Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Conversation With Fiona Long

Fiona Long is an artist extraordinaire who lives, studies and works in London. Fiona and I have the connection of her having grown up in the same area of England where I lived just a short eighteen months ago. At a very young age she is an accomplished artist who has an interest in how life interacts with art.

1. I understand you have a degree in Psychology and are now working towards another degree in Art. You also come from a musical background. Would you tell us more about your history and how important you feel it is to the art you create today?

Hi Kim, that’s right. I did a degree in psychology over ten years ago. It’s a fascinating subject and I loved it. What I really wanted to do, however, was to paint. I really wanted to study art but felt that I ought not to as it wasn’t the ‘sensible’ thing to do. I felt I should follow a career path that would bring me a stable financial existence and make people proud. I started off doing drawings and paintings in my spare time but it was just too painful not to devote more time to it so in the end I gave up almost entirely for a few years. It spilt out into things like my cooking though.

It is so interesting how we deny what is really right for us. But I suppose we live in a society which doesn’t encourage us to always follow our own intuition or goals. It is the same for me.

Yes, I’m glad you found your art too Kim!

I guess these things can spill out into music too and singing has been another creative expression of mine. My Dad is a keen blues singer and guitarist and I sometimes join him at his gigs. This interest in the Blues led me to do the official portrait of the late, great Tommy Johnson which is currently housed in a Blues school in Mississippi and will eventually live at the Tommy Johnson museum when the TJ Foundation have raised the funds to build it in honour of this legendary man.



Fiona, this is such a cool story and it is neat this is now housed here in the States waiting to be hung in a museum…now how great is that?

It’s really great! I’m so excited about it!

I’ve now just finished my 1st year of my fine art painting degree at Wimbledon College of Art . I’m totally loving it and my tutors were very happy with me in the assessment I’ve just had which is encouraging!



I am sure your tutors were over the top with your work. I bet you are eager for the next year to begin and more exciting work. Is your summer break filled with art?

Of course! I’m going to be making a lot of it and when I’m not doing that, I’ll be absorbing new situations and aesthetics, going to exhibitions, reading and letting all that wash over me for a while. Then I’ll try to work out what it all means in a couple of months time!


1. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always known that I wanted to be an artist really. I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I could pick up a brush or a pencil as a toddler. My Dad would bring home reams of computer paper for me which I would fill with crayon scribbles. I could amuse myself for hours on end like that, only breaking to have the odd dance around the sitting room or to climb a tree. Spending lots of time on my own like this led me to be a bit of a dreamer which has helped me to do the creative thinking I do today.

You sound like the child of any busy parent’s dream. J And I am sure you were.

Oh…I’m sure I had my moments!


I knew that I wanted to become a professional artist when several things in my life fell apart at once. I turned the negatives into a huge positive because I felt that this allowed me to follow my dreams and stop just being ‘sensible’. Sometimes it just isn’t sensible to deny what your soul demands that you do! I allowed my heart and soul to have a say for a change and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I couldn’t be happier!

Ah yes, the push to follow your muse…to do just what is important to Fiona! I am sure many people can relate to that kind of life changing event. You are so right, it is not sensible to “deny your soul demands…” I can’t say I agree more.


1. Your paintings like to push the limit of every day things you see. Your body of work which focused on Urban Decay and your more recent focus of what is stored below people’s sinks clearly bring the every day to life. Have you always focused this way or were your early works differently focused? Do you think it is your psychology background which is showing an influence now?

I used to have terrible difficulty defining my work but you’ve done a great job here Kim! People asked me what I painted and I would say: well anything really: flowers, fruit, animals, portraits, occasionally landscape. But yes, what has always fascinated me is looking at real things but in a slightly different way. My early paintings looked at many things like flowers etc but focused in on them almost to the point of abstraction. I enjoyed how intimate they could look. Of course, Georgia O’Keeffe was a real inspiration in this.


You know, I think it takes another creative person to be able to help you see in your art what you need to explain it to others. To me, we have far too much tied into our work emotionally to explain it to someone else who has a more difficult time making that kind of connection. I know I have a very hard time explaining my work to others. The blog world has helped me a lot with that. I am sure your connection at college does that for you, too.

Oh definitely! I’ve learned how important it is to be able to talk about one’s work and it’s something we’re really encouraged to do at university. And yes, it’s helpful to get perspective on our work and others by stepping back. A bit like doing a large painting really and needing to get back and maybe leave it alone for a while to really understand how it’s going.

