Where Fashion and Interior Design collide to Create Empowering Art –
9 questions with mixed media artist Florencia Clement de Grandprey
1. Tell me about yourself and your work.
I was born and raised in southern Spain, the daughter of an American mother and a French/Italian father. Apart from a few basic painting and drawing classes, I’m a self taught artist and did my first oil painting at age 5. I’ve had many influences in artwork. At home, our walls were always covered in original paintings…I can’t even imagine walls without artwork…it would be like a garden without flowers!
Many of my paintings have an editorial feel to them, I look towards fashion and design for inspiration as well. I’ve been involved in interior design for the past 15 years, and have lived in Florida for nearly as long. I combine my love of the classic masters with contemporary design flair by incorporating and up-cycling materials such as fabric and wall paper samples into my mixed media paintings. I’m also a professional makeup artist and use my knowledge in art and makeup artistry interchangeably to create realistic portrait-like paintings.
2. Were you always an artist?
Yes and no. I began painting at an early age, but have only been painting full time since 2014 when I quit my job as a design coordinator for a high end interior design firm. I’ve had many other jobs before becoming an artist! I taught English in Italy and Spain, I was a tour guide, worked in hospitality, flew as cabin crew for British Airways and I even trained as a Commercial Airline Pilot! But of all my jobs, being an artist is, by far, the one that makes me happiest.
3. What is your passion behind your work and your pieces?
I seek to create inspiring and empowering art. I am excited by everything that surrounds me, intrigued by man-made and nature’s creations, and compelled to combine the common and the unusual, colors and materials, emotions and positive energy.
A large portion of my artwork is dedicated to projecting a positive and inspiring image of women by portraying strong, elegant and proud ladies. My series of “Empowered Women” began in 2014 and continues today. This collection includes a tribute to all the amazing mothers who fight to bring up physically and emotionally healthy children, to confident women who are comfortable with their bodies, to natural beauties proud of their heritage, and to those of us who are different and don’t necessarily “fit” in to societal standards.
You will find my contribution is uplifting and empowering, sometimes a little daring, but always tasteful.
4. What is your process?
Every painting is different and I’m constantly exploring new ways to create, but normally I paint everything that is hair and flesh first and then add texture and excitement by incorporating collaged wall paper samples in the background and fabric samples to
dress the subject. Other times, I paint directly on fabric, letting part of the design in the fabric shine through…
I love getting commissions and working with my clients. The custom selection of materials and the choice of colors and textures, to best suit their needs and space, is all an integral part of my process. It’s part of the fun!
5. Why art?
I use colors, light and textures to say in paintings what others say with words, because that’s what comes naturally to me! As Pablo Picasso once said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. Because of art, I wake up every day excited about what I’m going to create next and take hours to fall asleep at night dreaming awake of new paintings. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
6. What do you dislike about the art world?
What I dislike about the art world is how challenging it is to survive as a new artist. Oftentimes artwork isn’t valued highly enough and people aren’t willing to pay a fair price for original pieces if the artist isn’t well known, which makes it harder for emerging artists to make a real living. Artwork should be purchased because the buyer feels a connection to the art and not because so and so painted it… I understand buying from famous artists is seen as an investment as well, but art without meaning or a personal connection seems futile otherwise.
7. What makes you angry?
Misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and racism…Oh, and waste. In this day and age there shouldn’t be any room for such behaviors and it angers and saddens me greatly that there could still exist such hatred towards entire groups of persons. Waste, especially in first world countries, is very upsetting to me. I try to recycle and upcycle many materials, such and fabric and wall paper sample, that would otherwise be disposed of at the end of interior design projects by incorporating them into my artwork.
8. What role does the artist have in society?
The artist has the power and duty, in my opinion, to be a social catalyst by shedding light on current issues and provide creative outlets. As an artist I want to inspire and empower.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Do what makes you happy”
Email: [email protected]