch a computer which was a blessing in disguise! I still use my graphics in so many ways, especially with my blog and now starting to dabble in freelance illustration. Training like that is never ever wasted.
What was the first piece of artwork you sold?
I honestly cannot remember! It would have been in 2005 and very bright! I used to paint on cardboard too, just small and very cheap works, it was probably one of those!
What did your work look like five years ago, and how has your style developed?
MUCH more colour! I was a little bit aerosol obsessed - I had a huge (and much loved) collection of colours in an old timber crate on my studio bench. I cut a lot of stencils, used a lot of text and some canvases were just pure freehand aerosol art. I gradually started to refine my lines, cut out the colour and strip it back basics. I did the same thing to my house.
Where is your studio?
My studio is home. I nearly always have some music and a cup of tea or coffee going! The main thing I need is a clean ordered space. Im a bit of a neat freak.
Is art your full time job?
Painting and creating is my main job. I also do freelance illustration and would LOVE to do more of that! I also want to start a few new projects of my own.
How many hours in an average week would you spend working on your artwork?
It's impossible to work out a canvas at an hourly rate. I also stretch my own canvases so that adds even more time to the equation. In my busy times probably 40 hours but it's all over the place – there is never a 'normal day'.
|Kitty Takes Five|
At what stage during your creative process do you name your work, and how do you come up with the girls' names?
A title can say SO much! They are really important to me so naturally I spend a lot of time on them. They are a mish-mash of conversations, noticing newspaper and magazine captions/headings, old films and song lyrics. They usually evolve as the canvas is created but sometimes land from nowhere. People now look forward to the names - I think I've created a monster!
Do you have any tips for exhibiting?
Ahhh! SO many!! There is such a HUGE difference between painting for a show versus painting one canvas when you feel like it. I don't think anyone understands how much work goes into a solo show. I think a group show is a perfect way to ease into it and learn about things like planning and hanging a show, publicity and learning how to talk about your work! (I never really like that bit!) Also remember spaces other than walls also exist! Use the space while you have it! I always love seeing something like an installation that isn’t necessarily created to be sold – its more there to create a feel and compliment the artwork. I always try to do that in my own shows. My main advice is to get organised, create a strong body of work and stick to your guns!
|Bird Girl on Breadboard|
How has the internet aided your career so far?
My current art style of art would probably not even exist if it weren’t for the internet and technology. The amount of inspiration and exposure I have received from the net is insane.
Where do you record your ideas for new pieces?
Lots of places – some ideas are computer based, some kept in folders, some on bits of paper with a huge clip holding them all together.
Who are your female figures based on?
No one in particular. They are often a mix of a few people. And no, I've never painted myself!
|Trendy Topknot Goodness|
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time for me is all about good food, good drink, walks by the ocean, markets, opshops, garage sales and lots of convoluted conversations. I document it all with my camera!
Do you have a network of artists in your area you interact with?
Not really... I have no social life at all, its pretty bad! That's not to say there aren't some AMAZING artists on the coast! I sometimes run into a few lovely ones (Abbey McCulloch, Victoria Reichelt) at opening nights.
Who are your favourite artists?
Ohhh I can never answer this question, I honestly don't look at much art. I stood in front of a Del Kathryn Barton canvas the other day at The Archibald and decided that she was up there at the top of my list! Also Abbey McCulloch for being a seriously lovely local person with art to match... but how could you not love her work?!
|Under the Bonnet and On Deck|
Is there a particular city you would love to exhibit in?
NY, Berlin, Stockholm/Goteborg, Hong Kong. Or Melbourne if I had to stay in Australia.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?
My two solo shows at Anthea Polson Art have been huge in terms of work but they have also pushed me to try new things. I also won a billboard competition years ago, that’s been my biggest artwork ever!!
What are your goals for the next five years?
Travel, paint and hopefully start up a few new projects involving my art being worn.
Erin Flannery blog.
Erin Flannery Facebook page.
Erin Flannery's work at on the Anthea Polson Art page.