Last year my work focused on and around urban decay in my series of work ‘Urban Flux’. With this work, I was definitely challenging the way that we look at the everyday. I wanted to demonstrate the beauty that surrounds us even in things that we might not usually see as beautiful. When I moved away from the beautiful New Forest where you have also had the delight of living, Kim, I was struck by the difference of the aesthetic of London. I realized though that even though nature is obviously beautiful when it’s doing its own thing in a truly rural environment, it can be pretty amazing when it has its effect on what man has made too. I love the look of layers of peeling paint or the effect of wind erosion and lichen growing on a wall. This battle between man and Mother Nature is an amazing aesthetic which I wanted to point out to the viewer, hoping that expressing it as art would be a way of changing the way that people see their own surroundings.

I have to say I completely agree with you. I adored living in The Forest and I adored my time in London. Beauty is everywhere, if we know how to see it. Your work of bringing this beauty to the public has probably made a huge difference in their lives. Even though I am a pretty strong visual person, I know your work has encouraged that particular kind of searching for me.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear that Kim!


Yes, my latest Under Sink Cupboard paintings have definitely been playing with the everyday and what can be perceived as art. It has been interesting to focus on something so apparently banal but with lots of underlying metaphors. My psychology has really come into this body of work as it looks at how our childhood perception of space and the home affect the way we experience the intimate spaces of our environments.


I have to say when you first asked for those photos of under our sinks I kept wondering what in the world…and to create an online museum of sorts of those photographs was brilliant. But you have again, taken what you learned from those and created something to make viewers see beauty and creativity in a different light. And it was an honor to be a participant in this adventure, too.

Ah! Thank you Kim! The whole Facebook group was highly amusing to me and it was so funny to wonder how people might be reacting to the craziness of it all. Some of my friends admitted to me that they thought I actually had gone mad! When I painted them, the Sun was shining and I wanted to add a sort of childlike excitement and exuberant palette to express that childhood wonder of exploration. Did you ever like to make little dens or hide in a torch from the grown-ups thinking it was all terribly adventurous?

Oh yes, the whole “fort” thing of the blankets over the dining room table, so we could have “walls” to hide away from the rest of the world around us. We were so safe under there. And I never thought you made, Fiona

1. Your work has the most incredible detail. What mediums do you prefer to use? How do you best work?

Thanks! Well, I always used to be, almost exclusively, an oil painter but I do love to experiment with all kinds of mediums nowadays from marble powder and rust to concrete and tar! My brick wall paintings are fairly simple. They’re pretty much just sand and glue so they even feel like walls!

That is so cool….sand and glue to create some excellent art. You know I adore those. They must be relatively heavy, though. Is that true? I think it is fantastic to have true texture a viewer can touch. I wonder if these hung in a public space and people were encouraged to touch them how long it would take to show that wear…talk about interactive art!

Yes, I love the idea of that! I always feel really honoured when someone gently touches my paintings. They generally know that one shouldn’t normally touch one so surely the urge to touch must overcome these social constraints. Success!

Also, with my interest in the way that things decay and change with time, the idea of one of these paintings being eroded by people is absolutely perfect! Totally on theme! Great idea Kim!

Oh, and yes…they’re getting really quite heavy! I’m working on reducing the weight in my more recent ones…but I do love that texture!


1. What artists influence you the most (past and present)?

Gosh! This could be a very long list! I’ll try to limit it a bit.

From the past I love the painterliness of Rembrandt and Velasquez and Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro. I love the mystery! Goya’s late work whilst he descended into madness is enormously powerful!

I love the passion and horror of Francis Bacon’s work and the way that Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville paint flesh. I really like the innuendo that Francis Picabia and Georgia O’Keeffe employ.

There are many women artists who have had enormous impact on my work over the last couple of years. Especially Louise Bourgeois, Cathy de Monchaux, Kiki Smith and Annette Messager.

These are really great artists, Fiona. I also have an interest in women artists…I wonder if that is because women painters are relatively new…like women writers?

Maybe. I don’t know really but I often find that their work really resonates with me. Of course there are loads of male artists I love too!



1. Who else has had an impact on your work?

Well, I love to read which can really inspire my work. The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas, The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard and The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard have all been enormously inspiring. The support of my parents has also had the biggest impact of all and I couldn’t have done it without the advice from tutors and the people around my life including my wonderful cyber friends like you Kim!

