Meet The Maker: Flore de Hoog, Glasgow’s coolest wall artist



It may look like wallpaper, but peer closer at one of Flore de Hoog’s designs and you’ll see the artist has hand-drawn the patterns directly onto the wall. Here, de Hoog tells us all about her craft

Flore de Hoog
The artist at work. Image by Harrison Reid

I am an artist but when people ask what I do, I say I draw on walls, which is not very sophisticated-sounding! I use Molotow paint pens to create freehand patterns on people’s walls; I’ve always had a bit of a thing for repetition, having studied textiles at the Glasgow School of Art.

I’ve also got a degree in fine arts, but for years I didn’t do anything creative. For some reason, I never thought I would be good enough. I mainly worked in pubs and bars, and even tried to get a degree in hairdressing. A turning point came around four or five years ago, after attending my first life-drawing class in a decade. I started making and selling wall hangings and drawings and had a few big sales at Mount Florida Gallery & Studios. From there, I began transferring my drawings onto walls.

Flore de Hoog’s divers on a tenement wall

It’s nerve-wracking when I start a new wall; I do everything by eye. People often ask me ‘How does it look so perfect?’ but I’ll be able to spot a patch here and there that looks emptier than the others. I also can’t do conventional, photorealistic drawings – when I draw a wonky dog, that’s me really trying to draw a realistic dog. A lot of people say I should get wallpaper made, but that’s exactly what I don’t do! My work would be boring if it was regimented and completely perfect.

I’m inspired by old Soviet patterns. I started off designing gymnasts and divers because I like the synchronicity. There’s something about it that really speaks to me.

Sketches of a dog design

Often, clients get in touch before they have an idea of what they want me to do. Sometimes they’ll choose a design they’ve already seen on my Instagram (@floredehoog), like my parrots, and other times they’ll ask for something custom.

Recently, I worked on a block of flats in a converted church, drawing on a huge wall in the close. I ended up doing Glasgow landmarks; all the people who lived there individually requested different things that meant something to them. For another commission, a couple who had been on a huge road trip around America asked me to draw some of the buildings and landmarks they’d seen. It was so personal to them, and I got to hear all about their lives and their trip while I worked on it, which I just loved.

A wall featuring Glasgow landmarks such as the Finnieston Crane and SEC

On average, it takes a day to draw on one wall. I generally work for six or seven hours, because it gets physically tiring after that. The day will start off slow as I get to grips with the pattern, and I’ll usually do a few trials on paper first. Sometimes my dog Patrick comes with me – he’s a Romanian stray with a long body and short legs, and he’s a very good boy.

While I’m drawing, I love listening to interesting podcasts such as The Blindboy Podcast, This American Life and Invisibilia. It feels so great once I get into the swing of things and the wall is starting to shape up; it’s my own little bubble and I love it.

With Patrick, a very good boy. Image by Harrison Reid

A career highlight was collaborating with the paint brand Lick. I reached out to them because I think their paint is amazing, and we worked together on an incredible recording studio and creative hub in the west end of Glasgow called Dystopia.

When I’m not working, I play music in two bands. One of them, Brenda (who I sing and play synths for), has just been signed, which is exciting.

Working on the studio at Dystopia as part of a collab with Lick

I live in Govanhill, and I love going to restaurants such as Lobo and Ranjit’s Kitchen, as well as Fulton’s on Victoria Road – it’s a proper caff and is totally unpretentious. Everyone comes in, from hipsters to grannies and aunties, and it’s run by a gay couple. It sums up Govanhill!

My dream would be to do my job in a similar way to how some tattoo artists work, flying to different places around the world and letting people know I’m in town that week and available for work. I could do residencies in places like Brooklyn. I don’t know if that’s achievable – but who knows?

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