Meet Michelle Collins - Founder & Artist at Green Lili

Behind every piece of art is a story. At Green Lili, that story begins with our founder and the face behind all of our artwork, Sheffield-based artist Michelle Collins — whose bold yet minimal style has graced the walls of beautiful spaces all over the world.

Join us in conversation as we get a little insight into the story behind her art, inspiration, and top tips on choosing new artwork for your home.

Michelle Collins Artist
Michelle in Joshua Tree, California

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello, I'm Michelle! I've always had a passion for art and design and in 2015 I decided to take the leap and pursue my dreams of being a full-time artist. I currently live in Sheffield, just on the edge of the Peak District, which is great because I love walking and being in nature.

When I'm not painting, I love creating cosy spaces. You can usually find me living the slow life in a pair of dungarees, snuggled under a throw with a Yorkshire brew and a scented candle. I also really like beans, which some people find strange — I always remind them they're good for the heart!

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration always starts outside and away from the studio. I find that spending time outdoors in nature re-energises my creativity and instantly puts me in a positive mindset. From the earthy-toned desert landscapes and tropical plants in California to the striking patterns and textures of Morocco — elements of my travels and surroundings can be found directly in my art or indirectly in my abstract art through form, colour and shape.

Michelle Collins inspiration Joshua Tree California
Desert landscapes and tropical plants in California

What is your interior design style?

I love Scandinavian simplicity and a modern, bohemian style full of texture with rustic materials, organic fabrics, lots of natural light and plants - lots and lots of plants! I'm really into this new Japandi style. I think less is definitely more and it's always worth taking the time to choose things that reflect your personality. Good design takes time and it's the finishing touches that really bring your interior to life.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I think my artistic style has developed quite a bit over the years. My signature style is abstract — playing with colours and shapes and exploring nature in an abstract way. I like to paint loosely, and abstract art allows me to do this. I love to hear other people's interpretations and perceptions of my art too — I always say abstract art is as simple as you want it to be.

Green Lili Beach Days Canvas
Beach Days Large Canvas Art

Which are your favourite designs from your collection?

One of my all-time favourites is Beach Days. I've got the large canvas version up in my bedroom, and it's one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning. It's in toned-down colours, so it works in a lot of spaces. It reminds me of living my best life in California - palm trees, ocean breeze and major beach vibes.

I also love minimal abstract art, so I'd have to say Stay Grounded & Reconnect. The contrast between the dark earthy greens, fresh white and pinks reminds me of nature and makes me feel calm - I hope it does the same for others and their homes.

What are your top 5 tips for choosing artwork for your home?

  1. Think about what you want to use the space for and how you want to feel. If it's a calm, relaxing space, think about abstract art in neutral earthy tones or pink hues. If it's a social space or a room for entertaining, go for something quirky, play around with brighter colours, or choose something that has a story to tell.
  2. Think about the flow around your home. Add botanical prints to walls that lead you outside. For hallways that connect rooms, line the walls with art in similar styles or complementing colours to lead you into the room.
  3. Make it easy to fill your wall space and go big! Oversized art is such a simple way to make a statement and add impact. If, like me, you like light neutral walls and a Scandi-rustic vibe, it's also a great way to add colour to your home without committing to bright or bold colours on the walls. If you're unsure about the size, mark it out on the wall with masking tape to get a feel for it first.
  4. Don't overthink it! If it feels right then, it probably is. When it comes to choosing artwork, start with pieces that are personal to you - maybe they tell a story or reflect your personality. Mix nostalgic items with new designs. By following your instincts, you can start to create a meaningful space where you can feel at home and be yourself. You don't want it to feel like a show home!
  5. Mix and match and have fun. What makes art so great is it's so easy to update a space simply by moving it around within your home. Mix and match, play around, lean on the floor or furniture - whatever works for you.
Top of the world Abstract canvas art
Top of the World Abstract Canvas

Quickfire questions:

Favourite color? Green. All the best things are green!

Something you couldn't live without? Plants! I love being out in nature and have plants all through my home. Dreaming of the day I can have a big garden with palm trees and veg plots.

Favourite place to visit? In normal times it would have to be California - I had the best trip a couple of years ago and can’t wait to go back, there’s so much more to explore still. Right now, I’m making the most of the Peak District being right on my doorstep, I really enjoy getting out for a good old hike.

Current song you play on repeat? I’m loving Maribou State and Khruangbin at the moment. All the summer vibes and super chilled - it gets me into the zone when I’m creating.

A recent pinch me moment? I was watching the latest Kevin Hart movie ‘Fatherhood’ on Netflix and during one of the scenes I noticed 2 of my prints in the background, I couldn’t believe it!