Having written already about the why behind the inspiration of Floralia this post is about the day of creation at FLUX-an international exhibition for comtemporary artists in London. When we arrived at The Rag Factory there was already an excited buzz as the exhibition continued to be put together. It had the appearance of chaos but you knew that it would be done and ready for the 6pm opening of the Private View. It would have been incredibly easy to loose focus and be stunned by all the incredible art already hung on the walls and sculptures just lying around but so much work to do and no idea how long it would take as this was my first ever installation piece. There are always little hiccups and the thing to do is just to overcome the challenges by focusing on what you want to achieve. So paintings hung first and then the creation of the actual setting for Rebecca my model. I have had a picture in my mind of how Floralia would look and with the space limited and my actual vision not possible to create I was anxious about how it would all go. I did not practice as for my I love the spontaneity of my work when painting and wanted to create that as Floralia is partly an interpretation of my actual paintings. This is the first time that I had felt such anxiety around my work which was interesting. I like to trust myself that my work has formed in my brain and then translate it into reality which is exactly what I wanted to recreate here!
Following on next was food-I am not good if I do not eat so recognising this it was time to ensure that I didn’t become a snappy person with low blood sugars and then to hair and make-up and painting. Now I am a walking boot and rucksack type of girl-hair and make-up is not my thing so thank goodness Rebecca my model is proficient-I learnt a lot from this session. 1. I still am not interested in hair and make-up 2. I do not like face/body paints-rubbish when compared to the colour of acrylics and 3. OMG I love glitter tattoo’s and these are the way forward for mankind!I use a lot of fine glitters in my paintings so these were a revelation!
I have to say at this point I thought some rather negative thoughts around why am I doing this? It is going to look awful! I am making an idiot of myself and why on earth did I think I can do this?-so I am pushing the comfort zone out and learning a lot and then you just have to breathe trust and just get on with it!
Finally positioning the last bits in the setting (whilst Eve Marshall helped finish Rebecca with her eyelashes which are awesome )and I have to say the photos do not show the detail in the setting but the holistic aura and colour is immense. But without the detail my vision would have been lost and so do the detail -and I am not a detail sort of girl usually! There is huge symbolism in many of the details of FLORALIA -the 2 swords represent the battle nature and man are always co-existing in-the fox is reminding us of the constant threat of removal of the fox hunting ban-the cage tells of the story of nature reserves where nature seems contained but the flowing of the flowers says otherwise-the shell case with roses flowing from it is the battle between love and death and theres more..but mainly FLORALIA is about the connection between humans and nature and how beautiful it can be!
So to disrobing Rebecca in the freezing cold I must add and placing her on the setting and then standing back to look and in my mind panic! The feeling of satisfaction was indescribable – my vision was there and looking at her as floralia I cannot tell you how it felt-but awesome might do! It had all come together and was stunning and those few people and artists in the immediate space fell silent-you could see and feel the wow factor in the room. Somehow this had transported me to another level and I realised in that moment that I needed to do more of these as my vision was there in front of me!
The rest of the evening flew by as I knew from the reactions of the crowds that Floralia was a huge success. Endless photographs taken, smiles, and hugely complimentary comments were given. An evening that has truly inspired me to go on and create more and tell more stories and give emotion to people through art-its what I do and I am going to carry on doing it now and in the future.
“I found the installation very beautiful and enigmatic, the floral blanket is stunning”
“Wonderful art, colours, concept and model. The biggest talking point of the show”
My huge thanks go to Lisa Grey curator of FLUX for having such faith and giving me the opportunity in the first place, Rebecca Jackson my model who was utterly superb in the way she connected and reacted in the piece in the very cold conditions, Eve Marshall who was hugely supportive and helpful on the night and taught volunteers in the workshops to make felt flowers as well as being one of the 3 who made the carpet of flowers over Rebecca, the other 1 of the 3 was Lynne Collins and the carpet took us an entire day to make, Tom my husband who was the driver and fabulous technical assistant and all the ladies who came and made felt flowers with such happiness-you were truly fabulous and are in on my next project if you like….. and all those friends who supported myself and Tony Nero an artist from Peterborough also by coming and being there with us-really appreciate it everyone.