I never actually consciously decided to be an artist, not before this year anyway. All the circumstances of my life just kind of lead me that way. I mean, I always wanted to be an artist when I grew up, I just hadn’t thought about what the modern day interpretation of that job would entail.
I just wanted to draw all day, as a child, in the 1970’s. I was always drawing for hours on end. My mum said it kept me quiet. Mike across the road kept me in a steady supply of pink, off cuts, from the paper factory. I drew a lot of princesses on these oblong, pink pieces of paper. I started off by drawing a long X and then filled in the dress. There are very few of my drawings that survived from the 70’s, this one is from a school book cover. I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t draw their elephants just like this one!
During the 1980’s, my mother encouraged me to become an artist because she ended up with a sulky teenager on her hands. I was reluctant to leave my old school and get on with my life at the tender age of sweet 16. I wasn’t up for much else except for drawing faces, thus I was dragged to the local art college. I mean, what would you have done with me if I was your daughter? Luckily I settled in quickly and consistently drew and painted my way onto a London fine art degree course. Once there, I rebelled against my stuffy formalist tutors by getting into multi layered photography and projection. This drawing is from 1984, I was 14. It was started with a lipstick print kiss! And I painted the earrings and necklace with pearlescent nail varnish. I actually have a whole bunch of large, clothed, life drawings, that are in my parents loft, all from the 80’s that are really of their time.
In London during the 1990’s I produced a lot of work. You could see my slides and video projections throughout the club and underground dance scene, alternative theatre and live music events. I kept my sketch books going throughout my youthful adventures, with garbled poetry and little painted illustrations. I was always creating, filming, photographing, drawing and making installations out of found objects like cling film or plastic gloves. I also made ceramic sculptures and experimented with huge tiled black and white photocopied wall pieces. I experimented with projecting on different surfaces and screen shapes and even creating UV installations but in the end, I decided to prioritise creating interesting content and projecting the films on a clean smooth screen, like a clear window to deliver my ideas. This image is of a clingfilm body cast with the figure still inside. I blew this image up on the photocopier, tiled A4, along with two others from the same shoot and stuck them all together. It was larger than life size!
During the 2000’s, I was still live video mixing around Europe, in UK, France, Spain, Ibiza, Holland, Poland and Czech. When the crisis first hit in 2008, my VJ work dried up over night. Luckily I had already made good headway into digital editing and making web films, preferring to concentrate on work that didn’t involve me staying up all hours in night clubs. I started to make short web videos from the comfort of the studio rather than mixed live in a venue, mistakes an all. Around this time, I returned to painting and sculpting. I was in my late 30’s and I liked making art that didn’t need electricity to be seen.
These days, in the 2010’s, in my 40’s, my creative energy has gone fully into producing films, sculptures and paintings, these materials became the windows into my imagination. My little drawings have become illustrations for websites, my watercolours get sold as art licenses to become tattoos, logos and prints. The films are veering more towards animations, the sculptures became larger, sexier and more surreal and the paintings got bigger and gradually changed from watercolour and oils to acrylic and collage.
A Proper Job?
Sometimes I wonder if I should get a proper job instead of being a self employed freelancer but then I just go and finish whatever creative project I’m working on and see what happens next. I must add though, I have actively avoided full time corporate work because I didn’t want to get sucked into a high earning job and get used to valuing a wage over my creative time. I even once turned down an invitation for a full time editing job at the BBC! I suppose that was quite conscious, to stay as an independent film maker.
Why am I an Artist?
However, I never thought, “I’m going to be an artist.” It was more like, I asked myself, “Why am I an artist? I’m no better at art than any one else, what gives me the right to tread this path?” My mum did originally give me that initial little push but I don’t think I am an artist because of her, probably more despite of her. The answer is: I have an undeniable desire to sculpt, film and paint. It’s an urge that comes from deep inside.
So this is why I am here today, organising exhibitions and getting invited to show my artwork in numerous galleries. Plus I actually feel like my art is going somewhere. So, only now do I whole heartedly and intentionally carry on this lovely, though sometimes rocky road of earning a living from the products of my artistic self discovery. And where it leads, nobody knows! Except now I know how much art administration is needed to be done in order to actually succeed! Photographing new art, adding it to my archive, making it into a greeting card, uploading it to webshops and then writing descriptions, newsletters, social media about it. Putting together press packs for exhibitions. Everything in fact, except drawing all day long…