Fiona Slater is the Melbourne-based artist you need to follow if your eyes know what’s good for them. We’re touting her the Queen of Colour, with a natural flair for kaleidoscopic, whimsical canvases. Broad brushstrokes of fluorescent hues meet washes of pastels, all colliding to create textural masterpieces that demand attention. At the easel, Fiona is at home. With a burgeoning following on Instagram, and a stunning online portfolio for us to pore over, we can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for this local Picasso. Today, we’re quizzing the creative on all things art, the source of her inspiration, and what advice she would spill for fellow movers and shakers of the Australian design scene…
Talk us through the kind of artwork that you create. What is the typical process you go through to create a new project?
How I develop new styles comes from a feeling I get. If I start to feel I’m conforming and no longer feel free in my painting, this triggers a yearning in me for change. I don’t consciously change it up – it’s pure instinct for me and often I’m drawn to the feeling it triggers in me which is always a joy. I have an innate awareness with how colours make me feel and I find I’m instantly drawn to colours, patterns and textures.
Where (or who) do you draw your inspiration for your artwork from?
I see or touch something and it’s the curiosity in me that makes me imagine how those colours might dance alongside each other and come alive on canvas. It’s also important for me to touch or pick up an object and feel the texture and view it from different angles taking in how the colour changes with shade and light. This helps me paint a picture in my mind and then I go about preparing the first stage of my canvas. All my paintings have texture, probably based on my need to look and “feel” the joy the painting gives back to me. This is me by nature and that comes through in my work. The painting has to be part of you and the challenge is always reflecting that on a canvas and exposing yourself different ways.
What’s the driving force behind your art career?
I never do a painting for money. For me, it must be joyous and come from my soul and make my heart sing. This is how I live my life. If it was for money, I wouldn’t be able to paint.
What advice would you give to budding artists who are creating content in a similar vein to you, but feel disenchanted?
My advice to any artist is to be true to yourself. Paint because it feeds your soul and reflects that in your work. It can be happy. It can be moody. As long as it has soul, people will feel the energy in your work and be drawn to it. Don’t ever be offended. The reality is not everyone will like your work. It all comes together in time, and as time goes on your work evolves as does your following.
How integral do you think art is when designing a home?
There is nothing better than a beautiful piece of artwork that brings a room alive. It gives the room a heartbeat and a privileged insight to the home-owners soul. Remember, artwork must be from your soul so it can speak to another soul. Often the two are drawn to the same thing and this is how most people buy. It’s true what they say about art: “it needs to speak to them.”
Would you style a space around a piece of art? Or search for art that complements a space?
I don’t actively look to find artwork, it finds me. Therefore, I don’t buy to fill a space. When I come across a painting that speaks to me, I fall in love with it and have to have it. I always find a place for it in my home and it always works…like it was meant to be.
In 2017, all work and not enough play has meant that we as human beings often feel guilty when we break the mould and do something for ourselves once in a while. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that we are living in an age where stress has become a normal emotion that many people experience daily. I believe that the stress that we endure can be helped, and that is by putting yourself in beautiful spaces.
I once read an interior decorating ‘how to’ book made in the 1970’s (what seems to be a much simpler time to us millennials) that said when decorating, choose a colour palette that brings you joy. Now, I put this into practice; I sat down and thought, what colours instil absolute relaxation and elate me… and as a result my bedroom is made up with splashes of turquoise, charcoal and a crisp white. The final result did make me happy, every time I walked into my bedroom I felt as though I was in a space that I could let go, because the colours I had chosen to be surrounded by distracted from any of life’s stress. However, I wanted to take this theory a step further, I wanted to replace all of my furniture with pieces that brought me just as much joy as my chosen colour palette did.
My first move was heading to Instagram and Pinterest for decorating inspiration, there is something so therapeutic about looking at pictures of stunningly decorated rooms. After hours of trawling the deep web for gorgeous interior photography, I had selected a few pieces that I just had to have. The rest of the process is pretty self-explanatory, I went on a shopping spree and purchased homewares that fed my soul with happiness. Although I was tempted to walk into Kmart and drop all of my money on pieces that were on trend, I decided to really invest my money on furniture that was a little more unique than the mass produced pieces they offer. I am so glad that I stuck with my vision and dedicated my time and money to this direction, because the results have brought me the feelings that I so desired my own space would bring.
My advice to fellow ‘beautiful space’ seekers:
- Do your research – Planning your beautiful space means that you will have no regrets later on when you splash the cash. Start with a colour palette, search the internet for inspiration, and allow yourself to fall in love with special pieces. Smart purchases are created with smart planning.
- If it makes you happy, do it – If you’ve partaken in the above and found pieces that you have fallen head over heels in love with, treat yourself. Reality check: it is okay to spoil yourself sometimes, and can you really put a price on happiness?
- Make your beautiful space your priority – surrounding yourself with things that make you happy definitely plays on your mood. Life is stressful, make sure you have somewhere aesthetically pleasing you can escape to.
- When you’ve furnished your space, move on to beautiful scents – this is the finishing touch. When all is said and done, pick a scent that you associate with good times. I promise you, a good scented soy candle really completes a fabulous room, and you won’t regret it.
Remember, every person on this earth is different, it is important to express your individuality through your surroundings to enhance your happiness – not that you need to justify homewares shopping… so go forth my friends, and fill your homes with beautiful furniture, your mind will thank you for it!
Written by Charlotte Gregory for Zudis Retail Group