Flo Snook was born in Portsmouth in 1972, and grew up in Worthing and Brighton. Her childhood was firmly rooted in the landscape of the Sea and the South Downs, and this has always had an influence on her work. Drawing inspiration from the sketchbooks she has filled since her school days, her work continues to explore the relationship between people and landscape.
Flo attained a degree in Multi-media Textiles in 1994 at the Loughborough College of Art. Her thesis was entitled “The ancient traditions of Shamanism and their relevance to our modern Western Society”. This theme emerged in her work as a story about the relationship between her, the rural landscape, and the inner landscape of the human psyche, and culminated in a final show entitled ‘Our magic Earth Mother’ at the Mall Gallery, London.
Returning to her roots in the South and settling in Brighton, Flo’s work once again became focused on the local landscape. During this time, Flo developed a deep relationship with the West Pier and it’s unfolding story of demise.
“It fascinates me how humans interact with their natural environment, particularly how we impose our engineering on it, and how Nature fights back. The West Pier for example, has been battered by storms and destroyed by fire, but its metal skeletal structure is still standing proud of the waves and is testament to both human ingenuity, and the raw elemental power of Nature.”
Flo has exhibited during every Brighton festival since 2001 in various open houses, including the ‘Dragonfly House’ on Ditchling Rise, and with Colin Ruffell and Fran Slade on Springfield Rd (which incidentally was the first ever open house venue in the 80′s). Flo’s work has also been stocked by many shops and galleries throughout the South and in Greenwich, and her work is also held in private collections. Larger commissions have included work for The Real Eating Company in Hove and in Lewes, and for local interior designer Terri Prior, on behalf of her clients Zoe Ball and Norman Cook.
In 2009, in order to further explore the relationship between people and local coastal landscapes, Flo traveled East to Dungeness to spend time drawing there. She was inspired by the open spaces in the landscape, and the way that it’s harsh man-made structures -the nuclear power station, telephone and power lines- sit side by side with old fashioned fishing cottages, fishing boats, wild birds and lighthouses.
“The Dungeness landscape demonstrates how we are all connected. This web of connections is usually invisible or simply unnoticed in other landscapes, but here the human need for communication and electricity is stripped back and exposed for what it is. Skylarks and seagulls sing above the expanse of gorse and shingle while the spiders-web of power-lines whistle gently in the wind. I find it incredibly beautiful.”
This way of seeing the landscape reveals itself in her drawings as a graphic, linear quality, which naturally translates into the stitched line, into the use of screen print, and further into the textures and images of her art works.
One In The House, a shop on Trafalgar Street in Brighton, hosted Flo’s solo show during the May festival in 2010. This popular show featured her recently gathered images of the coastal landscapes of Dungeness and Brighton, in a range of different media. The shop continues to be Flo’s main stockist in Brighton.
Having studied multi-media textiles, Flo is able to find creative expression in a variety of media, from the printed and stitched images of her textile wall art, to her paintings, to her hand crafted objects.
“I don’t like to get stuck-in-a-rut creatively. I like to allow myself the opportunity to move freely from one set of media to another. It keeps my work fresh and ensures that I don’t ever make large quantities of any one thing. Keeping what I do creatively interesting means that everything I make holds the energy of my full attention, which I believe gives it a special uniqueness and ultimately, it’s value.”
Flo always considers how her own activities impact the environment. She sources her fabrics and materials as responsibly as possible, favouring natural linens, organic cottons and recycled old clothes, and using non toxic paints and printing inks. Flo’s artworks express the thought processes surrounding how materials are used and where they’ll end up, and therefore she designs successive art works that use up the left-over materials of previous projects.
“It is a slow and considered way of working, with lots of hand-stitched details and carefully selected materials, but I love working this way. And there’s no team of ‘assistants’ churning out the things I design, like some Andy Warhol or Damien Hirst style Factory, it’s just me! It’s my hope that every person who takes one of my art works home with them, will continue to feel the love that I put into it for many years to come.”