Yes, we are really lucky to have cyber friends who influence us so much. I know tutors and personal friends are always important in our work because they are the ones who help shape our life and give us the personal experiences we draw on. Thank you Fiona, for the nice words and honor here.


1. Of the work you have done to this point, what is your favorite? Why do you think?

Oh, I don’t know. This changes all the time and I still feel that I’ve yet to produce my favorite work. I think this hunger to find and create something that I’m truly proud of is what keeps me going and going!

Having said that, I love making my brick wall paintings and they seem to be pretty popular. I’m glad that so many people have responded not only to the aesthetic but the sense of humour which lies behind them also.

You have a lot of lovely choice, Fiona. The brick wall is also a favorite of mine…now do you have plans for other wall surfaces?

Yes, I have lots of plans for making variations over the Summer. I’ve been looking at different brickwork bonds (patterns) this week and collecting different coloured sands around the New Forest.

You are going to have some great summer works, Fiona. There are some lovely variations in Lymington, I remember. I know it is just out of the Forest, but close. And you might check some of those back roads around Sway. I just walked a lot in that area so it is familiar.

Thanks Kim. I’ll be sure to check those out.


1. What do you think is the greatest artistic risk you have ever taken?

Something quite simple really which turned out to be quite fundamental in the change of my work. I got a bit stuck, when I was younger, trying to make my work representational. I went to some art classes in my village of Lyndhurst with a wonderful old teacher called Fred Sinkinson who was friends with many of the St Ives movement artists so needless to say his work has a wonderful abstract quality to it much of the time. I started painting a knobbly guord and he encouraged me to exaggerate and explore the vertical structure of the squash. I know this doesn’t seem like that radical a risk but it was a big turning point for me and the way that I approach making art nowadays

I can see where that is a big risk for you at this point. I think risk means something which makes you struggle to move past what is making you feel stuck or frustrated.

I quite agree. Sometimes it can be quite a small change that makes a huge difference. I suppose our artistic learning is an evolution with revolutionary eras!

1. What do you think is your greatest accomplishment to this point? At 30, you still have lots of time to realize more.

I guess it was just resolving to paint again really and getting emotional reactions to my work.. That and selling 3 paintings in one night at Art For Youth last year! Oh, and getting my work into the State of the Art competition exhibition at the Royal College of Art was pretty cool too! I’m so pleased I got into Wimbledon where I study and I’ve very recently had some paintings accepted into an exhibition at Deutche Bank.

Those are fabulous accomplishments! I like how you acknowledged being able to get emotional reactions to your work…you are right, that is indeed HUGE.


1. What do you think has been the greatest benefit to you so far in finding your artistic voice? And by-the-way, how do you find that voice?

I think I just look at the world around me. There is always something to make and always something to say.

Voice is a struggle for so many…it seems to come naturally to you. I wonder if that is because you grew up with a man who painted with his voice and in a place where your voice could be heard…I felt The New Forest was like that.

It could well be. Yes, the New Forest is a magical place. I like to take everything that I’ve learned and experienced in life and draw it together in various ways to express new ideas.

The perfect voice, but it does take some longer to know what to express than other, I think.


1. What do you think will be your next project?

Over the summer I’m going to get to work on some commissions that I haven’t had time for over the academic year and I’m going to work on pushing my brick walls a bit more. As you know, I love to experiment!

Yes, and I am with you on those experiments. That will be fun to work on those projects. I hope we will be able to see them as you get them completed.

Of course! I’ll pop them up on my blog ;0)

I will be watching closely.


1. What is the most difficult project you have ever worked on?

I’m not sure really. I guess I embrace the challenges and don’t really see them as difficulties. I suppose it was my Urban Flux sculpture. I had to dismantle a lot of electrical items and then assembling the whole thing was pretty back breaking. I spent hours on end crouched over with a screw driver in hand. My classmates were shocked to discover I was a girl at the private view!


I bet they were…that is funny! I can see where that would have been very physically challenging to be sure. I love the way you say you don’t see them as difficulties, but embrace the challenges! What a great approach!


(This is a photo from the London Underground at Stockwell. It isn’t my work except that I observed and snapped it. This is the kind of thing that inspires me though)

1. Do you enjoy writing about your art?

Yes, I do enjoy writing about it because so much thought goes into it, I want people to know about it! Then again, a good artwork should talk for itself so I try to be careful about that….sometimes!

