In our first issue of ele HOME we caught up with the talented and very busy Pip Spiro about her passion to keep creating and her exciting new collaboration with sister-in-law, Anna Spiro – The ‘Islet’ Collection. IMAGES: Tim Salisbury and Phoebe Galloway.
Tell us about your yourself?
I am an artist and a mum to three wonderful kids – Sydney (four), Beatrix (two) and Fred (two months).
Where are you based?
I am lucky to have a beautiful little studio at our home in New Farm in Brisbane, Australia.
How would you describe your creative style and mediums used?
I paint in watercolour in a realistic style, which is quite a precise and unforgiving combination! I make mostly paint still life paintings, and usually my subjects are organic in nature – I love shells, fruits or flowers, basically anything of the Earth is particularly beautiful to me. My work aims to capture exquisite detail of nature through paint of paper.
How did you begin your career?
I never planned to become an artist – if you’d have told me as a 20-year-old that this is where I’d end up I’d have fallen off my chair! But I also would have been thrilled.
I studied Business Management at university which led to a career in advertising which gave me wonderful experience creating campaigns for amazing products and brands. But after five years working in agencies, I knew that I wanted to be on the other side – the one creating something – so I quit my job and committed to a more creative life.
As part of that, I started drawing and painting lots, and after a while my now sister-in-law Anna Spiro suggested I do an exhibition at her then store Black & Spiro. The paintings sold out, and from there I started taking commissions and grew the confidence to concentrate on painting as my ‘proper’ job. That was almost ten years ago, and my work and path has really just grown organically from there.
Who and what inspires you?
I’ve always been a very aesthetic person and I draw inspiration from every facet of life – whether it be a beautiful building, dress, song, flower, or perhaps a person who goes about their life in a genuine and confident way; these are all equally enriching and inspiring to me.
I started making paintings in the pursuit of beauty, and it is an itch I’ll never stop scratching as there’s always something new to create. There is a wonderful quote from Ira Glass about creative people and their work. He talks about this gap that exists between what an artist knows is good – what got them into it in the first place – and their actual work. It’s like your skill and output is lagging behind your taste.
So we keep making stuff and doing the work, as it is only by going through a volume of work that we might make our way towards closing that gap and creating things that are as good as our ambitions. This spoke so strongly to me and articulates exactly why I love painting so much. I know I have 50 or 60 years ahead with it and I will never be bored. I will never feel ‘done’.
What do you love about your work?
I love that my work rarely feels like work – painting in my studio still brings me so much joy and contentment and given a spare second, that’s always where I’d most like to be. I love that I have been able to make this thing I love my job.
Can you tell us how your collaboration with Anna Spiro Textiles came about?
Anna is my sister-in-law and runs the textile business with her brother (my brother-in-law) Sam Spiro, and together they first asked me about collaborating with them on a collection back in 2019.
I couldn’t have been more excited as I knew firsthand that the quality and integrity of their textiles were second to none. And of course, I knew working alongside Anna was a very rare opportunity – she is so incredibly talented and everything she touches turns to gold!
It’s been an absolute joy to have the chance to work together as family and to meld our creativity and styles. The result is the ‘Islet’ collection – inspired by little islands around the world – and comprises seven designs in wallpaper and fabric that are rich, inspired and usable. I’m very proud of what we’ve created.
What does the rest 2021 have in store for you?
The first part of this year was a busy for me, with our little baby boy arriving a few days after the Islet collection launched in March. So, for now I’m taking some time out and soaking up our newest family member (as well as our very busy two- and four-year-old girls)!
Over the coming months I’ll slowly return to my commissions as I have a list of very lovely customers who have been patiently waiting for me. I’m also looking at some potential exhibition opportunities for 2022, which is exciting.
See more of Pip’s work at pipspiro.com or follow her on Instagram @pipspiro
‘The Islet Collection’ is available now at annaspirotextiles.com.au