At Home With Frankie Penwill
In the heart of East London lies the lust worthy flat of artist Frankie Penwill, we popped round for a coffee and a chat, and when we'd finally stopped gushing over her perfectly curated home and stunning interior design choices we delved into the nitty gritty of her art, background, and brand new collaboration with us.
Get your Frankie x Larsson & Jennings art piece here as free phone wallpapers!
Who is Frankie? Tell us a bit about you! Where are you from, and what sort of art do you create?
I’m from Devon and grew up by the sea. I’m a qualified print designer and worked for high street brands for 6-7 years before I decided to bite the bullet last year and become self-employed. I create illustrations focussing on flowers and nature. It's where I like to be, out in nature surrounded by beautiful colourful plants so it made sense that would be the theme of my work.
What was your journey to where you are with your work now? Did you experiment with different mediums, subjects etc.? Or has it always been botanicals and illustration that you’ve been drawn to?
My illustrations were sort of my side hustle when I was working full time. Initially I was drawn to organic shapes and colours which naturally progressed to flowers. I experimented with photography, gouache, oil pastels and then digitalising my prints which was a process that came from my print background. But painting was always my favourite medium.
I love the natural mark making, the brush strokes, the mistakes which sometimes turn out to be the most beautiful parts.
I think it’s safe to say we know where you get your inspiration from initially. But is there somewhere specifically you look at when beginning to work on a new piece? Or a sure fire place to go that kicks your creative brain into overdrive?
Well I try to avoid the obvious rabbit holes, pinterest, instagram, socials in general and turn to exhibitions, visiting florists, outdoor space in general. I’ll try to leave home for a while, go for a walk in nature and be by the sea. Anywhere I can clear my head and let my mind wander really.
Can you talk us through the creative process? What are the key steps from ideation to hanging one of your lovely pieces on the wall?
I start with a day of sketching, either from my memory or a still life. Simple pencil and paper to begin with and I’ll keep going with that until I’ve perfected it. Then I develop the colour palettes, I’ll look to other artists for inspo sometimes, then start painting. Once that’s done I photograph it but I rarely put something on my website immediately. I like to sit with it in my home for a while, see how it makes me feel being around it all day. Often there’ll be something that irks me and it’s back to the drawing board. If it doesn’t resonate with me and I’m not 100% happy with it then it doesn’t make it live. I’m a perfectionist in that way, and aware that these pieces will be hanging in peoples homes. They will be looking at it every single day so It needs to be just so.
How do you want your art to make people feel?
Calm and at peace, I guess the stillness that nature brings is what I aim to replicate in my art.
Sort of at one with yourself, and content.
When you’re working from home, how do you get into the zone? Any creative rituals you have?
Well I wake up and try not to just reach for my phone immediately, instead I’ll head to the gym, I’m very much a morning person so exercise first thing is my favourite way to start the day. Once that’s done I’ll head home and make my workspace nice, candles, a good playlist, ensure the space around me is clean and tidy, basically create a chaos free zone to work from.
Let’s talk about your L&J pieces! How did you find it working on these? Have you got a favourite?
Yeah the blue piece was my fave, quite different to things I’ve done before.
I enjoyed trying to link the two elements together, celestial and floral. It was nice to step outside my comfort zone
whilst keeping to the natural colour palette I would normally use.
Do you have a favourite piece in general, something that's really meant a lot to you to make and the reason behind it?
I’m really into the new pieces I’m working on at the moment, with a more stripped back colour palette. I took a step back from socials recently, it was nice to shake off the pressure to constantly be posting and creating content online, to just focus on my work and it brought me back to my original collection style which I really love.
Who are some other artists that you really admire, or who inspire you?
Obviously I lean towards botanicals and artists that focus on florals, Matisse has a beautiful use of colour and colour blocking and I love how Monet portrays nature, too.
Describe your ideal Sunday afternoon?
I love to cook so an ideal Sunday for me would involve a lot of that, probably a nice long recipe that I can take my time over with a glass of red in hand. Then maybe listen to some records and head to the pub for a cosy evening and a roast.
What sets your soul on fire?
Good food, good music and good art.
Finish this sentence: I’m still a work in progress when it comes to…
Not comparing myself to others. It’s so hard not to do in every aspect, from my work to just life in general and the stages we’re at. So that’s definitely something I’m working on.
You can find Frankie’s work on her website and Instagram and get your free wallpaper from our Frankie Penwill x L&J collab here !
Image credit: Nirish Shakya @nizzah