Well, I know I enjoy reading and seeing your art…so keep on doing both!

Thanks! I will!


1. What other art forms hold an interest for you?

Gosh. I think I love all of it! Video, performance, ballet, music…..

An all around creative person, Fiona!

Well, I can’t say that I do it all but I certainly appreciate an awful lot of art forms!


1. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Thank you so much for reading and I’d encourage all of you to enjoy and embrace your creativity. It’s one of the most wonderful things you can do!

It sure is! I second that!


Fiona, you have recently had an additional honor of having a music CD inspired by you with some of your art on the cover. Will you tell us a little bit about that and your experience with that CD?



Bob Cheevers, the enormously talented Americana singer songwriter and I met when I went to his gig at the Platform Tavern in Southampton. I did a sketch of his eminently drawable face which I showed to him during his break. He was rather taken aback and asked if he could have it. I gave him the sketch and he gave me a signed CD of his in return. We began a wonderful symbiotic artistic relationship by email where he would send me poems and we’d spark off each other. He would inspire paintings and the result is this wonderful CD: Fiona’s World! That’s the sketch I did of him in the moon on the front cover and that particular moment of meeting is described in track 4 Pictures of Strangers in bars where you can hear me singing! Bob Cheevers lives in Austin Texas but he’s coming over to Britain shortly to do a long tour and promote the CD. I might be joining in with a couple of the gigs. Fun!

Fiona’s World is available to purchase


…And in closing…



Thank you very much for interviewing
me Kim. It has been an honour and really interesting to do. It has
given me a new perspective on some things!

Oh this has been so much fun. I always feel so honored artists are willing to do this with me. I learn a great deal and every artist has expressed how much they have learned from the process, too. Believe me, you are ever so welcome.

(I will return on Friday.)



46 comments:

fiona long said...

Wow Kim! Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! I really enjoyed the process and it's very exciting to see it up on your wonderful site! :-)

Cestandrea said...

Fiona and Kim: Thanks so much for this great interview and for everything you two share with us here! Fiona, your journey through and towards art is so very interesting and your enthousiasm bursts through every painting we can see here and through every sentence you say (or write).
Great experiments and results and I love the under the sink theme and the sculpture too:)

I'll be back here too to have a look at everything again,
thanks again, and happy creating to you both,
love
Andrea

Kim said...

Fiona, the honor was all mine, I assure you!

It is always exciting for me to see these here, too!

Thank you so much for agreeing to do this conversation...it has been a real pleasure.

Kim said...

Andrea! I knew you would like this interview a great deal. Fiona has some really great art here and I have to say I also love the under the sink works...

Fiona has a lot to share, that is for sure.

I am eager to hear your thoughts once you have the opportunity to spend a bit of time with it all.

Thanks So Much!

fiona long said...

Thank you so much Andrea! I'm glad you enjoyed taking a look. I'm so pleased you can see my enthusiasm in my work. I really am full of it!

Happy creating to you too!

Kim said...

Andrea! I second that...Fiona is really "full of it!" - enthusiasm, that is! :)

Sorry Fiona, I couldn't resist! :)

fiona long said...

hehehe! ;-)

sukipoet said...

Kim and Fiona, thanks for an marvelous and inspiring interview. Fiona, in some ways, I envy you being so young and so sure of yourself and so talented. Your artworks have incredible variety to them. As Andrea, I just love the under the sink paintings, and the sculpture. Did you also make the assemblage with the diving tanks etc behind the platform. (In the picture in which you are standing before your scultpture)? I love the brick walls too. One of my favortie things is handmade bricks. Which I imagine you have lots of there in England.

Fiona I will return to look again. There was so much here. And i wish you a wonderful, creative summer.

Kim, you have done it again. Presented a wonderful interview with a great artist. You are incredible yourself Ms. Kim. Take care, Suki

Kim said...

Suki,

I knew you would like this, as well. And all of those stones and bricks in England...ah, they are incredible. Do you see the photo with the ponies? That is the New Forest in Southern England where Fiona grew up! It is very beautiful and very inspiring there. You would love it!

You are so sweet to say this about the interview...but you see, I have the most incredible material to work with. The artists make it happen, and you know that! But I will take the praise on my part. Thank you.

Now Fiona wants to respond...and she just might, but it is late in England, so I told her to get some rest. You can be sure she will be along tomorrow. She will get to your specific questions, though.

Thanks Suki!

fiona long said...

