Sunday Maker's Session with Artist Florence Hershman

Artist, Florence Hershman has been working across three different studios over the past six months and is now settling into her permanent address in London where she has space to be creative in her living room. She is currently working on commissions which have architectural focus so we discuss these as well as talk collaborations, galleries and ideas for the future.

Hey Flo, it's so great to be able to discover a little more about your artwork, and yourself as an artist so first and foremost thank you for doing this session! At present what three words would you use to describe your paintings and why?

Thank you for having me! 

I would firstly say Impressionist. I have always been really inspired by impressionism and its definitely my favourite artistic movement, so it's unsurprising that this is how I would tend to define my art! Secondly; textured. I only recently started to focus on the texture of my paintings. I think that I previously slightly neglected this side of my paintings, but as I have started to focus on it more I am really enjoying the outcome, so it’s a skill I’m working to develop. The final word would be random! This is because I feel as though I don’t have much continuity with the subject matter of my paintings at the moment. This may be because I haven’t had as much time to paint recently, as I moved from Bristol to London, so I haven’t really got into a flow. I am enjoying experimenting, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a project. I will start to share some of these new pieces soon!

You've mentioned before that your current work has developed largely from painting landscapes into the continuous line drawings of female figures that you regularly do now; do you feel that this development is crucial for you to grow as an artist? 

I think that its really important to continuously challenge your own process and push yourself when you feel as though you have different areas to explore. I still really enjoy painting landscapes, and I have begun painting cityscapes. I was commissioned to paint the Bristol Suspension Bridge, Hammersmith Bridge and at the moment I am working on a commission of Worcester Cathedral and the river Severn. I think its important to break up the styles so that you are actively seeking out more inspiration and aren’t getting stuck. Having had a slight break from painting the female form I feel that I have lots of ideas which I am excited to work on! I am also taking a slight break from continuous line faces, as I felt as though I wasn’t developing my ideas beyond what I knew worked. So hopefully when I come back to this, it will be with a new lease of life!

This transition between subject matters is really intriguing being that they are so different. Are there any other subjects that inspire you and may come to life in future works?

I was recently inspired by a scene on the show ‘Little Fires Everywhere’, there was one quote in particular that really struck a chord with me. It inspired me to do a painting of a skyscape with the words painted over the top. I have no idea how this will look when finished and whether or not it will work, but I am excited to give it a go! So you may see some more of this from me! I like to open myself up to requests from customers and give them a go, regardless of if they fit my normal ‘style’. I think this helps me to develop my skills and grow as an artist. 

Is there a particular location, or handful of places which inspire you and your work most?

I visit galleries whenever I can. A few of my favourites which I visit regularly are the Tate Modern, The National Gallery and Saatchi Gallery. Obviously in recent months, most galleries have been closed and are only slowly reopening now, but I was able to visit a small gallery in Salcombe the other day. This gallery had a few pieces by Tracy Emin, who I have always hugely admired, and I found this very inspiring. So I don’t feel like a particular location necessarily inspires me, but the galleries definitely do! I try and take as many photos as I can wherever I go in order to gain inspiration and learn about depth and light.

We've seen a little snippet of embroidery that you did on a pocket, inspired by one of your paintings.. and we love it! Could you see yourself applying your creative skills to any other mediums? 

I really love experimenting with different mediums, so I would definitely be keen to branch out. I thought about using fabric paint on old items of clothing to upcycle them, which I think I will try! I also did a photography course in Bristol a year ago which I really enjoyed, and have been developing my photography skills in order to do a black and white film collection of the people in my life. This is very early days, but I’m excited about it! I would also LOVE to do a mural, if anyone would be keen for me to paint on their walls! 

Also your collaboration with Patch Madoc had us super excited! Do you have any other creative collaborations in mind, or perhaps someone, or a brand you'd love to work with in the future?

I haven’t got anything in the pipe line at the moment, but I LOVE Baby G’s art, especially the amazing chairs and gorgeous new silk scarfs, so would certainly love to work with her. I am also obsessed with Willemien Bardawil’s work. I think the detail is unbelievable and her work is stunning. There is such an incredible network of brilliant artists who I have discovered since looking on Instagram, so I would love to work with any of them and am always open to creative collaborations.

Finally, do you have any unusual or interesting habits that you revert to whilst you do a painting? 

This isn’t necessarily interesting, and certainly isn’t particularly creatively inspired, but when I paint I always have in the background a TV show, one which I’ve seen often enough to not need to concentrate. This includes The US Office, Modern Family, Peep Show and The Thick Of It. I don’t know why and I don’t even watch, but I need it on! I wish I did have an interesting or unusual quirk when I paint which made me sound like a more serious artist, but I’m afraid I just watch sitcoms. 

See Flo's wonderful artwork here!