To coincide with the collection launch of ‘Photo Synthesis’, a collaboration between Melbourne-based floral artistry powerhouse Flowers by Brett Matthew John (FBMJ) and creative fine-print studio Giclée Studios, we’re chatting with FBMJ Creative Director Brett Coles.
Hi Brett, thankyou so much for speaking with us today!
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your career journey to date? Did you always know your wanted to pursue a career in floristry?
As a child, I always envisioned myself as a fashion designer – I was very much obsessed with the concept of Paris Hilton. I was manifesting a small dog, a New York City apartment and a fabulous pink life. I studied fashion during my final years of high school, before diving into a double degree in Communication Design and Human Resource Management. A slight tweak on the vision (more Elle Woods this time around). I left my degree after only a year as I was looking for a creative outlet that was more instant. And so, I found myself exploring florals.
Tell us about how Flowers by Brett Matthew John come to be and a bit about the team behind the blooms?
After leaving my degree I started exploring florals. I opened Flowers by Brett Matthew John the same week I finished my Certificate III in Floristry Design, which was a crazy point in time!
We’re a small team of three at FBMJ – I affectionately refer to us as angels. (Charlie’s Angels, of course.) We have the incredible Madi, who I met while studying, who joined as our Head Florist at the very beginning. The Miranda to my Carrie, my brick – Madi makes it all happen, bringing the textural elements to the FBMJ style, and more bold elements to our colour palettes. Erinn joined us a few years later. Our missing puzzle piece who serves as our second Head Florist and Project Manager. Erinn brings a more moody, romantic vibe to the workbench injecting emotion into the FBMJ mix. I believe we could collectively rule the world.
What do you love most about working for yourself?
The freedom to create openly and freely is really an incredible thing and not taken for granted. So often in floristry, you can get stuck with traditional floral templates which restricts creative interpretation. Being able to make a space for myself and my art has been amazing, and has allowed me to connect with so many like-minded clients, creatives and brands who believe in the vision of FBMJ.
What has been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
Success is not linear. It doesn’t happen in the way you expect or want it to happen. You need to learn how to embrace changes and roll with the punches.
With the launch of the FBMJ X Giclée Studios floral fine-art print collaboration, what is your favourite print from the collection and why?
My favourite piece in the collection is ‘Orchid Flux’; it was a last-minute addition to the shoot, made at around 8 PM on-site, shot inside a Tupperware container and jointly styled by myself, Madi and Erinn. It has become my favourite piece from the collection and a perfect example of how FBMJ works as a team.
You’re moving to a new dedicated creative studio this Spring, aptly named Studio FBMJ. What was the most important element when designing this space and how you wanted to use it?
We really wanted to re-introduce retail to the FBMJ vernacular, but do so in a way that felt exclusive, creating a sensory experience for our clients. We envision Studio FBMJ to be a gallery-like venture (rather than a traditional florist.) with space for consulting and carefully curated interactive elements.
What is your favourite concept floral arrangement to create and why?
I really enjoy working on editorial and prop styling; I like to work with flowers that may be overlooked by other florists, and smaller-scale moments.
Controversial one – favourite flower??
What are some of your go-to spots to eat, drink and get inspired in Melbourne?
A lot of my inspiration comes from other creatives on Instagram and the girls on the team – we all have such different life experiences and we are always teaching each other.
In terms of local spots, the NGV is a beautiful source of inspiration. I love Abacus on Chapel St, I live south-side so I often find myself there with a coffee in hand. I’m also a fan of Stokehouse for some beautiful food. And lastly, guilty pleasure – I absolutely love Starbucks.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you live by?
“This is not the hill I will die on!” and “Spice up your life!”
What’s next for FBMJ?
You’ll have to keep following to see what we do next – we have a lot of ideas and projects we are excited to be working on and will be releasing over the coming months!
About The Collection
Immerse yourself in the ‘Photo Synthesis’ collection, combining the creative-mind of FBMJ with the artistic vision of Giclée Studios, producing a hyperreal, ultra-feminine and undeniably cool collection of floral prints. ‘Photo Synthesis’ is designed to transport your blooms from the humble vase into fine-art photography prints, re-defining the still-life floral.
The visual exploration redefines the familiar floral print in a completely modern way. Incorporating materials used by Artist Tom Adair including neon lights, dichroic and silver film, projection and airbrush paint, alongside contemporary florals by FBMJ to reimagine still-life floristry.
The ‘Photo Synthesis’ collection will be available for a limited time from the 5th of August 2021. Discover the collection here.
From left: Nikki Adair from Giclée Studios, Erinn Urquhart, Brett Coles and Madi Watts from FBMJ.
Shop Flowers with FBMJ
FBMJ create made to order bespoke florals, seasonal themed arrangements, floral subscriptions and design florals for events and weddings, to place an order or make an enquiry contact the friendly team here.