IDYLLIC, NUMINOUS, BURNING: INTERVIEW WITH FLORINE IMO

Self portraits, euphoric party scenes, mysterious grins and idyllic picnics are the ingredients for Florine Imo’s paintings. With a special technique using a mix of acrylic and oil paint, the Vienna-based artist creates distinctive characters and plays with the quick prejudice of our time. Florine's images speak in a language of bright colors, chaotic yet controlled patterns. A range of her artworks are exhibited and to be admired at misa.art ARTIST FAIR Mallorca at CCA Andratx and exclusively available on misa.art. 

You are showing a range of different distinctive works at misa.art ARTIST FAIR Mallorca. Can you tell us about the idea behind those pieces?  

For some time now, my work has mainly been focusing on my characters. It was and still is important to me to develop these characters and to give them a strong attitude and character.  In the past my ideas came from a story, a feeling, a shadow, a place or a memory, but today my characters are the origin of my ideas. There are infinite scenarios in which their presence can suddenly transform a normal situation into a complex reality.  

With what three words would you describe your artworks?  

Idyllic, numinous, burning. 

What story do your artworks tell?

I’m introducing a new character in some of my paintings for this show. I don’t want to tell too much about this character yet, since I’m still exploring what their intentions are or what they’re up to completely and I’m so excited to keep developing it. What I can say so far is that it brings a certain kind of attitude and energy into the frame which challenges my figures and raises questions of power structures. Often, automatically when seeing a strong, maybe even a bit scary looking animal, one assumes their gender to be male, which is an interesting thought, when exploring this character. Like always, I enjoy to play with those kind of stereotypes and leave the viewer with a grin on their face. Apart from this, I’m also taking a trip back to my roots by painting vegetation and patterns. The many changes in materials over the years allowed me to now combine all my technical abilities and push the canvas surface to another level. Surface, texture, symbolism and character building are fundamental aspects that come to mind, when reflecting on the new paintings.

What is your work process like? Do you have a routine when painting? 

My first idea is recorded in my sketchbook, in that step I have not decided anything yet, except the idea.  Then I make several sketches of this idea and find the appropriate composition of the figure and size.  I always paint several pictures at the same time. After the composition is determined, I start painting the first layer using acrylic paint. In this layer I also often use different inks, varnishes and sprays. I like to play with the patterns of my character's clothes or their objects, rooms, walls, ect.  In these layers you can then often see color effects from the first layer. After the first layer of acrylic paint, I continue painting with oil paint. I love my edgy figures and their soft blended skin; it highlights their contrasts.  After the first layer of oil paint, everything must first dry for a while. In the end, another layer of oil with important details is applied, such as jewelry, makeup, lighters, shoelaces, and so on.  Again and again in the process I close my eyes, and imagine my figurative work as an abstract, so that I make the right decision when painting and do not blindly stick too much to the real facts. 

What do you want your work to spark in people? 

I think looking at paintings is similar to looking at a person.  Maybe it is a bit easier to perceive a painting uninfluenced than a person. However, if I could choose a reaction, it would be nice if my pictures encourage and motivate.  Sometimes they should annoy the viewer a bit and smile at his judgments.  My figures should also occasionally cause an attraction and at the same time a repulsive feeling. In some pictures they show a sensitive, frail side and should cause a feeling of attachment. I like to paint images that are not so obvious and then can be overshadowed by chaotic patterns, bright colors and perfect skin. Sometimes, I just like to paint women doing their thing and either not knowing anyone is watching or just not giving a shit. I think with these paintings, the point is precisely that the viewer's reaction is not in the foreground, on the contrary, the figures don't care. 

Florine Imo is part of misa.art ARTIST FAIR Mallorca at CCA Andratx until August 13th. The artworks are exclusively available on misa.art!

(c) Portrait: Kataneva

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