Kairen Kemp met up with Poppy Faun, the Brighton artist whose work has been commissioned by Vogue, Playboy and Miss Soma, to name but three, and sells worldwide.
Was art important in your family when you were growing up? I was brought up from when I can remember, surrounded by art. My mum and my dad are both artists and, I’d say, slightly creative hippies. I didn’t have television. I wasn’t introduced to the world outside. They wanted me to be as free as possible and sort of be in the garden. They wanted me to make things – it was all about connecting and being free which I think has served me well. And it makes you sufficient as a person and an artist as well. Yeah, I think that’s something that I’ve always known about myself. I feel like I am an artist. I have no ego about being an artist. It’s more about I know that it’s in my nature and it’s in my blood. It’s my way of connecting and expressing myself. It’s my outlet, whether sitting thinking of ideas or noticing colours, I’m very aware of my surroundings. My mind is a creative mind. So I do know that that’s always been inside of me to let it out in some way, so whether or not I was making music or making clothes, I’ve always had to express myself but I have met a lot of people in the gallery in which I work who have struggled with calling themselves an artist. And they’d be so shy about showing their work I’ll ask to have a look and it would be amazing. It was just encouragement they needed. I want to push what I do, expressing myself and creating, within everybody if I can. I know you’re moving away from your collage works but explain what mediums you use for collage work. I’ve got bookshelves and a whole studio, where I store books and magazines all from the 60s and 70s that I collect. I’m very inspired by different time cultures. A lot of the old men’s magazines were only meant to be for men so what I tried to create was putting the women as the main platform; it’s not sexualised, it’s about empowerment. It was very aesthetic instead of it being personal. There was always a story going on with the works. Getting a commission with Playboy was amazing! How did that come about? I got an e-mail through from Playboy and I didn’t quite believe it. It said “We love your work. We really want you to make a piece for our Gentlemen’s Guide to Shrooming” It’s a section in their magazine that they do every month. Everything was there. But I was thinking what’s going on, surely this isn’t true? So I did some research and called her the next day and she was like “It’s Beverly from Beverly Hills”. I thought this is crazy! She said “You’ve got 48 hours to do it” and I was like, oh my god. OK, let’s do this and did it in six hours! Your practice has changed towards painting in the last year. I’ve titled my new show Unbound, so there’s elements of feeling unbound and free. The new work has come from a kind of a struggling place but I worked on through and kept on believing in myself which has challenged me to push my boundaries further with the painting. There’s a couple of pieces I created before I went into painting ‘Seize The Day And Let It Go’ and ‘I Believe In You Do You Believe In Me’. It’s a kind of message that I’ve carried on through, really pushing my artistic boundaries in my practice with things that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with doing before. Who are your buyers? Do you have a signature of the type of person who buys? There’s a collective of different buyers from California, Europe, South Korea etc through my website or galleries or commissions. I meet people at the art yard sales and I’ve met some really lovely young clients who’ve said “I just have to buy it or I’m going to regret it” I think that’s one of the biggest feelings that I’ve never had before, when you meet someone who tells you that your work has touched them. You’ve got a show coming up. Where is it? I have a series of about six large unseen paintings, about 150 centimetres tall, so about my height, that will be showcasing from the 20th of February until the 3rd of March, at the Helm Gallery with a lot of fun things happening, like a screening of my favourite film ‘Paris Texas’, badge making plus a private view on Friday, 23rd February 7-10pm. Find Poppy on Instagram: @poppyfaun_art www.poppyfaun.com