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Interview with Millennial Matisse, Florence Hutchings

Reflections on social media, the Saatchi gallery and painting her house plants

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At just 24 years old and while still studying at Slade School of Fine Art in London, Florence Hutchings has already enjoyed success at a sold out show at Delphian Gallery and will now showcase her work at Saatchi Gallery’s blockbuster exhibition Kaleidoscope, which opens on 15 March and will run until 5 May.

florence hutchings

Florence Hutchings’ work will be exhibited alongside Laura Buckley’s immersive scultpure entitled Fata Morgana. © Laura Buckley, 2012. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

Inspired by everyday life, with the toilet and her sofa starring regularly, Hutchings sketches vibrant, abstract cut-outs in the style of Henry Matisse and Georges Braque. The relatable domestic scenes she recreates in bright pinks, reds and greens has gathered her a substantial following on Instagram.

We found out what exhibiting means to her, whether it be on social media or the prestigious Saatchi gallery.

Describe your perspective on domestic life in three words?

Playful, ambiguous and raw.

What do you want people to feel when they view your art?

I want people to feel excited by my work – I want there to be an element of freshness and fun. That’s why I always try and keep the process of making my work open to the public. If it’s never boring for me then hopefully it won’t be perceived that way by the viewer. I also enjoy it when people tell me that my work makes them want to paint. I feel that some of my favourite artists have that effect on me so for someone to feel that about my work is something I take a lot from.

What was your favourite scene to draw in 2018?

There were many things I enjoyed drawing that year. My living room was probably the most drawn scene, but I also enjoyed drawing my house plants, the duvet on my bed and even the toilet.

Clothes on a Rail © Florence Hutchings, 2017. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

What time of day do you prefer to work?

That changes a lot, but I suppose at the moment I mainly paint in the morning through to the afternoon and then draw most of the evening. I usually draw more at my apartment than in the studio, as drawing from life is so important to me that this way of working just makes more sense.

How long does it take to get a piece ‘just right’?

That’s the impossible question! I still never know when a piece is finished, and I think it’s probably something I never will know. I can overwork my paintings at times and then, when I realise I’ve done it again, I try and make them more simple and fresh. This way they end up having more ambiguity which I enjoy. I like it when people make up their own narrative about what’s happening in my work. I may know an object is a jacket, but other people have mistaken it for a mermaid’s tail before.

Are your Instagram followers a good judge of the value of your work?

I like to use Instagram as a diary. I post a lot of pieces still in process and lots of my usually un-exhibited sketchbooks. In terms of the value of my work, I think the main judge of that is myself and the artists around me, not necessarily what people say on social media.

How did you decide which pieces to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery?

The work in the show were bought by the gallery and added to the collection over a period of a couple of years. These paintings are ones that Philly Adams and Charles Saatchi have chosen from my body of work.

Whose work in the Kaleidoscope exhibition do you admire most?

I particularly love the work of Peter Linde Busk and Tom Howse.

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