1. Welcome Louise to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
Hi Jack. I’m delighted to be part of the Influx family. I’m a fine art artist specialising in abstract and mixed media, but it is fair to say it has been an interesting and varied path getting here! I had a successful career in Finance & Sales before I reprioritised my life around my daughter 5 years ago and discovered a hidden creative talent. I lived in London for most of my life before moving to a small village in Northamptonshire (near Banbury) a couple of years ago.
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
My family, and in particular my Mum and my daughter, have always been hugely supportive of my life decisions. Sadly, I lost a lot of close family members in the period 5-10 years ago before I became an artist. These bereavements were the catalyst for change, focusing me on prioritising my daughter above everything else, which led to discovering my creative side. My sister was a highly talented graphic designer and would be so proud of my accomplishments; the sunflower in my business logo is dedicated to her, and I truly believe she is with me every step of the way, cheerleading my artistic journey.
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
Around five years ago I had an epiphany moment. Not to do with art, but with making sure I was there for my daughter and not missing out on her growing up. Leaving my corporate career was high risk but it made space and time to discover my creative side. I took up colouring for mindfulness then my daughter asked me to draw for her. From there I discovered a talent and honed my skills drawing pet portraits and painting wildlife. A year or so ago, having proved to myself I “could draw” I threw myself into abstract expressionism and haven’t looked back.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
As often happens with siblings, my sister was labelled the artistic one. I wasn’t!! While my schooling and career were in no way artistic, having studied a wide range of subjects across a variety of industries, I have a love of learning and a desire to explore and question complex topics; this has become the core of my artistic inspiration. Storytelling was also big part of getting my message across in a corporate environment, and weaving a narrative through the layers of a piece has in turn become a feature of my abstract work.
5. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
I’ve always had a broad, natural curiosity and I love learning, reading and listening. My ideas come from a variety of sources including current affairs, academic research, and personal experience. I am fascinated by complex topics, by progress and by stark juxtapositions. Once I have a theme in mind for a collection, I will spend time researching it further; this research is an integral part of my artistic process.
6. We at Influx gallery love your layered textured mixed media works. As a collage artist myself I particularly admire your utilisation of varying techniques and mediums to create these beautiful works. Can you embellish upon your process and intension?
Thank you, it is wonderful to get that feedback! Building texture and layers is fundamental to my process, and working predominantly with acrylics and mixed media gives me a real freedom to explore each piece layer by layer, taking each painting on a journey.
I deliberately start each collection of works without a set theme in mind, taking time to build the surface, adding layers and developing texture. Through this process and allowing myself the time and space to think, a subject will emerge; this could be a topic that I am drawn to, current affairs, or simply an idea that keeps returning to my thoughts. From this point onwards, my artistic process progresses with this theme in mind.
The collage materials I use are a vital part of my work; I carefully research and select collage pieces to illustrate my chosen theme. Working iteratively, much will get covered up during the creative process, more will be added in later layers. This approach of addition and subtraction, a back-and-forth journey through the painting, is something that really excites me; I don’t fear change within the artistic process, it often surprises me and gives the viewer tantalising glimpses of the narrative and artistic journey behind the piece.
7. What was your most enjoyable piece to create?
This may sound cliched, but (to date at least) it has always been my most recent collection, so right now it would be the Biodiversity collection that I have just finished. I think the level to which I immerse myself in the topic, coupled with my love of learning and passion for sharing my interests, concerns and passions with others really bonds me to my most recent works. I also see myself developing and improving with every new collection, which is exciting and means I am always itching to start the next journey too.
8. How you see your mixed media works evolving over the next 10 years?
Having only been creating abstract art for just over a year, I am excited that this really is the beginning of my journey. Last year I invested in studio space and this year (now the building work has been completed) I am really focusing on making more time for my practice. My vision for the next ten years is bigger and better … bigger pieces, bigger collections and learning and developing with each one.
9. Do you collect art or have a favourite painter?
I have ambitions to collect art … but not yet! I enjoy a wide range of art styles and am inspired by a wide range of artists from the famous (such as Matisse and Kandinsky) to artists I follow on Instagram. A couple of my contemporaries whose work I am admiring at the moment are Judy Woods, Stacie McCormick & Shar Coulson.
10. Your take on contemporary materialist art is bold and beautifully realised. How long does it take you from the inception of a piece to a final and finished realisation?
I always work in multiples of at least three or four pieces, aiming to progress each piece in the collection at the same rate as far as possible, a layer at a time. I would estimate that my finished pieces have approximately 20 layers, many of which you will see only glimpses of. From start to finish a collection usually takes me a couple of months to realise; while I try to maximise my time in the studio my first job of being a (brilliant) single Mum always takes priority, so my daughter’s school hours are my studio hours.
11. Your use of storytelling within your works is beautifully realised, with a complex multi-faceted narrative structure. What topics and themes inspire your most recent works?
Thank you. Storytelling, discovery, and the element of surprise bring me joy and motivate me to create. Recent themes have included the cost-of-living crisis, the conflict between urban and rural living, human evolution and most recently the threat to our natural biodiversity. To me the joy of a finished piece is in knowing that it can be enjoyed on many levels. I want to surprise and delight, to challenge and question and to leave the viewer informed yet intrigued sparking interest, curiosity, and conversation about these important topics.