I love Instagram challenges—they’re great for connecting artists and art collectors literally worldwide.
I discovered Inge Flinte through one such challenge, #The100DayProject. And I’m so glad I did—this New Zealand native’s work speaks to me in such a strong way. My guess is that it has something to do with the fact that I studied abroad in New Zealand while I was in college. I would stumble over my words if I tried to describe New Zealand’s landscape to you, but Inge’s minimalistic and nuanced abstracts just feel like New Zealand to me.
My two favorite paintings from Inge’s fourth 100 day project are below (and unfortunately, already sold out). But there are plenty more where these came from here. You can also see Inge’s full 100 day project that I fell in love with here.
Inge’s work is inspired almost entirely by everyday life—as she describes it, “scuff marks on a wall, light flooding into an empty room or the colours from a walk in a forest.” You can easily see some of her inspiration in the photo she took below.
I was surprised to learn that she felt a pull toward the color green only this year. Despite seeing green everywhere in her surroundings (hello, New Zealand!), she had avoided it in the past, in part because it’s so difficult to retain the original color in photos.
I’m glad she started using it though because I personally think her green paintings are some of her best works. Full disclosure: I could be biased. I use green a lot myself. 😉
Read more about Inge’s process and inspiration below!
Q&A with Inge Flinte
Tell me about your work. What is your process, and what inspires you?
My process begins in the midst of my everyday life. I start collecting marks/colours/fragments that I find as I move through my day—marks on walls, shadows on footpaths, moss formations, the colour and texture of trees against the sky—I’m inspired by all of these. They manage to capture a kind of abbreviated history of a place and a moment—and it fascinates me.
I like to call this process “note-taking.” For me “note-taking” happens at an everyday level—I like to observe the world around me, both in a photographic and abstract sense. I collect most of these fragments of inspiration as images on my phone and in my journal. I later bring these into my studio and draw upon them to inspire my work. Sometimes it’s a colour palette that I’ve seen in my travels; at other times it’s a case of mimicking the marks that I’ve seen on the pavement earlier that day. Nature and the everyday play a significant role in forming my work as an artist.
When I’m in the studio I like to jump around using different methods in my painting practice. It helps to keep my work fresh and stops me from getting bored with any one given style.
My first and predominant style is additive—each layer goes on and with it a new wash of paint / mark / scribble. I gradually build up the colours / textures / marks on the paper. This method can be unforgiving, as you can reach a point in the process where you’ve pushed the work beyond a point of overall balance. On the other hand, if you nail the composition, the result feels a bit like magic.
In these initial stages I work predominantly on paper, and only then move onto canvas. I find that my attitude to paper is far less precious, and frees me from the intimidation I often feel on canvas, due to its cost.
Another significant part of my style is layering. This is what I turn to when I want a bit of forgiveness in my process with each resulting layer, fragments are revealed, hidden, accented and finally ‘finished’ when I find a certain balance in the composition. Mark-making plays a huge part in all my painting practice. I’m constantly trying to develop a language of marks that through trial and error communicates an emotion, a silent narrative, a piece of history. Translating the marks that I find in my everyday life into paintings adds another layer of narrative—the unassuming moments we encounter each day.
For me, the process of making art brings me a sense of peace. It helps me to express ideas or feelings that, at least until that moment, lay dormant, but then begin to emerge visually. You might have a rough idea of what you want to create, but until you actually finish a piece you never really know what the serendipitous nature of the process will reveal.
How did you get to where you are now? Briefly tell us about your journey.
It’s a crazy long story. I started out incredibly unhappy at university, and I ended up finishing two degrees that just weren’t my thing at all. And at the end of that, I kinda stumbled into art school, and I ended up doing my MFA in photography (at the time I wanted to be a documentary photographer). At art school I had an epiphany moment when I realized that this was where I was meant to be, and art was what I was meant to be doing. After “wandering’” through university, this was a major revelation for me. Art school was such an encouraging place to be, everywhere you turned there were people making interesting things—to be inspired all you needed to do was take a walk around the school.
After graduation, I spent a few years embarking on the odd project, but I spent the vast majority of my time raising my two boys. My arts practice really restarted three years ago when on a whim I decided to do the 100 day project. It honest to goodness was a major game changer—up until then I would overthink everything and wouldn’t really get anything done.
The 100 day project taught me that you just have to start and do, and that’s where you can find clarity—in embracing the process, not just the destination.
And since then, I’ve never stopped making. Year upon year my practice has grown and changed and although its crazy hard at times, I know that this is what I want to do, what I’ve always wanted to do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or other entrepreneurs?
Practice. Practice, practice and practice some more. Don’t overthink things, just get started.
Not everything you make is going to be fabulous—in fact be prepared to make a lot of rubbish, but don’t be discouraged by it.
It’s so easy to believe the Instagram myth that everyone else is always making fantastic art, all the time, but the truth is that we are all out there making tremendously bad work as well and that’s just part of the process.
So, keep making, find a group of people to cheer you on, and own your art. It’s finished when you say it’s finished, and it’s art because you say it is.