Written by Joanne Barrett
They bring us joy and comfort, they add delightful colour to a home and they remind us of the precious gift of life...
It would seem then flowers are unconditionally generous given that individually theirs is a short existence. It is with this notion that Ponsonby florist/stylist and emerging artist Georgie Malyon began her love affair with flowers; embracing every stage from bud to bloom to decomposition.
“I have always held a fascination for the macabre but I’m also drawn to beautiful things, says Malyon, and I’ve developed my style through a collaboration of both.”
Malyon refers to her home studio as a hoarders dream and a minimalist’s nightmare. From a young age she collected spooky antique dolls, bird skulls from the garden, taxidermy and a host of curious vases.
“I never set out to be a florist it was always my plan to go to art school. However as fate would have it, I spent hours at my step sister’s florist shop after school, drawing the flowers, learning the names, taking home the old roses, hanging and drying them to add to the alter-like shrines I had set up in my bedroom; these shrines comprised incense, oil burners, crystals and my bizarre range of collectibles”
One would assume that Malyon’s collecting, creating and styling to be a far cry from those days in the 90s and in some respects it is. Whilst her theme continues to have a common thread her real focus has been to bring her love of arranging flowers into her art and now in 2016 it could be considered her latest works are taking an evolutionary shift.
Go back five years; Malyon created her first Mandala series of prints that referenced the art of nineteenth century post-mortem photography, a time when a death in the home was considered to be an ordinary part of life. Death was not feared by the Victorian rather they saw the passing as a chance to photographically capture their loved ones at the end. Her Mandala series was also driven by the way non-western cultures deal with death and the grieving process.
Additionally, she drew inspiration from an obsession with vintage postcards, the Dutch paintings of flowers and the concept of Memento Mori (Latin for ‘remember that you will die’). This is a key departure point in her work - an artistic or symbolic reminder of mortality. Some may consider these images morbid but Malyon sees them as a celebration of the cycle of life. She says, “Like flowers, we are only on this earth for a short time, respect and use your time here wisely whatever that may be.”
Over a 15 year period Malyon photographically documented her early floral arrangements and collections from markets and vintage stores. She later printed some of these photographs using them as gifts. A Melbourne based friend of Malyon’s got wind of these prints and offered to sell them through her store. Realising there was a market for her work Malyon approached endemicworld on Ponsonby Road with her Mandala series, confident this series would be the perfect fit with their fresh approach to art for the home.
Whilst Malyon’s works have evolved from very simple still life images to making latex moulds of skulls to form the Mandala series, flowers remain the focus. Last year she exhibited at endemicworld with her ‘Into the Mystic’ series. With these works Malyon applied different mediums from paint to water and spray paint creating an outer-worldly realm; there is a refreshing maturity about these works and they are proving to have commercial value.
She is currently planning a winter show at endemicworld with new works. In addition she is working on an exciting project with Back to the Wall using prints from the ‘Into the Mystic’ series to create feature walls that undoubtedly make a dramatic statement in a room. http://www.backtothewall.co.nz
“Home is my favourite place in Ponsonby, I'm a real home body, it’s kind of cheesy but true to say that home is where the heart is."
Auckland born, Malyon has lived and worked in Ponsonby for 20 years; a neighbourhood and community she simply loves. She recalls her student days when she worked at Beads & Pieces in Three Lamps and marvels at the fact she has lived in the same house for 17 years which she now shares with fiancé Tim Castelow, a barber at Flash City on Ponsonby Road.
Dedicated to making art, she believes that out of having a bad day you often learn something about yourself and your art, what does and doesn’t work and then the unexpected is always a treat. Not one to put too much pressure on herself regarding the outcome, she knows her art will connect with someone.
To keep that creative spark alive, Malyon surrounds herself with a bunch of creative friends and family; from designers to architects, landscapers, musicians, and tattoo artists. She recently partnered with artist Zoe Sibbald of Zoe & Morgan New Zealand Jewellery Designers to incorporate their jewellery with her flower arrangements; the result - two beautiful custom-framed prints. https://zoeandmorgan.com/nz/homeware/
So what inspires this stylish Ponsonby artist - flowers of course!
“There is nothing more perfectly imperfect than flowers,’ says Malyon.
"They don't last forever and as they decompose they have a fleetingly different beauty. Flowers vary from season to season and there is always something to look forward to, so I can’t imagine life without them. Never ask, which is my favourite flower - it’s like asking a painter what is your favourite colour!”
Malyon has worked with some of Auckland’s most respected florists and has learnt that clients take first priority. “It’s important to understand their colour and flower preferences and to be acutely aware of the space they live in. Working this way has influenced my approach to creating my art, always considering how it will complement a space whilst retaining my own vision, aesthetic and meaning.”
You can follow Malyon on instagram https://www.instagram.com/georgiemalyon/ for updates on her up-coming show at endemicworld and for the launch of her new website where prints will be available for purchase. www.georgiemalyon.com
MAIN PHOTO: Georgie Malyon – ‘Into the Mystic’ opening night @ endemicworld
Photo credit: Jenna Smith http://jennasmithphoto.com/