Folklore & Flora: The Joy Of Color
Folklore & Flora is a brand new collection created by artist Catherine Marion. She studies the foliage and animals she sees in her everyday life and celebrates the joy of color. The blooms in her garden, at the beach, and even at the side of the road will end up in the sketch book she always has with her. We caught up with Catherine to learn more about the artist behind the art and to find out more about her latest collection with Milton & King.
M&K: Tell us a bit about your background. Where were you born and where do you currently reside?
CM: I was born in the French province of Quebec, Canada on the south shore of Montreal. I lived in the South of France when I was at university and also moved to Scotland for a few years after that. I now reside in the beautiful Taranaki region of New Zealand at the base of a volcano. I live on a lovely little farmhouse where I grow my own veggies and keep a few free range chickens.
M&K: Did you have any formal education in the arts?
CM: I studied fine art in CEGEP back in Canada, which is between high school and university. This was a broad study where we explored everything from painting to sculpture. I then switched to graphic design and obtained a bachelor’s degree in that field.
M&K: Do you feel like where you grew up had any influence on your artistic style?
CM: You know how sometimes opposites attract each other? I think living on the East Coast of Canada with our long, cold and grey winters made me crave colours. My artworks are very vibrant and joyful which resembles much more of the way of life that I live here in New Zealand. I am continuously in awe of the diverse flowers that grow over here. Every spring feels very magical to me with all the flowers coming into bloom.
M&K: When was it that you started to develop the distinct style that we now see in your art?
CM: I started working in this style about 2 years ago now, which is about at the same time we moved to New Zealand. The first few pieces I created were painted by hand on colourful paper. Since then I have moved to digital art which pairs well with my background in graphic design.
M&K: Do you call your style anything in particular? A special name you give it?
CM: I call my style Folk Art, which is for me the idea of reconnecting people to the beauty of nature. In essence, it is a conversation between nature and people. I hope that when looking at my artwork you can recognise a bird or flower and connect it back to a memory of your own. It follows the idea that nature is intrinsically a part, in one way or another, of everyone’s life and memories.
M&K: From where or from whom do you draw most of your inspiration?
CM: My inspiration comes from all the different colours and shapes in nature. I will draw and take pictures of flowers and plants I observe at the beach, on a walk in the mountains, at the river or simply in my garden. It is so easy to find interesting patterns in nature. It is everywhere. I am also very influenced by the work of William Morris, who is an absolute genius when it comes to patterns. His designs are definitely a strong inspiration for me.
M&K: How do you feel about seeing your designs on wallpaper?
CM: This is a very exciting project for me. I feel like it will enable my art to expand and be shown under a new light. It will feel like being a part of the artwork to have it applied on a large surface like a wall.
M&K: What does Catherine enjoy doing when she’s not creating beautiful art pieces and patterns?
CM: My favorite thing to do is to explore. I love going on trail walks with my partner and my dog. This really fills me with joy. I love being in nature. So New Zealand, with its breath taking landscapes, is perfect for me. I also have a bit of a green thumb, or at least I like to think so. I have a little garden and a green house where I experiment growing new veggies and fruits every year. This summer we have butternut squash, pumpkins, peas, blueberries, corn, silverbeet, kale, passion fruit and a multitude of edible flowers.
M&K: What are your plans for the rest of 2020?
CM: I have a few apparel pattern design collaborations planned to be released this year which I am excited to see come to life. My partner and I are also building a camper-van from scratch which will be a beast of a thing when it is finished. We hope to have it done before the end of 2020 and be able to explore more of this amazing country that we live in.
M&K: What is your long-term vision or things you would like to accomplish as an artist at some point?
CM: There is so many things! I would like to illustrate a kids book, create illustrations for advertisement and editorial, work on packaging designs, have a fabric collection, and so many other things. Really the sky is the limit here, I want to do it all! My vision is to see my art expand with and through me.