FK are very excited to collaborated with Sydney based artist Andrea Smith on our new Find me, Keep me range, which will be available at the upcoming Brisbane & Sydney Markets! Andrea shares with us about her world.
How did you start your art journey and how long have you been creating?
I have been drawing ever since I can remember. I used to illustrate and design my own magazines when I was young. I always knew I was going to be doing something creative. At first I studied fashion design at East Sydney but after that I realised it was illustration that I loved more than sewing so I decided to study illustration and design and haven’t looked back. After graduating I started freelancing and have been fortunate to work with some great clients over the past 3 years.
How would you best describe your work and what is your favorite mediums?
I would describe my work as nostalgic, intricate, bold and whimsical.
I tend to work across a broad range of media depending on the brief. That said, collage has been my favorite medium for a while. I am always on the lookout for different kinds of paper and fabric, whether it be vintage or new and I love mixing the different textures and patterns together.
Lately I have been painting a lot of textures myself which I then cut out and layer. I have also been working with paper cuts. At the moment I am playing around with paper techniques as I love the simplicity of one single colour juxtaposed with complex and intricate designs.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Nature is a big inspiration for me as there are boundless patterns and shapes to explore. I also look at botanical illustration, old children’s books, fashion magazines from the 50’s, record covers, treasures that I have uncovered in op shops and markets. I usually have a little cache of things that inspire me. It could be a particular paper, a colour that I am obsessed with or an image I have found… anything really.
What other artists do you admire?
I really admire the work of Charley Harper, I love his nature inspired illustrations, bold colours and simple style. Andy Warhol’s early fashion Illustrations, Edgar Degas, Alice and Martin Provensen, Yoshimoto Nara, Rob Ryan, David Downton, Beci Orpin and WeBuyYourKids.
What is your creative process?
Most of the time it starts with me drawing to get the ideas that I have running through my mind onto paper. From there…well, to be honest, sometimes you’re inspired and it really comes together. Other times you have to work at it a bit harder to get it right. I usually have a bit of a theme or an interest that I want to experiment with and I spend some time researching and gathering reference. Once I am happy with the composition I will take the final sketch and begin the fun part of cutting it out.
What is your workspace like and what do you like to have around you when you work?
I work from my studio at home. It’s in a 1930s block with high ceilings and big windows that give tons of natural light. It looks out onto bottlebrush trees that are home to families of rainbow lorikeets.
The walls are covered with images that I find inspiring as well as endless ‘to-do’ lists. Then there are piles of books and magazines and paper…lots of paper! You could say it is a happy mess. I can’t work without plenty of earl grey tea and music either.
How has the journey been in establishing yourself as a professional artist?
It has been a lot of hard work. Late nights and constant deadlines are the norm and I have found it challenging to run a business especially with an artist’s disposition. It is all worth it in the end because it is such a great feeling when the work starts to roll in and I’m lucky to be doing what I love to do everyday.
What personal work are you working on at the moment, and what areas would you like to expand into?
At the moment I am busy working on new collages, prints and paper cuts for the December Finders Keepers markets. I’m in the process of designing a new website and blog and I really want to turn my illustrations into a whole stationery range including gift cards and wrapping paper. I am also currently in the midst of new commercial projects which include packaging illustrations, textile prints and logos.