Introducing the artist Kate Florence

This week, we're releasing our second print from our collaboration with Kate Florence. The collaboration began last year during one of the many lockdowns. Kate Florence is an artist from the UK currently living in Australia. Over the past four years, her practice has developed from line drawings into large-scale paintings. Florence is an artist who draws inspiration from many things, including living life drawing studies and reading books. She grew up in Europe, where she was lucky enough to see some of the world’s most incredible art from a young age. This inspired her deeply many years ago, and she still loves nothing more than a good exhibition.

This week we sat down with Kate to learn more about her art practice.

How has your work evolved post-pandemic?
Definitely, it's evolved a lot since the pandemic because, obviously, we spent so much time not being able to leave the house or kind of go about normal life. I was super grateful to have my art practice, and I would spend every day in the studio, which I wasn't able to do previously. I took the opportunity to explore new things and develop innovative solutions without any pressure. This experience encouraged me to take more risks with my artwork. That's when I began to experiment with painting as a medium for the first time, and I felt like I sucked at it for ages before I realized that we were all just kept at home, so whether it was good or bad didn't matter. I was able to practice freely without expectation, and that was really a spark to my growth as a professional because I could just execute without pressure. 

Talk to us through your expressive work with art and movement. 
I had a lot of difficulties thinking creatively earlier this year, around the time I was supposed to create something for an exhibition. Often, when I put pressure on myself to create my natural flow will become a little crushed. I decided to just throw the canvas down on the floor and start dancing. Dance has always been something I've loved doing. I've never been a dancer, but I've definitely, always loved poking some tunes on and dancing. So I thought, why not combine the two? And that is how I really loved the freedom of the lines that were created when the canvas is on the floor, you're standing on it. It's super visceral, and you have no time to consider what the outcome is gonna be or where you like, where it's gonna go or what it's gonna look like. That's not even something you consider. You just kind of flow with the music on the canvas naturally. For me, it was a really monumental moment because I was able to apply my internal energy to external lines and allow my body to follow where I was going with the painting. It was fantastic. It was ideal.

Tell us a bit about the two prints from our collaboration.
This is the Hercules print. This is inspired by ancient Greek and Italian sculptures, I admire how strong looking they are. They're very bold, and I just love how old statues portray a figure in an extremely muscular athletic physic. I found it really inspiring growing up in Europe. I saw a lot of these kinds of sculptures in Italy and Greece. So, these sorts of figures are inspired by those strong, athletic poses that you often see in old Italian sculptures. They've been put together to make a print. This is a reverse of the original drawing that I did. It's super cool. Long sleeve shirt made of a hundred percent cotton, Super comfy, and I love it. 



So the next print is the Artemis print. This is a bold print, and it's a scan of an original painting that I did last year. Again, it is inspired by the very strong figurative forms that you see in mythology and old Italian sculptural art. I was very much just exploring what works I love the combination of a soft sort of Sage colour, but then lots of bold colours on the top. If you look closer, there's lots of detailed line work, which is me coming in with an oil stick and adding a new sort of textural dimension to the painting; so super happy with this one is definitely one of my favourites.


About showing in Melbourne. 
I'm in Melbourne this week because I have an exhibition which opened yesterday. It's called Dance of the Shadows, and it's a full collection of work, which has been really fun to create. I have worked with this method of dance painting to create this collection; and it hangs on Monday, and it's running until Sunday. That's the 12th to the 18th of September. And it's also got an amazing, exciting collection of sculptures, which have been a collaboration with Lucas from the neighbourhood studio. They're handmade limestone sculptures. So they're also part of the show, and we'd love for anyone in Melbourne to come say hi.


What do you like here in Melbourne?
I'm excited to be in Melbourne because I love it here. I spent three years living here when I first moved from England, and it just took care of me really well. I love the culture here. I definitely miss that cause I no longer live in this area, but yeah, art galleries, good coffee, good food, creative people, and cool clothing shops. It's definitely been a pleasure working with Ema and HEW Clothing for this collaboration. And it's super nice to see the likes of two creatives come together to create something unique. I think that it's the way forward for fashion and creativity by supporting each other through it. 

What's on the horizon?
I've been working so hard for the last six months on creating this art show that the concept of thinking about the future is just totally not there for me, but I do have some exciting things happening. I'm part of October, the new, so open studios where lots of artists open up their studios and people are free to just come around and look at everyone's work and look at everyone's working space and chat with the artists. And it's super informal, but it's a really amazing way to connect with other creatives and also to buy an artwork. Next year, I have a solo exhibition, which is really exciting as well, but until then, I'm just sort of like chilling out because art's super emotional, and I'm not someone that loves planning really far ahead. So I like just to take every day as it comes and try my best.

Hope you have enjoyed this interview. Make sure you head down to the exhibition Dance of the Shadows at No Vacancy Gallery. It's been amazing to create this collection and see it come to life. You can check out the pieces from the collaboration here and find out more about Kate via her website here. Thanks for reading!