by Morgan James

fashion magazine

Fiona Maclean is a young up-and-coming artist is known for the encapsulation of sexuality, youth, and beauty in her illustration. She bases her drawings on photographs and focuses on capturing the spiritual quintessence of a being displaying what’s beneath the surface. Maclean briefly studied at the Parsons School of Art, in New York City, but her career and education were put on hold for a few years. When she returned she completed two Art Residencies at the New York School of Visual Arts. Fiona has come a long way since then. She now does work on commission, selling her pieces through Gallery Saatchi.

fashion magazine

How did you get into art? Were you exposed to a lot of art in your adolescence?  As a child I was encouraged by both of my parents as they both were talented in art and recognized that in me. Neither of them pursued art as their careers but I did see my Mother in particular draw mainly portraits and figurative studies of us growing up as kids. At school I won awards for my artistic talent and ability from a young age and right into my teens was top of my high school for art for several years running. My art teachers at high school gave me introduction to different forms of art and expression that I had not been exposed to growing up in the suburbs. I lived off particularly UK and US magazines, being a staple of ‘Details mag, Vogue, The Face, Interview magazines gave me a whole different view point and perspective on art, culture and fashion. Being exposed to Warhol, Antonio Lopez (one of the greatest fashion illustrators), and painters such as Cezanne, Lautrec, Picasso etc. Loved it!

 fashion magazine

How did you become interested in fashion? Again from childhood as a kid I wanted to be either an artist, a makeup artist or a fashion designer. Designing and making clothes for my dolls and then in my adolescence designing clothes (with the help of my mother who would take my fashion illustrations and help me create the clothes). Then there was  my sister who at the time was an apprentice hairdresser, so being involved in that world of fashion, makeup, hair and music, all escapism and otherworldliness, we ran around with the crowd that created beauty, fashion and art.   I have been and still am an artist and Makeup artist, worked on some feature films such as Moulin Rouge doing makeup and also the Matrix trilogy.

 fashion magazine

How would you describe your creative process? I’m inspired by mostly art, fashion, music, film, so they are generally my starting points for my creative process. With my paintings I try not to have too much of a definitive idea of what the final outcome will be, but with my illustrations, if I am given a brief then I need to keep it more reigned in. Lately I have been trying different mediums and papers and combining with digital so I do try to give myself some ‘space’ to explore, freedom and make mistakes. Some of the best mistakes I’ve made in both my illustration work and paintings have given me new techniques, and best results and new ways of doing things and looking at things.

 fashion magazine

Do you believe people are born with a certain level of creativity? I think we are all born with creativity but it is the environment that we are surrounded by and people that we are surrounded by that help or hinder creativity, encourage creativity, mentors, peers, being part of a ‘tribe’ a tribe that follows art, fashion, and music. I don’t know that everyone has the same level of talent: in some areas people are stronger and have more aptitude in certain fields.

 fashion magazine

Did growing up in Sydney, Australia influenced your artistic style? I actually grew up in New Zealand and then moved to Sydney, Australia at my early twenties. Both are antipodean so quite isolated geographically from the rest of the world, especially NZ. I think New Zealand in particular shaped me with being a tiny country but very unique and like I said miles away from the rest of the world; we have a very unique look when it comes to art, fashion, music, and film. Although these days that has changed a lot because of technology and travelling much more and so the world is much more homogenized looking, I think :). Having said that both NZ and Australia have shaped me and my artistic style, with Sydney you live by the beach and the climate is great, summertime a lot of the year around. That environment is reflected in what people wear, and the relaxed nature, the feeling of ‘being perpetually on holiday!’ Mainly I’m referring to Sydney and living by the beach and beach culture. I’ve always been drawn to portraying youth culture and fashion and Sydney is definitely that.

 fashion magazine

What do you like to do outside of work? I love film, I’m a foodie, love checking out the café/restaurant scene, I go to galleries, gallery openings, exhibitions, and to see live music. I love yoga and wherever possible I get a chance to travel, spend time in nature – love the ocean!

 fashion magazine

What are your favorite mediums to use for your fashion illustrations? I particularly like watercolors and pastels and sometimes combining watercolors with digital Why? With watercolor it has a life of its own so sometimes it guides you to make the next stroke of the paintbrush, its freedom and flow. With pastels they are bold and dramatic, and give texture to an image. And with combining digital you can give it a freshness and cut and paste textures and so on that you can’t really replicate through hand painting or drawing.

 fashion magazine

What is favorite big house fashion brand? Saint Laurent!!! Do their clothes inspire your illustrations? Yes!! In particular while Hedi Slimane and his amazing dream team of image makers, Aaron De Mey, Makeup Artist extraordinaire and Hair, the amazing Didier Malige. Yes Saint Laurent is all about attitude, rocknroll, and drama…well I think so. It’s about everything, the moment, and creating an experience. I’ve done several Saint Laurent illustrations and all inspired by the clothes, the hair, the makeup and the choice of the models. I could go on!!

 fashion magazine

How would you describe your personal style? My personal style I think is a little boho, a little ethereal, a little rocknroll, a little french, feminine, a little sexy, a little offbeat quirky…all depending on my mood. Do you think it influences your work? I think so, I know that I am heavily influenced by the mood I’m in…I think my images generally have either an ethereal quality to them, a strength, an edge to them.

 fashion magazine

Do you ever get stuck? If so what helps you get your creative juices flowing again? Yeah…sometimes get a little stuck for ideas or feel like doing too much of the same and in need of a freshness and/ or new direction. I guess I would go to internet or magazines, or instagram and look at images for inspiration, color, put on music that inspires me, change my environment, try looking at something differently (sometimes even literally turning something upside down to look at it with a fresh eye, or walking away from something for a little bit and starting another project and going back to the original painting or illustration with new energy. I often have several paintings or illustrations on the go at the same time and this sometimes can help inspire the one I’m having issues with creatively.

 fashion magazine

What are some goals you have for your career in the future?

Working in the US in either LA or NYC as a Visual Artist, Fashion Illustrator, Makeup Artist, collaborating in some way with Art, Fashion and Music Industry. And perhaps as a Creative Advisor/Director. Gallery/Agent representation in US and around the world. Helping other young Visual Artists (particularly Female Visual Artists) realize their potential and dreams, so maybe me being a Mentor. Publish a book of my Art/illustrations.

fashion magazine

Purchase Fiona’s work here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.