Lucie Flynn is well established as an an independent artist now but having moved from being a freelance textile designer to working in Damien Hirst's London Studios as an Art Technician and Managerial Assistant, the journey was always going to be an interesting one. And that's just it, being an artist is definitely a journey not a destination! Find out more here.
How long have you been creating art? Hmmm well I have always been creating in some shape or form as I was obsessed with drawing when I was little and was desperate to get out of my strict Convent School and into Art College but making work for my first proper art show - that would be 1999, so nearly 20 years now.
What were your early experiences of painting like? I struggled with my technique to start with as I knew exactly what I was after but had to free up a lot from my design days and I wanted to push my scale, I felt very stuck on what subject matter to start with but after I finished my first Cow painting something just clicked, I was on a roll!
How have you developed as an artist since then? After my first solo show of the Cow Series ‘I am so Busy’ I carried on producing large scales pieces - these were inspired by Vintage adult magazine images and became an abstracted modern take on those 50s and 60s soft porn magazines. Following this a ‘Toxic Nature’ series - however portraits have always been my main draw and now I try to keep things more focused by concentrating purely on the Cow Series and Portraits.
I recently came across one the last remaining painting from the soft nude series and I realised that my hand has completely changed. My style then was much more graphic and swift with minimal paintwork. I think this is due to the fact that at that time I was surrounded by a lot of graffiti writers and street artists such as Ben Eine, Banksy and everyone was going out at tagging or fly posting - this massively influenced me, I loved the immediacy of it all.
Which has been your most challenging piece to date, and why? That would be a a recent painting ‘Forest Self-Portrait’ I used an older painting from the Toxic Nature series as my base as it was exhibited unfinished about 10 years ago and I had always wanted to make it work - I’m just a little bit stubborn like that!!! My aim was to have a camouflage effect where you could see an image emerging from the background but for it still to remain very loose and abstract. It took a lot of applications and then washing away until I had the desired effect.
How do you want people to feel when they buy/own a piece of your art? First and foremost I want people to really love the piece and enjoy it. I have had some wonderful feedback from clients who get a great deal of happiness and calm from my work. I have also been told that there is something in the eyes of my paintings that draws you in…mesmerising you almost. I can live with that compliment.
Your features mixed media, Tell me about the process of planning a piece...if there ever is a plan! Yes I love to use acrylic, spray paint, ink, collage, marker pen but am not a planner, I leave a lot to chance and sometimes a piece can come together perfectly in an hour and other times its takes days of back an forth. However as I mentioned before I am influenced by work that isn’t too laboured. I have zero patience so if I don’t like it then the paint is washed off and reworked until I feel its right - less is most definitely more for me but I still find it super hard to know when to stop.
This year I have been experimenting a lot with the reactions between all the mediums I use, some of them resist each other and create fantastic movement and once the work is fully dried off it can look like nothing else - sometimes I simply cannot recreate this magic so there are a lot of one off techniques going on.
How would you best describe yourself in 6 words...yes 6! I hate these kind of questions - thats 6 right?!!!
What ambitions do you have for your work? Big ones!!! I hope to see it travel all over the world and to be photographed in someones ridiculously beautiful home in my favourite magazine ‘World of Interiors’.
Do you think becoming 'bigger' as an artist will change your style? I like to think not, I try to stay in the present and not worry about those things. My main concern is what I’m working on now - the busier I am the better my work is so if it does change it will be a good thing as one becomes less precious.
How does it feel to complete a piece and step back? Well I am never 100% sure if its completed until I have left it alone for a good few weeks. I do like a slightly unfinished, underworked, natural look to things. When it does happen easily I have to hold myself back to leave it alone as I may be temped to throw more layers down! I usually feel happy for a few seconds then get straight on with the next one.
Which other artists do you admire and why? Ohhh too many to list really but currently Katharina Grosse, Ryan Hewett, Malin Gabriella Nordin, Phoebe Unwin, Andy Woll. The main link of why I love all of these artists is their language of colour and technique. I do also love finding a new artist whilst scrolling through Instagram! Marlene Dumas has been a constant inspiration to me and her book is always open on a new page in my studio, the work is never laboured and find it very moving.
What inspires you? Day trips to London to see a couple of Exhibitions, there are so many on at the moment and I’m lucky enough to live only about half an hour out of London in Surrey so its easy to get into town and I need that culture fix. Going for long walks in the countryside - somewhere with a really good view - I can literally feel my brain taking a sigh of relief! Finally my Yoga practise - this has been my go to happy place activity for nearly 20 years now - basically its makes me feel like me again and is so good for my creativity levels.
Finally, whats in your pockets right now! My phone - probably too attached to it, packets of tissues (my kids have been a constant supply of snot lately), elastic bands, Eight Hour Cream Balm - I think I have a tube of this in every coat pocket!
Thanks to Lucie for taking the time to so eloquently shed light on her life and work. Want to own one of Lucie's amazing originals? Click on the picture below to take you to a gallery of available pieces both from the Cow study and the Portrait series.
Click on the Cow to
See More of Lucie's Work!