Well, I'm being naughty and I'm still up! I think it's beacause I'm so excited about the interview!

Thank you so much Suki! I am older than most of the people on my course but I feel that I have a nice balance of youth and experience to bring to the studies I'm doing right now. I don't think I would've done it justice when I was 19! I appreciate it so much now!

Yes, the assemblage is mine too. It was part of my Urban Flux work that I showed this time last year. I had so much fun doing that! I only had a few days to put the whole show together including constructing the assemblage! I'd been collecting junk for months for that! Storing it all was a nightmare. It made my studio at home very difficult to use!

Yes, we do have handmade bricks here. I love them too! I've been looking alot at different bonds lately...the different patterns that bricks are laid in. I'm learning alot about brick walls!

And I agree with you Suki, Kim really is incredible!

Kim said...

....really Fiona, are you really ever naughty? :)

sukipoet said...

Thanks Fiona. Well I have to add that assemblage to my favorites too. Yikes. that was a lot of hauling and putting together. Id love to see england sometime. I do so love old, old things and you have a lot there. Of course, we here only go back a little over 200 yrs. My gram got married to my gramps in London. and the entire Pope family goes back to the Mayflower, so no doubt i have a lot of British relatives somewhere. Hope you got to bed and some good sleeping in. Be well, Suki

Kim said...

Thanks Suki...

Your family is one of the original Europeans here, uh? Wow!

I am really glad you came back for another look/see. This is really cool art and Very Contemporary English work!

Thanks My Friend!

fiona long said...

Thanks guys! I do love the history here. It provides an interesting juxtaposition with the modern.

I had great fun making that assemblage! I thrive under pressure! I wanted it to have a vertigionous feel. Since it was about Urban Flux, I wanted to give it a feel that it could fall on top of you and everything could change very dramatically at any moment. I think that those who stood near it did get that feeling due to all the overhangs which were just held there with tension. Luckily the health and safety wasn't too tight (even though I knew it was safe really....it just didn't look it!)

Kim said...

Hey Fiona,

This is a cool explanation of Urban Flux! I bet it was heavy, too...wow!

Did you disassemble it or is it hanging somewhere?

Thanks Fiona!

CHEWY said...

Another enjoyable, informative interview. Thank you Fiona and Kim. I was intrigued with the "artistic risk" answer. All it took was little guidance to help see (& paint) things differently.

Bob said...

Hello Kim,

I've read your interview with Fiona and found it fascinating. I have a kind of vested interest because I love and admire her. I'm her dad. It's good to see her creativity in full flood. I think you've done a good job as interviewer in getting her to talk so lucidly in explaining who she is and what she's doing.

Best wishes

Bob Long

Kim said...

Hi Chewy,

I am glad you enjoyed this interview. Fiona is really a wonderful woman and artist.

I will allow Fiona elaborate on your intrigue about artistic risk, though!

Thank You, Chewy!

Kim said...

Hello Bob,

I can tell you I found the entire process of this interview with Fiona fascinating. She is a beautiful and talented woman and artist. I am sure you are very, very proud of her.

It brought tears to my eyes when you said you admired her! You just do not hear too many parents admit that these days. She sure gives a lot of us a lot to admire. Your love shines through!

Thank you for your kind words about the questions. I have to say it is a real honor to be speaking with a man who has done such a find job raising such an incredible woman.

Thank You, Bob...and have some fun in the New Forest for me this weekend! :)

Kim

Lynette said...

Wow I enjoyed reading your fascinating interview with Fiona Kim! You do an excellent job interviewing and know just which insightful questions to ask. Fiona, you're a very talented artist and I hope you will go with your dream. I love your work and the brick wall painting is stunning and made me think of tromp de oleil(sp?) Woohoo, another great interview, thanks Kim and Fiona!

fiona long said...

Thanks Chewy,

Yes, I was stuck in an artistic rut for a while. Without the guidance of a tutor or art friends around me I just kept going and possibly improving my technique but I stopped really exploring. Luckily, once I started exploring, it kinda exploded! My tutors are now trying to reign me in!!

fiona long said...

Aw! Shucks! Thanks Dad! Thanks Kim! I don't quite know what to say to all that, except how wonderful you both are! Group hug! ;-)

Kim said...

Thanks Lynette! You all are so kind saying these things, but as you know good work comes from having good material to work with!

I am glad you enjoyed the interview. Following Fiona's work has been very inspirational for me.

Thank You, Again!

