Untitled drawing, ink on paper, 2011
What are you working on in your studio right now?
At the minute I'm working on a series of sculptures. Sculpture is pretty new to me so I'm trying to figure out how materials work, mainly reclaimed wood, netting and latex for now. I am also doing a lot of drawing; for sculptures and also just to get things out of my head. Drawing has become a huge part of my practice over the last 18 months and I couldn't live without it now. I think everyone should draw, it allows for a free fall of imagery, shapes and marks to come out on to a page. I love drawings that I don't understand as over time I begin to realize their relevance; almost in a psycho-analytical way. I learn a lot about myself through drawing.
Can you describe your working routine?
As I said drawing is a big part of my practice. I draw when I don't know what to make, or what to do or don't feel like painting. My paintings and now sculptures usually begin with a drawing. I tend to work in black ink with water but have recently started incorporating three colours in to the drawings too. I would then begin paintings loosely based on a drawing or sometimes specifically based on a drawing. However I find painting in this way unsuccessful as I don't want to make paintings that are illustrations of drawings. It's only recently that I have begun to see the drawings as complete works in themselves. I think this is why the painting side of my practice has taken a back seat in recent months and the sculptural work has begun to emerge. There's still a lot for me to do with sculpture, there's a lot to figure out and negotiate and the piece evolves more in the making than it has done with my paintings. This is perhaps because of my limited sculptural skills! But also because the sculptural materials I'm using can be more unpredictable than paint, at least in my own experience.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
I completed a year long residency a few months back at Kingsgate Workshops where I had a great space to work but unfortunately once my residency finished I had to find a new space. My new studio is too small and there is no natural light...quite depressing really! I feel like I need to move out as soon as I can. My sculptures are growing out of my space, everything is on top of one another. Perhaps this is another reason painting has stopped. When painting I feel I need an organised area where I know where to reach for a cadmium red if I need it, I like to paint quickly. At the minute the paints are all crammed on top of one another. I've started working on hanging sculptures, perhaps as a result of the space I don't know? All I know is that I need a bigger, lighter studio!
(top) Projection, oil on wood, 2010
(below) I change shapes to hide in this place,oil on wood, 2010
from the Diary Series
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
The 'Diary Series', which is my most recent body of painting work, was important to me in discovering what it was that I really wanted to make and also what I needed to make. I used to work a lot from found imagery which gave me a starting point to make paintings but the neither the imagery nor the paintings really told me anything about myself; they didn't go beyond the boundaries of the frame. This is when I began using my own imagery, I tried to allow myself not to think and just draw...which is very difficult in today's hectic lifestyle, we are programmed to think with logic and reason and our unconscious isn't allowed much time to breath. It took a lot of practice to be able to just draw.
Certain motifs would re-occur and I found myself incorporating them in to different scenarios and the work had small narratives within them. At the minute I want to move away from creating any kind of narrative as such and rather allow a more primitive, uncontrolled process to take over. My aim is to draw and make without analysing it at all during the making process. I want to leave this until afterwards to prevent any decisions that are too consciously focused. I want to access the unconscious more and allow marks and shapes to appear and then figure out what it all means and its relevance after. I guess this leads to a more process based practice as I will be focusing on the materials whilst making; how I can make the wood fit together or hang in a certain way, how the ink and water react, how to get a particular surface finish etc
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Painting is cruel! Painting is really hard for me at the minute and I'm trying to resolve it by not doing it! Perhaps the drawings and sculptural work will inform the paintings or allow me to think about making paintings in different ways...or maybe painting will take a back seat in my practice and I'll consider myself more multi-disciplinary?
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
Well until the past few months I only really worked with oils, mainly on board. I was also doing the ink drawings which still continue and in fact have become a real focus of my practice; it's where the thinking happens, but like I said at the minute I'm working in sculpture so my main material at the minute is reclaimed wood.
What does the future hold for this work?
I have a solo show coming up in October at The China Shop gallery Oxford. I'm hoping to continue with the sculptural work to show in this exhibition but I also want to allow the drawings more focus. They have always been hidden in the studio for my eyes only but I would like to present them as finished pieces as they really are an integral part of my practice.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Did I mention I like drawing? Draw more!
Untitled drawing, ink on paper, 2011