Today’s feature and interview is an artist and inspiration I have been following for ages! The one and only @florencebh [📸 the excellent shots of Hutchings are by @brylney.davies ]
Hutchings describes her work as “Playful, raw and juicy”. The richness of the colours she uses is what first drew me to following her work. There is a repetition of motif, an inkling of domesticity and a vastness to her work that is like nothing I have seen before. Our interview together is now live on my website at She Curates!
“The influences for my work stem from lots of different parts of my life. The first thing that comes to mind is of course other artists' work- people such as Bonnard, Braque, Gillian Ayres and many more have had such a massive influence on my work. I love collecting art books and try to make a point to look at different ones each day. But outside of other artists, what surrounds me in my day to day to life is such an inspiration for my subject matter. Whether it be the table and chairs in my flat, or the clothes rail in my bedroom or even the toilet in the bathroom these are all things I enjoy to draw!”
Hutchings has a two person show coming up with her partner Danny Romeril @d_romeril in Dusseldorf in Setareh Gallery @setareh.
Florence, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPEAKING TO ME ABOUT YOUR WORK TODAY! LET'S START WITH: YOU HAVE SUCH AN INCREDIBLE BODY OF WORK. how would you describe your work in 3 words?
Playful, raw and juicy
JUICY IS SO PERFECT! ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO THH COLOURS! TELL ME, What do you believe is integral to the role of an artist?
I believe you have to be true to yourself and your work. It's important to keep pushing your practise in varied ways to always keep the process fresh and exciting.
HOW DO YOU MEAN?
Sometimes you have to sacrifice many days of working a painting to let it resurface and resolve, which is definitely a difficult part of the process.
I SEE. I THINK PEOPLE WHO DON'T SEE BEHIND THE SCENES INCORRECTLY ASSUME THAT BEING AN ARTIST ISN'T AS DIFFICULT AS A JOB, BUT YOU'RE SO RIGHT. Was there a Eureka moment for you to become an artist Florence?
I hated art at school- I was on the 'crap' table. If you weren't drawing realistic portraits it was thought of as no good. As soon as I started my foundation course at UCA Rochester though I realised how much I really loved painting and drawing.
IT'S INTERESTING HOW MANY ARTISTS START OFF IN A SIMILAR WAY - NOT HAVING THE TALENT IMMEDIATELY RECOGONISED.
It was such a great year and exciting time to realise how much more art can be than what they teach you in school. My dad is also an artist who has definitely influenced me a lot too, growing up surrounded by art and art books for sure helped with that Eureka moment.
AND, If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
That's such a difficult question that I often think about. I think if I wasn't a fine art painter I would have quite liked to do textile design and print.
Who or what are your greatest influences? How do you find these, and how do you think these influences come out in your work?
The influences for my work stem from lots of different parts of my life. The first thing that comes to mind is of course other artists' work- people such as Bonnard, Braque, Gillian Ayres and many more have had such a massive influence on my work. I love collecting art books and try to make a point to look at different ones each day. But outside of other artists, what surrounds me in my day to day to life is such an inspiration for my subject matter. Whether it be the table and chairs in my flat, or the clothes rail in my bedroom or even the toilet in the bathroom these are all things I enjoy to draw!
So colour is such a hallmark of your practice. It is recognisable and bold. Tell us a bit about your colour palette. Is this use of colour done through exploration? Intuition?
Within every painting the colour palette usually comes around in a different way. Sometimes it could be more planned, for instance if I know I want to work a limited palette painting. Other times it comes about from colour combinations I like that I've either seen in other paintings or sculpture or even in someone's outfit, on a building or from a film. A lot of the time intuition definitely plays an important role alongside trial and error and realising what works and what doesn't which makes me often rework a painting again and again and again.
AND Talk to us about your use of scale Florence?
I think it important to always work on various scales, whatever your studio or room can withhold work the biggest you can whilst also working the smallest.
I think this makes the process so much more exciting and challenging. I do love working on a big scale though, I love the physicality of it, how your whole entire body has been involved to make the painting work. When I studied at the Slade, one of my favourite weeks every year was big painting week. The painting department would leave the slade building and go to a building in Woburn Square and we could make the biggest painting we possibly could in the space of a week. This is where I made my Fruit and Veg painting which was 350x400cm and was later displayed at the Saatchi Gallery.
Could you select a piece of your work and tell us a bit about it?
This is a piece I had recently displayed in a solo exhibition at Union Gallery. This alongside Kitchen Sink I, were my first paintings made after the first lockdown- not being in my studio for nearly three months meant having to work on a small scale and just paper at home. As soon as I got back in the studio I just completely soaked up the entire painterly process with these two as I had not been able to work that scale for so long. They were worked alongside each other and both have a mixture of collage and paint. They were worked from numerous drawings I had made during the lockdown of my kitchen. What I enjoyed when working these paintings was pushing the abstract elements, so the drawers became just long rectangles and the washing machine just a circle and the window a large swathe of collage. Making these paintings made me realise the full enjoyment there is in being able to make a real mess when working a piece.
INCREDIBLE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT A PIECE AND A SUBJECT I SEE OFTEN IN YOUR WORK. THANK YOU. FLORENCE, What is your studio like?
I have a studio in the Art Hub Studios in Woolwich. I have postcards pinned everywhere and shelves of books. I have two painting trolleys, one for my oil paint and one for my acrylic. I also have drawers completely full of my drawings and sketchbook, which is something I find important to get out and look at a lot. Other essentials in my studio would be my hand cream- the oil paint makes my hands so sore - and my radio, I love a bit of Radio 4 and listen to a lot of In our Time, Gardeners Question Time and The Moral Maze. But I also love my audible app and listen to lots of audiobooks there too.
AND, If you were to describe yourself as a colour, what colour would that be and why?
I think maybe orange. I love using that colour in my work and I think it's a colour I'm always drawn to.
If you could have a meal with any artist from any time:
a) What would the meal be?
Mussels and fries, with a nice bottle of white wine to go with it.
b) Who would it be with?
I think it would have to be Picasso, that would just be so cool
I would have so many questions! And just to meet him, let alone have a meal with would be crazy.
SOUNDS IDYLLIC. Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, shows or initiatives?
Yes, I have a two person show with my partner Danny Romeril (who is also a painter) This is coming up in Dusseldorf at a gallery called Setareh- it should be opening in December!
I CAN'T WAIT FOR THEM! Who is your favourite historical female artist?
I think Gillian Ayres, she's been such an inspiration for me since I started painting. I always think she's not shown enough. Her work in the flesh is just breathtaking.
AND Who are all your favourite practicing female artists and their instagram handles?
Pam Evelyn, @pamevelyn. Selby Hurst @selby_hi Holly Mills, @hollyveramills Lucia Ferrari @luciaferrari1 Rose Wylie , Rosa Roberts @rosa_roberts Lucy Clitheroe @lucyclitheroe ( I only discovered her work the other day but I instantly fell in love) Katherine Bradfrod @kathebradford Rose Harris @roseelectraharris