New painting (first of a new project painting transgender people)

I know I’ve been very quiet on here for a while now, I’ve been doing lots of things and I’m planning a post taking about them all but I wanted to share this one now. I post more frequently on my Facebook page, follow me there to see what I’m up to day to day!

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New painting! This is the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing project: the subject is a friend of mine who is transgender, after interviewing him about his relationship with his body I translated these thoughts and feelings into a body painting, and used photos from that as the basis for this painting. He was just about to have his mastectomy when I took the pictures, and I’ll do the same process in a month or so once he’s healed to make a dyptic.

My intention with this series is to explore a way to document and express people’s experience of being transgender/transsexual. Very often the focus is on appearance and aesthetics, with a focus on how well they “pass”. I’m trying to move beyond this, with expressive paintings with elements of abstraction, using the body itself as a canvas to speak about itself.

Often trans people feel like our bodies are our enemies – not all trans people experience physical dysphoria, but for those who do it can be overwhelming and affect everything about how they exist in the world. When we are able to take control of our bodies, whether through hormones/surgery or simply by how we present ourselves, we are able to come to peace and to flourish.

I I have purposely chosen to focus on my subject’s current experience rather than their history, so creating a snapshot in time. I feel like very often trans people are defined more by our history than our present; the questions people want to ask are about when we first knew, how our parents reacted etc. To me these questions are incredibly dull and don’t really communicate much about what it means to live one’s life as a trans person, especially for someone who came out and transitioned a long time ago.

Hopefully I’ll be doing more of these, so do watch this space, and get in touch if you’re trans and you’d like to be a model

New year, new direction

10854403_425227764295054_2313507484739253353_oThese aren’t great pictures, but I wanted to share what I’ve been doing and it might be a while before I can get descent scans. I’ve still been painting in acrylic on canvases, but I’ve been doing abstract monochrome/duochrome paintings. These are the first two I’ve finished that I’m really pleased with. My focus is on flow and shape, creating a feeling of organic movement across the canvas, building up layers with a roller to get texture and depth. I’m really loving doing abstract painting, it feels so liberating to not be constrained by representation. It feels more like dance, focusing on the form and the composition and seeing how the shapes want to flow around and across the canvas. It also feels like it matches my new year’s resolution to not attempt to be an art business or to sell my work, or at least not do it in a way that puts pressure on me to produce work in a certain way. I was a bit worried that doing these paintings would “confuse the brand”, but now I know 10428063_425227747628389_7480084365097184770_nthat I’m *not* a brand, I’m an artist, and if I want to produce good work I need to follow my own flow without putting perimeters onto it. I want to just play, to focus on creating and to see where my work takes me. This new style of painting feels very apt for this!

I’ve also found myself thinking about abstraction, and what it means for these pictures. There’s part of me that really resents the idea of people trying to see anything pictorial in them, although I know I have no control over this. I definitely have no desire to give them names that might even hint at an idea or an atmosphere. As far as I’m concerned a name or an image or an idea that there is an idea outside of the piece which it is representing would distract from it. They are flowing lines and shapes, and the relationship that each person who encounters them has with them is their own.

Video – “What’s at Stake for Abstract Painting Today – and Where Do We Go from Here?”

This is a fascinating video, I listened to it while oscillating between thinking they were being old curmudgeons and that they were getting it bang on. I think it’s a little of both, and I also think it’s just what I needed to hear right now. Even if these new upstarts aren’t destroying art and painting I’m definitely feeling more aligned to the attitude these four have!

Happy new year!

So I’ve decided to get back into using my website for the new year, after over a year since my last

Acrylic on canvas, 2014
Acrylic on canvas, 2014

post! I’ve changed the layout and updated my gallery pages as well as others, have a look around and see what you think.

I’ve been very ill over the last few months (I spent a week in hospital at the end of October) and it’s given me a bit of perspective on what I’m doing with myself. I’ve done a lot of thinking about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, and I feel that I’m in a better and stronger place with my work than I was last time I wrote on here. I want to focus more on the making rather than on worrying about selling, so therefore this blog will become a little more relaxed and a little more personal. I have also started painting in the last couple of months (the results of which you can see here), and it feels very refreshing to be doing something completely different and not worrying about things like confusing the brand, which I was told were super important when selling oneself as a creative professional. My hope is to do more of this, as well as exhibiting my felt work around Bristol and beyond. Continue reading “Happy new year!”

Prints sale, 10% off!

PrincessCottongrasdetail
Detail from “Princess Cottongrass and Leap the Elk”

Greetings all,

I’m currently having a 10% off sale on prints over at my Etsy shop. I have my first solo exhibition over at the Grant Bradley Gallery at the start of October, and I need a bit of extra cash for framing, transportation etc, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do to thank people for helping out. If there is a picture on my site that you would like a print of but isn’t in my etsy shop let me know and I can get one made for you. The sale will continue until the end of September, so check it out here!

In other news, the piece I am currently auctioning on ebay to raise funds to help the people fighting the badger cull is on £56 with 3 days left, which is great news!

Hide, Badger! An auction to help resist the cull

Hide, Badger!

I am currently auctioning this piece of mine on ebay with all the proceeds going towards Stop the Cull, a group helping  resist the badger cull currently being trialed in the UK. This is an original wall mounted relief piece, 100% needle felted in wool and mixed fibers on a fabric backing. It measure 30x25cm and comes ready to hang.

See the auction page here

As many of you will know, the UK government had approved a trial cull in the West Somerset and West Gloucester areas, despite the fact that there is little evidence that this will prevent the spread of bovine TB and some evidence that it will actually make it worse. I think it’s a tragedy that such beautiful animals are going to be made to suffer, not to mention that we don’t know what the knock on effects of reducing the numbers by so much would be for the rest of our eco system

I will also be selling cards and prints with proceeds going towards Stop the Cull, so keep an eye open.

Witch of the Forest (plus making-of pictures)

ForestWitch

This is a piece I will be showing at the Hamilton house pop up shop and gallery, which is running from this Wednesday to Sunday (June 5th to 9th). It was inspired by a Swedish folk tale about a boy who isn’t afraid of anything, and so when his family’s cow is stolen by trolls he doesn’t hesitate to venture into the forest to get it back. In the forest, he meets a few beings who try to scare him, but when he proves to be immune to them they decide to help him on his quest. The first being he meets is the Witch of the forest, with wild green hair. Here she is trying to be as scary as she can. The piece is 80cm x 40cm and is entirely needle felted.

At the pop up shop I will also be selling prints of this and other work, as well as greeting cards and figures.

I thought people might be interested in how my work comes together, so I took pictures of the witch as I was making her. Here she is all the way from a weird Gonzo-like creature to her full glory.