This week, we are excited to welcome contemporary artist, Lucie Flynn to the Enter Gallery gallery family.
Her instantly-recognisable work, which combines spray paint, acrylic, inks and collage, is characterised by bright, clashing palettes, bold sweeps and splatters and layers of paint that stand out loud and proud, and crackle with life.
In today’s blog, we chat to Flynn about her artistic style, inspirations and the empowering themes she explores in her art.
From carefully-crafted woodcut prints, to large-scale murals around the world, Flynn’s bold work is a crossover of contemporary urban styles, influenced by street art, graffiti and printing. She explains:
“I’m really into creating different layers in my work which have a fluid organic feel. Sometimes an artwork might look very instantaneous, which it often is, whereas other times I really have to work to make sure it has that freedom of the brushstrokes. There’s a real element of freedom, but I also know how I want the final image to appear. It has to look exactly right otherwise it’s binned.”
“I’m committed to the play and continual growth elements of creating art and trying new techniques. Up until a few years ago, I thought not settling on one thing was a negative thing, but then I realised I like trying different things. I don’t want to be tied down or bored. I want to keep learning.”
“Across all the different things I do, you can always see my style and my colours. There’s a thread that runs through, but I don’t want to be repeating the same thing over and over.”
Life’s a Journey
Speaking to Flynn, it’s clear her artistic career has taken many fascinating twists and turns, with every step gifting her knowledge and experience that’s resulted in the unique aesthetic we see today.
Her journey began at Reigate School of Art, where she studied with a subversive mix of creatives and honed her craft under tutors that afforded her a sense of freedom. Next, she exhibited her work on the top floor of the now legendary and highly-influential Dragon Bar in Shoreditch, where she rubbed shoulders with the likes of The Chapman Brothers, Ben Eine and Banksy. It was at this point that she was recruited to work at Damien Hirst’s infamous art factory.
The Hirst Effect
Love him or hate him, Hirst’s output and influence on the art world is undeniable. We were interested to hear what Flynn learned during her time working for him that she has taken forward into her own work. She reveals:
“He wasn’t afraid, that’s for sure. It taught me a lot about scope in terms of ideas. My Manager would tell us, ‘he wants to do this - go and research it’ and off we would go. This notion of researching ideas and different ways of doing things is something I’ve carried forward. I’m always going to print shows to discover new techniques that I can use that will help me to push myself.“
“That time also taught me optimism. Before working there, I hadn’t experienced the freedom of seeing ideas constantly brought to fruition. It made becoming a legitimate artist in my own right seem like more of a reality.”
“That was another thing I learnt working for Damien, the importance of thinking about the final product and how it will look up close. The work was so beautifully curated and formed – it taught me about the production side of things and the level of finish I desire on the artworks I’m creating. I want my work to look better in the flesh than in a photograph, nose to the glass if you will!”
The Power of Motherhood
One theme evident across Flynn’s oeuvre is, as she describes it, the ‘strength and freedom of being a woman’.
After years producing art for Hirst, Flynn made the decision to take control of her own artistic career when she became a Mother.
“I realised that I really needed to return to my art and the things that I wanted to do and create. I just got to a point when I thought, ‘I’m so bored of hearing myself make excuses’ I just needed to get out there and do it.”
“I built a website because I knew if I did that, I’d have to fill it with art, and from there things just started happening – commissions, groups shows. The more I did, the more opportunities kept coming to me and I’m enjoying flowing with it.”
In the Nudie
Amongst the works now available at Enter Gallery is Flynn’s Nudie series, a collection of beautifully-made woodcut original pieces portraying the beauty and power of the female form. Speaking of the series, Flynn reveals:
“I started making the Nudie series when I was going through a major change in my relationship. I wanted to create a cool image that both women and men could look at and admire, something instantly recognisable that had my style all over it.”
“I have two children and I’ve struggled fitting into the mould prescribed by Motherhood. The series is all about strength, individuality and breaking the normal code of what it’s like being a Mother.”
This new collection of Flynn’s artworks includes a number of text-based pieces, also designed with empowerment in mind, which have struck a real chord with her audience.
Speaking of The Original Rebel Mother, Flynn states:
“The idea for these pieces came about when I was researching the suffragettes and the beautiful banners they used to make for a show celebrating International Women’s Day. I kept seeing these banners emblazoned with ‘rebelle’ – I adapted that in my head to Rebel Mother.”
“At the time my daughter was growing more into a little person and it made me think about me and my standpoint. I want her to see and feel that anything is possible. It sounds corny but I wasn’t given those artistic opportunities either growing up or even in college – it was very hard, I floundered a lot and tried lots of things. I want my daughter to feel proud of who she is, and she is! She’s so proud of her uniqueness and her creativity – she lives with me and Ben (Eine), we’re both creative and she thrives on that and it makes me so pleased that it’s just natural to her.”
“Being real about what’s happening in my life has been a more recent development for me, but this openness about my personal life is something that people have really connected to. It’s a challenge to open up, and when you hear from people that have really connected with the work, it’s wonderful."
"I get messages all the time, from women and men. I love hearing from husbands or boyfriends who’ve bought a piece for a wife or partner who has just had a baby and is struggling with that change in role and identity, wanting to buy something for the person they love that says, ‘hey, I know this is hard, but you’re still you’. These pieces aren’t just about being a Mum – they’re about being a woman and recognising and embracing yourself.”
Lucie Flynn’s art is now available at Enter Gallery. Peruse the collection, here.