Kim said...

A Huge Big Ole World Wide Group Hug for Everyone! :)

fiona long said...

www.grouphug.com! ;-)

Thanks Lynette. I'm definitely going to keep following my dreams!

Yes the brick wall paintings are trompe-l'œil in a way and they even trick the sense of touch aswell because they even feel like real walls! It's only when you look at the side of the canvas which I intensionally leave bare, just with the drips of sand coming down the show the process, that you can see for sure that it's a painting. This all appeals to my slightly warped sense of humour!

I agree that Kim is brilliant at asking inciteful questions. She's good at etting the best out of everything and everyone!

Kim said...

(heart)

fiona long said...

Oh no! I should've realised that the group hug thing would be a real website and it would make a real link! Doh! It was just meant to be a play on Kim's words! Don't go there kids! ;-)

Kim said...

LOL...Fiona, that sounds like something I would have done! As soon as I went to check it out, I knew just what you had done! :) Thanks for the heads up here, though!

Daphne said...

Awesome interview Kim. Thanks for exposing me to Fiona. I loved her work and you can see that her physical environment would have had an influence on her work as well with the aged buildings and natural the natural surroundings.

Kim said...

Hi Daphne!

It is lovely to see you visiting...

Additionally, I am truly honored to introduce you to Fiona and her work. I can attest to the fact her physical environment is very, very rich! London is amazing and has more artist per capita than any other major city. And the New Forest, where she grew up, is an amazing place less than a two hour train ride from central London - flowers bloom there all year long - that says something! And believe me, it isn't brutally hot in the summer...A/C is very rare. So that gives you a brief idea. I am sure Fiona will have more insights, too.

It is indeed a lovely day when you visit me, Daphne.

Thank you...

fiona long said...

Hi Daphne. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed taking a look at my work. I really am influenced by my environment. That's why, whenever I need inspiration, one of the best things I can do is to go somewhere new. I love to travel all over the world but even just going somewhere in London I've never been before is usually enough to spark something off. There's something inspirational wherever you go I feel.

fiona long said...

What a deligtful way of describing the climate over here Kim! LOL! As you know, the Brits manage to complain about the weather whatever it's doing! It has been pretty lovely though lately. If you've been watching Wimbledon...well, that's where I live now!

Yes, in the New Forest they say "kissing's out of fashion when the gorse isn't in flower". Of course there's always some gorse in flower! Thank goodness! ;-)

I didn't know there were more artists per capita here in London. No wonder the competition is so hot! It's a very exciting art scene though! Very cutting edge.

Kim said...

I think the overall climate in the New Forest is some of the best I have experienced. Yes, it is funny thinking about how the weather is such a topic of complaint, but here the weather is so testy. The dead of winter can be a little "moist", however it isn't so bad, and it never gets that cold in the Forest.

Now that is not a saying I ever heard..."kissing is out of fashion when the gorse isn't in flower"...yup, that wouldn't be much of the time. Do you know my neighbor there in Sway would make wine with the gorse flowers...can you imagine collecting them? Once my husband rode his bike right into a gorse bush...we were picking out prickers for weeks!

I just read that about London, actually. I think it was in an article in "Fast Company"...do you know that business magazine? But the British really love art!

Okay...talked enough.

Anyone who doesn't know gorse, email me and I will try to send you a photo...it grows in England along with heather. If you are a Winnie-the-Pooh reader, you will remember there is talk of both gorse and heather.

Thanks Fiona....

San said...

An extraordinary artist and a fascinating interview. Very inspirational too. Thank you, Fiona and Kim!

Kim said...

Hi San,

You are right...she is truly extraordinary and inspirational.

Thanks so much!

WILSONART said...

Fiona, you have so much going for you! Education,,,youth,,,Inspirational setting,,,music,,,not to even mention your own physical beauty!!
The art is terrific, I really got a kick out of the "Under The Sink" paintings,,,but of course the earthy "Wall" ones are right up my alley too.I don't really care much for "installation" art,,,but adore your assemblage piece, which is very nearly the same, I think. It's wild, insane, and much creative fun!
All the very best to you and your future,Fiona. You've got it goin' on,,,keep it up!

And you Kim,,,never disappoint with these conversations, ever!
It was fun watching you relate so to Fiona's locations too, having lived there.
Enjoyed it ,,,great fun, thanks you two!

Kim said...

Babs, you are amazing…and win my heart more and more with each post! Thank you so much for your sweet, kind words.

