Today I would like to introduce you all with a UK based, decorative-folk artist and a surface pattern designer, Lorraine Stylianou... She started painting properly (and seriously) after leaving a full time job in 2010. She is obsessed with old furniture and love upcycling-sprucing up boring chairs and tables and transforming them into veritable jewels...
In her own words...
''I am also a naive painter and a member of ABNA (Association of British Naive Artists), and my work has been bought by both UK and American collectors... I'm completing a surface pattern design course and getting grips with the technical challenges of Photoshop and Illustrator as this opens up another world to me in terms of where my work is seen.''
Her mission in life is to take the fear out of painting and to encourage everyone that they can paint. ''I'm a champion for the self-taught artist and love to mentor creatives interested in starting an art business.I can help them gain a level of visibility many formally trained artists never achieve... ''
Here is a small interview with her, where she reveals her views about her life and her work ...Enjoy your read...
How would you describe yourself ?
That's always a tricky question! I would say I've always had an equally strong left and right brain - at school I was equally good at arts/literature subjects as I was in sciences and maths. When I worked full time as an administrator in Higher Education few people knew about my creative side so they would often describe me as scatty! In honesty I guess that's fairly accurate (even though I knew where everything was). My mind can race from one thing to the next in seconds so I have to keep "To Do" lists to remind me of all the tasks I started and have to finish. I appear disorganised, and cluttered but I have a very strong work ethic, and strong business/entrepreneurial skills. People might find me a bit aloof at times, but I'm a natural networker and can chat to anybody.
What do you like to do when you are not painting?
I like doing things with the family like taking country walks, travelling frequently by train to different parts of the UK, and researching great places to eat.
Describe your style.
My style is quite a strong, folk art style with bright colours and lots of detail. I've never been able to master the very floaty, gentle style that many of my contemporaries use - mine is more bold and primitive.
What's your favorite color?
I guess it is blue although you couldn't tell by my clothing - which is mostly black. I have a wardrobe with every variant of black long sleeved T-shirt, trousers, jackets etc which I brighten up with my colourful scarves and earrings.(collecting scarves is a bit of an obsession with me - I literally have two oversized suitcases full of them).
Tell us about your first collection, and your first show ?
The subject of my paintings are fairly random - I paint subjects I'm inspired to paint so I've never actually done a collection (yet!) - but I'm disciplining myself to think like that and am working on a collection of bird paintings on long canvases. Although this doesn't directly answer your question the first painting I sold in a gallery was of Russian Dolls. It went to the USA. The symbol of the Russian Doll has become incredibly powerful in my life .....I discovered only a few months ago this year that I have a full blood sister given up for adoption 10 years before my birth that I never knew about (My dear Mother and Father kept it a secret all their lives). I'm now trying to find her - and feel it is time to paint some more Russian doll paintings - in a collection of course!
When did you get the idea that 'painting/art' was the thing you love?
I've always loved art and foolishly didn't pursue it to "A" level at school, choosing to take History instead. My art teacher pleaded with me to continue art but I disappointed her. It was only when I gave up working in a "job" that I decided I'd paint regularly which was fairly recently (January 2011). Surprisingly I like painting historical figures so I guess I've managed to marry both subjects (see "Owl Elizabeth" attached).
Anything you want to share to your readers about setting up his/her own business?
I think the best advice is to just get the work done. Whether it is painting or surface pattern design keep creating a steady stream of work. Put aside time every day to sketch and paint - once you've the basic designs you can edit, crop, repeat on your computer but the body of work is what matters. Even if you are not an expert at Photoshop/Illustrator you can outsource your brief to someone who is.
Who is your dream client ? Is there anyone 'special' for whom you would like to create ?
My dream client is "Liberty of London" as they understand "bespoke" in furniture, painted items, eclectic goods. They also run entrepreneurial events for creatives. Interiors magazine is also a big favourite - having your designs appear on the front cover would be the icing on the cake... it will be the highest tribute to anyone with a love of design, interiors and style !
Tell us a bit about your biggest challenge in your career, and the way you handled it.
Keeping a blog going is probably one of the things I'm worst at - which a blogging strategy would easily solve - but scatty, creatives like me find it a struggle. I've lots of friends who outsource their blog schedule - you have to choose to either do it yourself or delegate it to someone else if it is going to be done. I've not managed to do either of those yet (smile)...
Your greatest inspiration is....?
At the moment I'm inspired by aboriginal art - it is so powerful. I love it's strong visual appeal, the colour ranges, the pattern formations, the spiritual message behind it and its strength...and of course all those dots!
How would you describe your work place ..?
I don't have the space for a dedicated art studio at home so for now I have to use the kitchen table when it's not in use. Because I travel a lot, I often secretly paint in my hotel room, making sure the "Do not disturb" sign is on my door. What would the cleaner think if they saw me washing paint brushes in the bathroom sink!! It always makes me laugh when I see other artists on Facebook posting photos of them secretly painting in their hotels as well. Just keep your newspaper handy to cover the nice carpet against spills.
Where can people contact you?
My website is www.gypsy-chic.co.uk and my colouring books are for sale on Amazon.
Hmmm... I want, want, want that fab decorative table for my home...!
Thanks so much Lorraine for sharing such beautiful paintings with us...
See you soon.