Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice?
When experiencing the visual arts, aesthetics usually are experienced first, and then the concepts are explored afterwards. Through a process and material led practice, I have currently been exploring the invisible in a visual world.
My works consist of layers of two-part polyurethane foam, with pigments and glitter, submersing, surrounding and encasing objects such as wooden frames, fabrics and balloons, resembling inverted eerie casts of furniture, which are removed post creation. As the work is overly visually stimulating, this forces the audience to investigate, explore and appreciate the empty voids, and question the creation and installation process.
Repetition creates momentum during the production process, which subsequently causes unexpected and varying outcomes, enables me to push the boundaries of materials, and the conversations created between these.
You spent half a year studying at the prestigious Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan. In what ways did fine art practice in Italy differ from that in the UK?
I found that the Italian art practice was very conceptual and theory based. This really contrasted with my work as I focus on pushing materials in a process-focused way.
I really enjoyed the juxtaposition to my practice as it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and delve into a part of my practice that I occasionally struggle with.
I ended up creating a dip-cast plaster sculpture over a movable wooden structure that would change shape from the weight of the wet plaster. I then created a performance piece whereby I destroyed the whole piece with a hammer, put every part of it into a box, and shipped it back to London where I had an exhibition of the video of the destruction and the sealed shipped box. I felt that this piece summarized my whole experience in Milan inc the art scene in one.
You’ve held quite intense jobs while maintaining your artistic practice – first a carer and a sensory art tutor, now a teaching assistant – how has this influenced your work?
I absolutely love the wide variety of people that I have worked with and who I work with now. They always seem to surprise me about what they come out with, especially in regards to how they see the world. Being surrounded by such amazing people pushes me to do my best and to create work that isn’t obvious. In doing this, I open up my work to be subjectively interpreted by each person who can bring in their own experiences and views to get what they want out of the work that has been created through pushing the boundaries of material and process.
From my experience with working with people with disabilities, one of the main focuses is sensory play. Sensory play is an activity that stimulates multiple senses to facilitating exploration, and naturally encourage scientific processes during this play. Through my practice, I use this premise of Sensory Play to build upon the overly visually stimulating works, with using other senses, such as touch. This creates a different art experience, as well as widening the accessibility of the work to those who are blind, for instance.
What interesting commissions or exhibitions have you done in the past where the location really influenced the making of your artwork?
For ‘A Living Gallery’ with CrossArts Collective, I created site-specific works ‘Loop #1’, ‘Loop #2’ and ‘Eclipse’. The exhibition itself was near East India Quay in London. As the open plan disused office space was right near to the Thames and the o2 with the whole city landscape in your sites, the view from the space was mesmerizing.
Within CrossArts Collective, the cross-disciplinary collective of artists used a wide variety of mediums to bring the whole exhibition together. Within the show, the actors created a pseudo-exhibition tour for members of the public that drew together some exaggerations of the art world while responding and drawing ideas from the other works from the collective.
‘Loop #1’, ‘Loop #2’ and ‘Eclipse’ were experienced first through the actors performance and then solely by the audience. The combination of the dual experiencing of the exhibition and the space itself really informed the making of my work. The initial idea was for the actors to interactive with ‘Loop #1’ and ‘Loop #2’, with using a lot of artistic jargon while ‘accidentally’ breaking the pieces. I wanted to question how the audience experiences art, usually as it’s only through visual responses. However, as the performance developed through rehearsal, so did the way my work was displayed and how the actors interacted. Though the final outcome of the performance included no damage, accident or otherwise, the work was still installed in a way that would intrigue the audience to move around and touch the work, without the fear of being caught due to the space not being a typical white cube. Creating an informal atmosphere courtesy of the actors enabled the audience to interact freely without feeling awkward.
If you could place your work anywhere in the world, where would it be?
The dream would be for my work to be shown in an indoor large public space, with either one whole wall covered with my lava-like works protruding outwards or large suspended foam works suspended from stairs/ceilings within an institution.