What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
The inspiration behind my SWELL 2021 sculpture, pigface, and the bulk of my art is forever flowers. Nature often dictates what I create, especially when it comes to my floristry practice- if you observe which way a flower is growing, it will tell you how to place it. I believe all the best design is found in nature.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
When beginning an artwork, I start off with a rough game plan but find I often become inspired as I start to play and experiment and head off in an unexpected direction, developing the idea in a way you can never pre-plan.
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
I would describe my artistic journey as a wild ride, especially working in events floristry. It has been an industry that has pushed me with its creative challenges and high paced energy. The beauty of floral art is that you can never produce the same thing twice.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
I started off wanting to be a graphic designer but soon realised I longed to do something more hands-on, which is how I got into flowers. As a florist I have had to adapt to the briefs of clients and the style of the companies I have worked for. Over the years I have developed a style where I can push the boundaries of traditional floristry and work in a more sculptural and irregular style, which has flowed over to my artistic practice.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
As a self-confessed procrastinator and perfectionist, the ideal environment for me to work in is one where I am under time pressure. This means there’s no time for overkill. I think you convey the same energy as a swift brushstroke by a confident painter when working quickly and in the moment.
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
An artist that inspires me is Niki de Saint Phalle. I love her garish colours, outlandish forms and joyful admiration of the female form. She truly pushed boundaries and was not associated with any artistic movement, instead running her own race.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Exuberant, bold, humorous.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
I am honoured to be a part of the SWELL 2021 community of talented artists and have the opportunity to reach out to the art lovers of the Gold Coast. This is an especially great privilege in a world where many things have had to change or completely cease from going ahead.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your practice?
I have learnt a lot over the years working for very talented master-florists and had the opportunity to hone my craft under their wings. Lessons in negative space, texture and impact cross over to my artistic practice.
If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?
I am always drawn to a holiday by the ocean. There’s nothing more fun than exploring little islands, bobbing around on a kayak and finding deserted beaches. There’s also the local coastal flora to admire.
Gourmet restaurant or home-cooked meal?
There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with loved ones. I often touch on my Greek background when deciding on flavours and spices and find that experimenting in the kitchen is a good creative outlet. I have discovered I am unable to stick to a recipe and often put my own twist on the classics.
How would you describe your taste in music?
My taste in music is best described as eclectic. Often uplifting, sometimes more moody, it needs to have a rhythm you can dance to and an exotic or experimental touch.
Courtney Stephens is an emerging creative event producer based in Tweed Heads. After a successful career as a Practice Manager, her passion for the creative arts industry has led her to study a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create community based events.