The Fine Floral Art of Kelly Smith

Instagram is a playground for anyone who enjoys the creative industries and appreciates the visual arts. Flower aficionados rub shoulders with luminaries from the worlds of  fashion, fine art, and sometimes all three. That is certainly the case when admiring the remarkable work and Instagram account of Kelly Smith, the Australian based fashion and beauty illustrator. Flowers, fashion and art are beautifully combined in her stunning illustrations. She has worked worked with a number of luxury brands and clients including Valentino, Jenny Packham, Maybelline New York, Vogue, and Net-à-Porter. We love admiring her wonderful work and were eager to find out more…

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I like to take inspiration from fashion, film and fairy tales. I create my work in a delicate manner, exploring texture and line in hand-detailed pencil, while adding subtle hints and contrast with ink, watercolour and digital elements.

Flowers are a prominent feature of your work. What is your relationship with flowers and where did the appreciation come from?

I’ve always loved, and felt inspired by, flowers. I think that it probably stems (no pun intended!) from the fact that, visually, flowers are all about colour, texture and strong silhouettes. But they’re so inherently feminine as well, which is a strong characteristic of my work. Likewise I feel like fashion is all about whimsy and bold lines, so illustrating fashion is not unlike illustrating a flower. I love incorporating florals into my work via pattern or by playing with scale, such as ‘Thumbelina’ or ‘Alice’ inspired girls.

There is also such a joy that comes from a bunch of flowers – the scent, but also the beauty. They never fail to brighten up my day.

What are your favourite flowers?

I love large fluffy florals; peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias, wisteria and – although they don’t keep – I really love cherry blossoms. The shape is so delicate and beautiful. Japan in ‘Sakura’ season is my idea of heaven.

There is and always has been a very strong relationship between flowers, art, and fashion. Why is that, do you think?

Going back to why I feel so inspired by them, I feel like all three things are so connected by the same characteristics; colour, silhouette, texture. Fashion is the perfect subject for an illustrator, as are florals, so it makes sense that flowers can inspire designers. Christian Dior, in particular the collections by John Galliano, have created so many incredible silhouettes based around flowers. Also Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen, Viktor and Rolf – all very sculptural, tactile designers.

What are your plans for the future?

I will be more than happy to continue doing what I do, as I feel incredibly lucky to have made a career out of doing what I enjoy. I would also love to write and illustrate my own book – it’s something I’m currently working towards. There may or may not be a floral or two incorporated!

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