A conversation with artist Fiona Slater
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.