Five Minutes with Pippa McManus about In Bloom

December 2, 2014
In Bloom

When six of Perth’s most inspiring creatives including Fashion Illustrator Pippa McManus, Stylist and Art Director Emma Bergmeier – Varian, Photographer Caitlin Worthington, Florist Rebecca Const from Fox and Rabbit, Makeup Artist Rebecca Collins and Hair Stylist Melissa Cook collaborate, you get In Bloom. A beautiful photography and art exhibition that was born from a mutual love of floral crowns and creative collaboration.

In Bloom 2 In Bloom 3Floral crowns and adornments have been a recurring element in McManus’ paintings, and she put it quite perfectly “What’s better to paint than the two most beautiful things in the world? Women and flowers!” She recalls her love for floral crowns starting with “not wanting to replicate a photo, so [she] added a crown” to make her mark on the image. Her mother who is both a “wonderful drawer and was so successful during that 80’s craft period – painting roses on anything that stood still, and a complete green thumb – with her wisteria archway” has also been a great inspiration.

*Little fun fact the Hydrangea and King Protea crown above weighed about 15kgs!

The aesthetic for the shoot was romantic and ultra feminine, showcasing designs by local and national designers including Teagan Jacons, Little Gracie and Lady Petrova, to name a few. However “the focus of the shoot was always the floral crowns, with fashion secondary.”

The brief was “dreamy, colourful and flower-filled” and so Const “went to the market and picked from the best of the produce available to [her] on the day” and managed to amass a plethora of beautiful blooms including King Proteas, Peonies, Hydrangeas, Babies Breath and many more to create eight different crowns. Each crown has a very “distinct feel and is interesting in shape and structure, some took 15 minutes to make, while others just over an hour depending on how complicated the design was and how well the flowers were behaving themselves ;)”.

In Bloom 4 In Bloom 5 In Bloom 6

The illustration process was a little different to what McManus is used to, usually she draws inspiration from “a whole bunch of fashion references and [meshes] them all together by drawing a pencil mock-up.” This time she sketched a little on the day while model Narcisa was posing – “which was so fun” and took photos as reference as well. But it wasn’t till eight months later, once she had completed her Gypset exhibition and once the final photos were ready, that she actually start painting.

The McManus admits that usually she is never comfortable painting directly off one photograph “copyright wise it’s ok to do that, but it doesn’t sit right with me for a number of reasons. But the plan was always to sketch from Caitlin’s photos and drawing directly off a photograph that a whole team of us worked on and that’s completely original is really different and fun. Mostly because all the decisions I usually have to make have been decided already! It always takes me longer to conceptualise an image than to actually paint it, so this process was also much faster.”

Her illustrations are created using her go-to materials including acrylic paint, charcoal, paint pens and spraypaint. “But this time I added make-up and soft pastel for some whimsy.”

In Bloom 8I asked some of the girls what their favourite flowers were, it seems the Proteas are a winner!

Emma: “I love King Proteas – the size, the shape, the colour. I especially love them alongside hydrangeas after Bec created a stunning, over-sized flower crown using those two varieties.”

Pippa: “Obsessed with Proteas! They’re quite a masculine flower too I think so it’s a nice juxtaposition to a beautiful girl. I really wish they could talk though because South African accents are my favourite in the whole world!”

Rebecca: “How can I possibly choose just one!?! I can share however my favourite crowns for this shoot. They have to be the green asparagus fern – I call this one the swamp queen”.

In Bloom 12 In Bloom 11 In Bloom 10 In Bloom 9Images courtesy of Emma Bergmeier – Varian, sketchers courtesy of Pippa McManus.

This is one exhibition you will not want to miss! And I have it on good authority that Pip will be selling her paintings and some limited editions prints!!! Opening night is on December 10 from 6-9pm at MANY 6160. The exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm til December 14. Xx Nadine


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