How did you get started doing what you do?
I have been collaging for longer than I can remember. There are pieces I had made when I was about 3 years old, which were just little bits of tissue paper and coloured card stuck down and decorated with a sticker or two- my mum has kept them all and recently showed me. I started taking collage seriously when I was 16 and undertaking an art GCSE- it was during this time that I realised I wanted to produce art every day, so then I went on to study art full time at college and now I’m in my final year at university- I graduate this summer.
How would you describe your creative style?
I would describe my creative style as surreal, shocking and enticing. I like to produce art that I would hang on my wall; if I’m not totally happy with it then I won’t show anyone until I believe it’s ready.
What’s your inspiration?
I take inspiration from my everyday life, the positive and the negative. I use powerful imagery to discuss and challenge political and social issues that I find important. Vintage magazines and photographs that are thrown out and unwanted inspire me; I breathe a new life to them with a contemporary aesthetic. I create surreal and amusing works, other days my mind works differently and I produce darker more disturbing pieces.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day for me involves flicking through my magazine collection, collaging, cooking and eating something delicious. I’m still a student and live away from home so I see my friends regularly. I also watch a lot of TV with my boyfriend and play with Marvin the giant African millipede I recently bought for him.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Typically it would take a day or two. It all depends on if I have found the correct images to piece together to create a collage. Sometimes I find an image and know that it has great potential but have to save it until the right image to pair it with comes along. Once I saved an image of a polar bear for about a year until I used it.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I mainly work from home in my bedroom. My room is very busy with ornaments and artwork everywhere. I find this the perfect place to work because I keep tidy and organised but my favorite things that help to inspire me also surround me. I feel like a lot of my art reflect my personality and also the environment in which I work in. I love quirky, vintage and colourful things but also dark, and sometimes quite disturbing things too and I think this reflects in my work.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to entice the viewer into a piece and provoke a reaction- this could be disgust or humor, any reaction is good in my eyes. The dream is to be a full-time collage artist exhibiting my work in many different countries. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.
How have others reacted to your work?
I’ve had mixed reactions from my work, some people love it and some hate it, I guess it’s like marmite. I was part of a group exhibition last year and exhibited a series of six pornographic collages titled “S&M (Sausage & Mash)”. I had a great reception from these, and was over the moon when people would turn their nose up at them, shake their heads and stop looking altogether, this was exactly the reaction I had been hoping for.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
I’d like people to remember what they saw and the emotion they felt when they looked at it.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Hmm, I can think of one thing that motivated me, but it definitely wasn’t the best advice. My art GCSE teacher would rip pages out of my sketchbook and scribble on my work saying I “wasn’t doing it right.” This never stopped me. I kept producing art in the same way and I was the only one out of the class to study art at college and university, so I guess she was one of the people who didn’t like my work. How can you do art “right” anyway? Your art is your’s and it’s what you make it, there’s no right or wrong.
What are your thoughts on art school?
I think art school is fantastic. I’m currently in my final year at Bath School of Art, UK and would definitely recommend going to an art school to kick-start your career as an artist. Art school allows you to produce the work you want to and I believe it helps you develop as a person and an artist. Being able to spend three years studying and developing my collage technique has been really beneficial for my practice and I am now confident in my artwork and myself.
What’s your process like?
Using vintage and contemporary magazines as my source, I extract and splice imagery of risky, disturbing, interesting and unpleasant nature. Anything that catches my eye, I cut it out and store it in an archive, that’s if I don’t have a use for it straight away. I spend hours flicking through magazines, then I start coming up with ideas for the images I find, for example, I saw a shark and to me it looked like it was smiling so I gave it a human eye to extenuate my vision of this.