On the eve of the release of their bright and beautiful collaboration Grandiflora I caught up with two of Australia’s most talented artists, Kelly Smith and Erin Flannery to get the scoop on their stunning new print, available from tomorrow September 1st – get in quick, as this pretty lady is sure to sell out fast!
Kelly, you’ve been a fan of Erin’s work for a long time now. What first attracted you to her art?
When I first found Erin’s work she was creating these beautifully simplistic fashion images featuring monochromatic ladies made from pencil and aerosols. They were so graphic and stunning.
Over the years her style has evolved – burst almost – to also include a sort of colourful chaos – and I LOVE that. I’m drawn to anything that’s loose and free (probably because my work is so detailed and restrained) which is something Erin does so well.
What was the inspiration behind your new print collaboration with Erin, the gorgeous ‘Grandiflora’?
Continuing on from the previous answer – we had discussed collaborating a few times over the years. But when Erin started her “Luna Seas” series – all bright, vibrant marks and shapes – I felt like it was just the right style to blend with my work.
I would create the lady and she could create the ‘background’ ie general gorgeousness that surrounded her.
Erin is known for her stunning collages over the top of magazine covers, and of course you have quite the magazine collection! Which iconic mag cover would you love to see her work her magic on?
What a tough one! There’s a really iconic cover of UK VOGUE (Dec, 2000) featuring Kate Moss’ profile silhouetted against a gold foil background. I’m sure Erin could do something incredible with that.
Or perhaps something monochromatic on one of The Gentlewoman’s minimalist covers.
Ok enough about Erin, now on to you! What is coming up in the work life of Kelly Smith for the rest of 2015?
I feel like 2015 barely started and now it’s almost over- seriously, how is it September?!
I’ve been so busy working this year, some amazing projects to be revealed soon, that for now I’m just looking forward to some much-anticipated down time with a trip to the US in October! Can’t wait.
Erin, you and Kelly share a mutual love of each other’s work. How did you first discover her artwork and what did you love about it?
Every time I opened a magazine in a cafe Kelly’s amazing work was staring back at me eyeing off my flat white! I loved the detail she achieved with just a pencil and some paper – she’s got some serious talent! I also loved that she challenged herself with awkward poses, hands, fine patterns, layers of fabric and detailed hairdos – they are usually the bits that people avoid when they draw.
After Kelly presented you with her beautiful illustration how did you decide on the colour and design of your contribution to Grandiflora, and how did you bring it to life?
We originally started out with black and white designs but when colour was added we knew that was it! We both love peachy pink and blush tones so the colour palette was an obvious choice. The coloured sections were created using a mix of acrylic and water on paper + some digital design. There are also separate painted sections for the cheeks (even with part of my fingerprint in there!) and then a final layer of black and white squiggles over the whole image to finish it off.
Do you have an all time favourite piece of Kelly’s work?
Oh my goodness would it be wrong to say this collaboration piece?! It’s a serious contender. I love ‘Beauté en Blanc et Noir’ in Kelly’s store at the moment…it has the flowers, the hair, the awkward pose and FRENCH! Cant go wrong! I instantly fell in love with her ‘Coco Noir’ illustration for obvious bold black and white reasons.
It’s been a while since we last caught up! What is on the horizon for you and your work over the next few months?
I’m working on some new canvases and happy to announce that black and white is back baby! It’ll still be similar to my previous b+w pieces but much more disjointed, layered and ‘collagey’. I also have another completely different collaboration coming out soon that i’m prettttty excited about. And of course lots of yoga classes and yummy coffee breaks – they are a must!