Focus on Florals with Andria Beighton June 14 2023

Andria Beighton is a Melbourne based artist, currently absorbed in the creation of distinctive, still life paintings with a floral focus. A self taught artist, Andria has developed a unique, meticulously clean and balanced style. Andria’s background in floristry and accessory design are evident in her subject selection and carefully constructed colour palettes. A lifelong love of textile, homewares and architectural design from the 1930s to 1970s is explored through her work, lending her paintings their unmistakable nostalgic allure. Andria is an emerging artist with her first solo show being held earlier in 2021 at Off the Kerb in Collingwood, VIC. Her works are held in private collections throughout Australia, the UK and USA. 

Andria's solo show Floratopia opens June 30.

Interview by Gab Lewis. Images supplied by Andria Beighton.

Firstly a big welcome with your solo show debut at Outré! We've been lucky enough to have your beautiful works included in a number of our group exhibitions but this time we will get to see a lot more from you! Tell us - what shaped this featured series, and what do you have in store for our viewers?

Thank you! As a longtime visitor to the gallery I’m very excited to have a solo show here! This series evolved around three quirky floral elements and a variety of 1970s vases. Expect crispy, colourful, retro vibes!

Your background in floristry and accessory design marries seamlessly with not only this series but many of your recent bodies of work. Can you tell us about your journey to arriving at your current painting practice?

Besides fuelling a lifelong love of flowers, floristry taught me a lot about composition which has carried through to my current practice. Accessory design allowed me to play with colours and more importantly, as my own venture, allowed me to learn the myriad of skills needed to run a small business. I started painting as a form of relaxation around the same time I was outgrowing my accessories business of twelve years. With some encouragement from friends, I took the leap to focus on my art practice instead and haven’t looked back!

You've spoken about a feeling of calm that comes from achieving your masterful sense of balance in composition and palette; is this meditativeness consistent throughout your whole practice or mainly sparked by the design element?

It’s definitely consistent throughout. My mind has a tendency to race sometimes but the inherent slowness of my painting process forces me to slow down and focus for long periods of time. It’s very meditative and restorative.

Describe your ultimate studio day - what makes up the perfect recipe for a successful day on the tools?

A clean space, a bit of sunshine and some favourite podcasts is my recipe for success in the studio! It can take me a while to get "in the zone," so I need to block out extended periods of time without appointments or social commitments and often end up working late into the night.

Can you provide some insight into your process, particularly surrounding your stunning palettes and compositions? Your works seem incredibly considered, so what steps do you take to reach that outcome?

There’s quite a process behind the creation of each piece! I’m constantly taking photos and screenshots of things that interest me which are used to spark initial, hand sketched concepts. From this I use procreate to refine the composition and colours. Finalising the colours is the hardest part! There are almost endless combinations. Sometimes I just have to tell myself to stop and choose or I’d be stuck for days. I also spend a lot of time mixing the colours and creating test sheets to get them exactly right before I start painting. 

What advice might you have for any creatives trying to make a step from an alternative industry into the visual arts, much like your transition from accessory design to now being a full time artist!

I think the first step (besides being incredibly dedicated and passionate) is to hone your own style and techniques. Having a unique, recognisable style and quality work is a good foundation. It’s also important to realise you’ll be doing a lot more than making art all day. Most artists, especially when starting out, will be doing everything that’s required to run what is essentially a small business. Learn some basic business and adjacent skills such as bookkeeping, how to photograph your work, use social media for marketing etc. I was lucky to be able to transfer these skills across from my accessory business.

You're undoubtedly influenced by mid century aesthetic - what are some of your favourite design moments throughout this period?

Definitely the textiles! From sixties op art designs to seventies florals, I love the bold, joyful patterns and palettes. In contrast, I’m also a huge fan of brutalist architecture. I’ll often sketch the solid, balanced shapes of buildings or monuments as a basis for my work.

Do you have any fail-safe remedies you can call on when you're stuck or have a creative block that can get you back in action?

Scrolling back through reference photos of palettes, flowers, architectural details etc usually does the trick. Revisiting older ideas that I might have sketched up but not developed will often spark something too. Sometimes I just need to take time out for a walk or to spend time with friends to reset my creativity. It’s hard to be creative when you force it too much. Sometimes you just need to take a break!

What's next for you Andria Beighton so our audience can stay tuned!

After a much needed holiday I’ll be back for the Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne. After that I’m looking forward to exploring some more detailed, larger scale works. Lots of crispy, colourful ideas are brewing!

Thank you again for chatting with us, Andria! We can't wait to enter your floral wonderland!