I also love these conversations and this one was absolutely no exception. Each time, I am always amazed an artist will agree to do this with me…it is such an honor each and every time.

Of course, with responses like yours, I get the “big head” and just want to do more and more. Thank you my dear friend.

Also, I am sure Fiona will be along a little later, too. (heart)

Katrina said...

What an interesting interview Kim! Of course, I know the subject matter well as she is my daughter, but your questions really brought out some interesting answers and got to the heart of how Fiona feels about her art.

I've witnessed her artistic talent and unique way of looking at things from when she was a young child. It could be a matter of regret that Fiona did not pursue her art by going to art college when she left school but I think that it is interesting what Fiona says about getting so much more out of Art College now that she is a mature student - and I can see how true that is. It is wonderful to see her enthusiasm.

Talking of the rhyme and the New Forest (where I still live) reminded me of when I used to drive my mother across the New Forest to look at the ponies, cattle, donkeys and pigs. In spite of suffering from Alzheimer's, she remembered all the rhymes from her childhood and as Fiona says, there is always gorse in bloom and my mother always said the words (slightly misquoted by Fiona) 'Kissing's out of season when the gorse is not in bloom'.

So Kim, your article meant a lot to me, reminding me of my wonderful daughter and her wonderful grandmother.

Thanks,

Katy Long

Kim said...

Katy, your comment here brought tears to my eyes as you spoke of two women you hold near and dear to your very heart! I can imagine it was an incredible journey raising Fiona with all of the energy and intensity we see in her now. I can tell you she has brought a new dimension to the way I approach all kinds of things I see. Clearly your view of Fiona's progression has been very unique and pleasurable (if not sometimes challenging).

No, you should not feel any regret Fiona has gone this route with her education. She uses a lot of what she learned in those years to be the wonderful artist she is today.

It sounds as though Fiona sure had the just of your dear mother's saying, though. I can tell you Katy, I miss the New Forest so very much. Our time there was amazing. I loved how the animals would come right up to the garden fence to see if we would come out for a chat (well, they really wanted food, didn't they?) or in the spring when the babies were born. Oh, that is a glorious time. I miss the lovely people and the beautiful walks. I miss the gorse and the heather. I even miss the rain and fog. It brings a smile to my face, though, knowing you are there. Fiona tells me often when she is going to be in the forest, so I think of all the lovely things she is enjoying. Thank you for reminding me of these beautiful memories.

And Katy, as I said to Bob, it truly is an honor for me to be speaking with the woman who has raised such an incredible artist and beautiful woman. Thank you for your kind words and your visit.

Enjoy the Forest a little bit for me, too.

sukipoet said...

Kim and Fiona and parents, how cool that both your mom and dad read and responded to this interview. You are lucky to have two such caring parents Fiona. Blessings, Suki

Kim said...

I sure second that Suki!

fiona long said...

Ah! Thank you so much San! Thanks for reading. I find it an honour that you found it inspirational! :-)

fiona long said...

Wow! Thanks Babs! Very kind of you and yes, life is pretty exciting right now and I feel that everything is really coming together. I've had some more life changes over the last few months and everything is coming back bigger and better than ever before.

I'm so glad you like the Under Sink Cupboard stuff. I always thought it was a risk doing something so zany (because it's banal) but I'm delighted and surprised at how many people get something really positive from those works! I guess I have to have faith that what amuses and appeals to me, will appeal to some other people too. When I used to try to appeal to the masses, I never ended up appealing to anyone that strongly (well not often anyway).

Thanks again Babs, your words mean a great deal to me!

fiona long said...

Thanks for your wonderful comment Mum! Ah!

And yes Suki and Kim, I really am so lucky to have such wonderful parents! I've had a charmed upbringing and they've taught me some wonderful things. I owe them so much!

Wurzerl said...

Dear Kim, and one more time a great interview with a very interesting person and artist!!! I like your way to ask an artist and I like this special person Fiona. She is an intelligent artist like you and so the work is always great to see!!!
I must scroll this post once again because I' m always see new aspects and ideas.
Great, thank you, and have a great weekend Wurzerl

Kim said...

Hello Dear Wurzerl!

I am glad you like this interview with Fiona. She is really a lovely, lovely artist!

You say so many lovely things about me, as well. Thank you, my friend.

You also have a great weekend and Wurzerl, HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY!

It is lovely to have you visit, as always.

Thank You!