Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I was born and raised in London where I currently have my studio. I have just graduated from my BA in Fine Art Painting at City and Guilds of London at School where I received a First-Class honours. I previously studied at Central St Martins UAL and on a scholarship to Paris College of Art.
I work primarily in epoxy resin and pigment on plywood. This involves mixing resin with a catalyst and painting whilst it cures and hardens. I have to be in a gas mask and onesie to even begin to paint which can get frustrating! My work takes up to 3 weeks to dry so I do spend a lot of time waiting around and hoping.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I don’t remember there being a moment when I decided to pursue it as it was always important. However I think in the last year I have come to the conclusion that I would like to be an artist. I think I was too scared to be honest about it before.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I think I am so lucky to be working in such and artistically rich city as London. Whenever I’m feeling a bit flat there is always something inspiring to go and see and get excited about. I saw the Bill Viola exhibition last week at the Royal Academy and left feeling so much better, and ready to do some painting.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
My practice is at the stage where it needs to make some changes. Previously my focus was visualising the paradox of absence and presence through human scale vessel sculptures in reaction to personal experiences of grief. However, now my focus is primarily on painting abstract internal landscapes in epoxy resin on plywood. Although I am still expressing similar feelings of loss, I have had to switch to producing work in a more sustainable way from my studio (which does not have a kiln..). It has been quite liberating not creating ceramic works for a bit, and focusing on my painting. By painting in resin I am exploring the experience of the sublime in nature through variations of blues and techniques, creating tensions between imagery that is natural yet surreal, tranquil yet suffocating.
What is your process like?
My process is quite unusual as most of my time is spent waiting for the resin to dry! You can get really impatient but if you touch them to early the whole thing is ruined. I usually paint two at a time to be more time effective.
I begin by building two wooden structures which takes up to 4 days. Once these are primed with acrylic paint the resin painting process can begin. Over 30 minutes I mix and pour my resin, and manipulate its movements on the surface using brushes or by tilting the wood. The dry then takes about three weeks so if I have made any mistakes in that 30 minutes, I have to sit with it for three weeks.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I am not ready to move on from my current theme of grief and the sublime. However, I have always been interested in eastern block printing methods and recently went to India to look at block printing in their factories (a trip I have been planning for two years). I’m very interested in the handmade aspects of this method. I’m also very interested in the waste of material I saw in these factories and have brought a great deal of it home with me as I feel this would be an interesting concept to explore.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
I think the strangest thing I have ever have to do for art was definitely when I was at Central St Martins. In reaction to Kafka’s Metamorphosis I did a short film (that was actually quite long!) where I dressed up as a cockroach and was filmed being set loose in London and Oxford for a few days. It really was not art.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I am currently job searching for a role as an artist’s assistant or something similar, as I would like to learn from (spy on) the ways in which that a successful artist manages their practice. Whether this is their method of making, or ways in which they have promoted themselves.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I think that the best piece of advice I have received is to speak about what I know. The second I start discussing subjects that out of my depth, or I am not wholeheartedly interested in, the viewer can see straight through it. Additionally, discussing experiences that you understand is more cathartic and gratifying as an artist, and stops you feeling like a fraud.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
I would say the same: speak about what you know.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
I think that the community I had at City and Guilds was so fundamental in the development of my process and the final outcome of my space at my degree show. Having a community of people around you, all with different experiences, insights, techniques and abilities is so invaluable to an artist’s progression.
What is your studio like?
My studio is a good size and covered in tarpaulin to stop the resin ruining the floors!
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
First, I have to create my wooden structures to hold the resin; this involves a lot of hammering, soaring and general heavy lifting. For this I listened to ‘the guilty feminist’ podcast as I’m drilling and usually get good and angry. Next I prepare the resin and pigment ensuring everything is in the correct place before I begin and have a studio playlist. For the actual process of painting and I work in complete silence as I have found that music can gives me false confidence.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
Completely essential. I feel that without the criticism, information, workshops, peers and tutors that you get at art school it would have been very difficult to progress.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I think that the most daunting part of pursuing art is that there is no guidebook.
How would you define “success” in art?
I suppose that it is an outlet for you, and that another person could relate to it in some way.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
I am currently shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2019 which is pretty exciting as it is a competition that I have followed from when I was a child. I felt this was an accomplishment as 250 portraits are selected from 2,900+.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I am involved in group critiques with my peers from art school so we can gain feedback on our work.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working towards a duel exhibition with artist Sue Kennington at the Sid Motion Gallery in London, which will be opening on the 14th of March and on for a month. I will be showing works from my ongoing Sublime Spaces Series so I have been packing them all up today.
Now I need to focus on producing a series of works on paper for a Pop Up Solo Show at Studio73 this summer in Brixton Village, London. I am currently doing a frame making course every wednesday at Camden College so I will be making some frames for these too – framing is usually so expensive!