"I am interested in the everyday - popular culture, things that people understand and can relate to"
Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practicing artist and where did you study?
I have been a practicing artist since 2009 when I graduated from my BA in visual communication at Central Saint Martins. My final body of work sat somewhere between art and design and ever since I have continued practicing both disciplines alongside one another. There is naturally an overlap between the two, where my graphic design practice is very conceptual and my artistic practice looks to subjects and processes which are related to graphic design, such as identity, representation, and communication. Having the two in tandem allows me to step away from the projects that I am working on, to reframe, rethink and gain perspective.
Your work focuses on the digital, with its repetitive machine like aesthetics. Could you tell us about this and your thoughts behind it?
As a general statement, I would say my work navigates systems found in daily life, in order to find spaces for expression and freedom. Digital technology has had an enormous impact on society and with my concern for the every day, these data systems and processes often become the subject of my work. In considering such structures, it is not just the tensions between organic and inorganic forms that motivate my investigations but my desire to understand the complex nature of these systems and how they function. The repetitive nature of the work is simply the outcome of the systematic process that I go through in order to produce the work.
Your piece called “MoMA artist index” lists out all the artists that have shown with MoMA, could you tell us about this piece?
This piece was made as a contribution to an exhibition called the W project, which celebrates International Women’s day. In order to communicate my beliefs regarding gender equality, I set about considering the structures which distinguish us as different from one another. I was interested in the idea that when you exchange a name, the profile of that person changes — that a man can easily convert to a woman and woman to a man. I looked at the MoMA artist index for two reasons: one being that it is a list of names which includes personalities most of us are familiar with, therefore the viewer can easily comprehend the idea behind the piece. The second was a consideration of the concept of success. The figures on the list are recognised for their celebrity status, the majority of which are men but the gender exchange process emphasises the fact that they could just as easily be women.
What do you hope the viewer gains/reacts from looking at your work?
Audience accessibility is a big consideration for me when making work. I am interested in the everyday - popular culture, things that people understand and can relate to. I use these subjects as a tool to communicate directly and engage with the audience, enabling me to pose questions and ideas about the world we live in and how it is structured. Recently I have been exploring how the outcome of the work can step away from the gallery walls and integrate into the lives of people more fully. I am interested in developing conceptual products, which are functional objects containing clear concepts which provide an alternative view, a different way of considering the world.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine, what is your studio like?
My studio is based in Stoke Newington, London and is a self-contained unit within a big warehouse which is shared with lots of other artists, designers etc. My studio is probably more inline with one's idea of a design studio than a typical artist studio, but I think more and more this is alternating, as I am beginning to get more involved in the production of the work and explore the materiality of it. Using the same space for both lines of work, I have to be quite disciplined and structured about what I am focusing on each day as I enter the space.
How do you go about naming your work?
This has always been somewhat of a struggle for me, and over the past years, I have continually changed the name of the work. Finally, I have come to a place where I feel it is important for me to use the title as a way to help explain the concept behind the work or the process that I have gone through in order to generate the work. I would say I am still in a place of refining and consolidating this.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I am constantly finding specific aspects of other artists’ work which either connect to subjects and processes in which I am interested or touch an more emotional nerve.
I really enjoyed Julie Verhoeven's toilet intervention at Frieze this year, which, at the same time as putting a great big smile on my face, interested me in regards to its unexpected context, this integration in to the everyday that I look to in my own practice. In contrast to this, I was delighted to catch the last day of the James Richards show, Requests and Antisongs at the ICA. I was totally consumed by the emotional and poetic journey the multi-layered work took me on. I was fascinated by the way it managed to lead and direct you through the work but at the same time created enough space for the viewer to reflect and contemplate their own experience.
What does the future hold for you as an artist? Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
This year I have a couple of exciting collaborations planned, one with a fashion designer and the other with an artist book publisher. In addition to this, I hope to make further head way into the long long list of projects and collaborations that I would like to see realised. Away from the development and production side of my work, I plan to take some time out from my day to day studio practice and go on a research-based residency allowing me time and space to read and conjure up new ideas. In terms of longer term goals ( dreams ) I have an idea to set up a sort of shop, which sells the conceptual products I mention earlier, and would love to work on a project with Art on the Underground.
Publish date: 25/11/16
All images courtesy of the artist