I am originally from Vermont and have been in Portland, Oregon for the past 15 years.
Describe a typical day in the studio for you.
I can’t say that there is a typical day, as it really depends on where I am at in the cycle of my work. Some days can be spent sketching new ideas in my sketchbook, mixing colors to test on swatches of linen or canvas, creating the forms and taping them off, applying the paint, touching up pieces or documenting work and directing photo shoots.
How do you choose your materials?
My materials are chosen with as much sustainable awareness as possible. I am 100% committed to only using non toxic paints, inks and dyes. I also incorporate found, donated and recycled materials into my collage pieces.
Where did you study? Did you have a mentor?
I graduated from the University of Vermont with a major in Studio Art concentrating in painting and a minor in Art History. Most of my mentors have come later in life when it came time for me to start evolving my practice into more of a career. I have built an amazing team of women that help mentor me through many facets of my art practice and career.
When did you begin your current body of work?
This body of work was started in the Fall of 2020.
What are some themes you find recurring in your pieces, intentional or not?
The containment of shapes is definitely a recurring theme in my pieces with total intention. They serve the purpose of controlling and containing the color while also creating the form. At this point in time I am drawn to minimal and hard edge shapes with strong colors. The medium for the color has started to shift for me over the past year along with a desire for more depth and complexity to the shapes.
How do you choose your colors?
For me color is the most important part of my process. It is always the first thing that I consider and decide on before anything else. There really isn’t a specific way that I chose my colors. It can be anything from a combination of colors that I see in architecture, nature or fashion but it doesn’t always have to be in real time if that makes sense. So much of my color selection comes from reliving an experience in my mind. For this body of work, all of the colors that were used came from my memories. I would sit in meditation and put myself back in specific surroundings and the first thing that would come up were the colors. The blues of the quarry or lake, the color of the budding or decaying leaves, the iron in the marble, the green of lichen or moss. Color triggers such an emotional reaction for me and is always in my realm of awareness.
For this body of work, all of the colors that were used came from my memories. I would sit in meditation and put myself back in specific surroundings and the first thing that would come up were the colors.
— Mia Farrington
How has your upbringing influenced the direction of your artistic process?
Growing up in Vermont, an environment surrounded by a backdrop of mountains and colorful trees, quarries, rivers, lakes and creeks, instilled a true appreciation and respect for all things nature early on that is deeply rooted. As a young adult I wanted to experience what a more urban environment was like and left for Vermont for Portland. I would say for the past 5 or more years I’ve felt a strong pull back toward nature and that is very much reflected in my work. A large portion of my work is inspired by places in nature that have impacted me the most in my life. Whether that is forests of Vermont, the beaches of Maine, the mountains of Italy or the rugged Oregon coast, these experiences stay deeply embedded in my mind to access for future inspiration. For this collection of work with Uprise Art, it is a direct reflection of a period of my teenage and young adult years that were spent in the rivers, lakes and quarries of Vermont. Without realizing it at the time, these environments truly shaped the person I am today.
What is it about your childhood that you find to be a compelling time to revisit and reflect on?
This period of my life was also a time marked with darkness and for a long time I have held feelings of disdain and discomfort surrounding it. But this pull back toward nature has also brought an opening and healing toward my past. My process for this body of work has been so much more than the paintings themselves. In order for me to transport back to that time, I had my own memories to rely on but I also reached out to the people most important to me during those formative years and the sharing and storytelling that ensued was a huge part of my reckoning and realizing that those experiences and that landscape was such a gift.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
I think the part of my process that takes the most time and presents the most challenges is color planning for a gallery show. Not only do the colors have to work well individually but also as a whole body of work. For me it really requires a lot of attention in terms of creating and fostering the relationships between the colors. Oftentimes I will sit with the colors for a while before the painting begins and even then I can change my mind at the last minute or switch out the color after the paint has been applied.
What tangible objects or intangible moments are you most interested in representing through your works?
Intangible moments are definitely where my interest lies these days. So much of my painting and process is about tapping into a feeling from a moment or experience.
Is there any artwork on display in your home/studio?
Whose is it? Yes! Our home is filled with art from so many people we love and cherish. If I had to pick our favorites they would be my husband Robb Farrington’s photography, our dear friend Ryan Wallace’s painting, my father James Florschutz’s sculptures, Niko’s bold ceramics and our old friend Mikey Welsh’s mixed media pieces.
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
Both of my parents are / were artists, so I’ve been surrounded by art all my life but the first piece of art that evoked a visceral reaction was seeing Jackson Pollock’s Untitled at the MoMA.