We love discovering new artists—and when these pieces by Helen Dealtry crossed our desks, we became immediately determined to meet their maker! This Brooklyn-based textile artist has worked with big-name brands like J.Crew, Gap and Anthropologie, but we’re especially smitten with her whimsical watercolor and ink floral series (part of her pop-up shop that launched on Furbish today!). Read on for a glimpse into Helen’s creative childhood, lifestyle and artistic idol.
Were you born with a paintbrush in your hand, or was your interest in the arts something that developed later in life?
My mum is a creative lady, so she would usually be sewing or making things for my brother and me. She must have been pretty aware of my love for drawing and painting early on because there were always crayons, poster paints and craft stuff around the house. My earliest memories are of making Beatrix Potter animals out of clay and painting them—I loved it!
Describe your artistic style in three words.
Ooh, that’s tough! Fluid, floral, alive.
We’re such fans of the neon pops of color and bright jewel-toned hues you use in your work! Where do you get your color inspiration?
As a textile designer, I found that giving the colors in nature a ‘twist’ feels more contemporary, for fashion and interior decoration alike. I like a little bit of the unexpected in my compositions, whether that’s in the color, scale or elements used.
Let’s talk artistic idols. If you could liken your work to any one “great,” who would it be and why?
Eek—it’s hard to comparatively put myself next to someone I admire so greatly, but here goes: Helen Frankenthaler. (In terms of my abstract watercolors, not the more literal organic designs.) When I look at her color composition, it just feels right to me. I can see some similarities in my own use of color. I love how she used turpentine to ‘water down’ her oil paints and give a translucent, watercolor-esque look to her pieces. I’ve never worked in oils, but when I get the chance, I’m going to go big—and try painting on the floor as she did!
What materials do you love working with most?
I love inks because you have to relinquish a certain amount of control when you use them. I don’t like my designs to look too finished. Inks do their own thing, and if you can resist overworking them, the result can turn out beautifully.
Images by Helen Dealtry, c/o Furbish Studio