In conversation with Florence Reekie

January 26, 2023
  1. What are your primary sources of inspiration for your art?

Currently I’m using a lot of archival fashion imagery as starting points for my work. But certain fashion designers have always been a huge inspiration -90’s Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood and Elsa Schiaparelli and more currently Harris Reed for their artistry and powers of seduction. I also spend time studying historic painters who use drapery in their work. Partly to try to understand how the effect has been rendered or achieved and partly to gauge how the artist is trying to describe their subjects as drapery was often used to display emotion and bring being into paintings. I always come back to Gerard Tor Borch.


2. How do you start an artwork?

I’m not sure what it is about a particular image than eventually leads me to paint it, I often have many options for one idea. There’s a few ways in which a composition comes about for me. Often I’ll start with a piece of fabric or object that I’m interested in to set up a diorama to take reference photos from or I’ll stumble across a scene in my day to day that I know will work for a piece, for me that’s the most exciting way to start.  Recently I’ve also been using  collaging of magazine imagery to abstract some of my ideas and play with context in compositions.


  3. What is the role of your surroundings in your practice?

I used to think I was fairly low maintenance when it comes to my studio but I’ve noticed I work so much better in certain spaces. Of course the main thing is good natural light which can be tricky to come by in studios depending on where you are based. I also always need something playing in the  background, usually a podcast, I have a roster of podcasts that keep me company. Space to move around is pretty key, I walk back and forth to give myself distance from a painting to see whats going on. Being surrounded by fabrics and inspiration images is helpful for me, I have all sorts stuck to the walls of my studio - a cross between a visual todo list and a moodboard.


4. You are a self-taught artist, what has been the biggest help in your journey?

Honestly I never really predicted this is what I would be doing as much as I had dreamed of it. There’s a number of people in my life who have been so supportive of this route, speaking practically it never would have been possible without those friends that gave me small commissions for paintings and drawings when I first started. I don’t believe art school defines whether someone is a capable artist but I often have imposter syndrome. My sisters are my greatest and most brilliant critics but are also the first to say there’s no question painting is what I should be doing - it's always a relief to hear.


5. Could you describe your style in a few sentences? 

This is always such a hard question to answer, sometimes what I see and what others see seems to differ which I think is quite important to me. I would say some decadence and some nostalgia, mixed with elements of tradition and baroque sensibilities. I suppose it’s a mood or a world I wish to inhabit.




About the author

Mariia Kashchenko

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