Though she initially worked solely as a fashion designer for brands such as Chloé, Stella McCartney, and Port 1961, when Blue Farrier dipped a paintbrush in a special inkpot a couple of years ago, everything changed.
Today she creates beautifully composed, gestural pieces using a range of thoughtfully-chosen brushes. We catch up with her to discuss her unique artistic practice and the newly available signed limited edition prints she’s produced with us.
Q: Hi Blue, great to meet you. You’ve been a creative consultant specialising in fashion for over 25 years and you’ve collaborated with many luxury brands. For anyone who isn’t familiar with your work, please can you tell us more about yourself and your journey to becoming an artist?
A: Hello! Looking back, I grew up in quite a creative family, my mum was a watercolour artist who taught adults to paint. A few of my older siblings went to art school too. I just loved art, but later on I developed a love for clothes and fashion.
After school, I also went to art school and studied a fashion foundation and then a BA and MA in Fashion design at St Martins. It was the 90s and I had a great time! I’ve always loved exploring colour, pattern, styling, fashion, culture, design, art direction and also filming super 8. I’ve had a career in fashion ever since.
Fast forward many years later to 2020 and it was then when I really started developing my love of painting, collaging with tape, posting it on Instagram and then filming the whole process…. It was like a direct portal out of such a challenging time.
Q: It was fascinating to look at your Instagram – it’s a real treasure trove of ideas and thoughtfully curated mood maps. What are your creative starting points and references?
A: It’s really just what I love and feel inspired by. I have a love of photography books and fashion magazines which I have collected since I was younger (in fact, I have quite a basement full!). I’ve always had a love of fashion imagery research and creating mood boards and sketchbooks.
Being born in the 70s pre-digital era, it’s just a progression of that really. Although now I find Instagram less inspiring compared to when it started, it’s been a good way for me to show my art to a bigger audience.
‘Nothing else comes close to the satisfaction of painting with ink. It’s so gestural and in the moment.’
Q: You produce lots of impactful, very gestural black-and-white artworks. How do you decide upon your subject matter?
A: Thank you! When I found a wonderful ink in 2020, I just couldn’t stop playing around with it. It felt so special. Honestly, it’s like a crush. It has this beautiful shine to it when it dries. It’s especially great for calligraphy and the depth of colour is just wonderful.
I tried out lots of different shaped brushes which gave me ideas for what to paint next. When I mix it with the Cotton Khadi paper it’s just a perfect combination. Nothing else comes close to the satisfaction of painting with ink. It’s so gestural and in the moment.
I have just started collaging bigger ink paintings together too, trying to increase the scale, and experimenting with stitching artworks together too.
Q: What is it about portraits and faces that draws you to them?
A: My ink portraits are painted fast and in one go. I love using a soft brush with a beautiful point. I start with the eyes and move along the face. There’s no room for error as you can’t rub out ink. So, for me, it’s like very intense painting. Then it’s over quite quickly. I don’t like to procrastinate too long over paintings. I’ll just paint another one until I feel I’ve got it right.
Q: You’ve also created an ink dot series, can you tell us more about that?
A: Yeah, I created a series of dot paintings during 2020. It was all very spontaneous. I loved how bloody hard it was to paint a circle with a square brush. I mean, what a challenge!
Then I mistakenly picked up the wet painting and the ink dripped off the page. I then tried another and found myself moving the drip around the paper to see what would happen and where it would take me. It sounds kind of nuts, but it was like the painting and I were in conversation or arguing with each other. The controlled randomness of how it would turn out was fascinating for me.
I was interested in seeing how all the paintings would sit together as a series too. And then I asked a musician to create accompanying music for them as they seemed to look like abstract musical notes. In the end, it turned the whole thing into a sort of installation piece.
Q: You’ve produced 9 limited edition prints of your artworks with King & McGaw, can you tell us about the experience?
A: Yes! I’m super excited about making my artworks into prints. I feel very honoured to have been asked! It’s been really great meeting everyone at King and McGaw too. I was honestly very impressed by the quality of the printing and the paper my artworks are produced on. I have signed each of the editions and they all come with a special certificate of authenticity.
I also really like how they’re different sizes to the originals. The idea you can buy a great quality print online, choose a frame, and get it delivered in fab packaging, is just wonderful.
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