Artist of the Month
1. How long have you been at the Phoenix?
I've been at Phoenix for nearly 5 years now.
2. What images keep you company in your studio space?
In the studio at the moment I have a post card of Louise Bourgeois' very old wrinkly but smiling face which I find hopeful. I have a collection of different boxes, some plain, some patterned, which has accumulated. There's also a tile with a very simple brown flower motif, that is calming somehow.
3. What is it about drawing & illustration that you enjoy as an art form?
For me drawing is a regular chance to channel my feelings and thoughts onto paper, without any expectations. It is very soothing, and has helped to give my life a shape. I studied illustration because I have always wanted to tell a story in pictures and words, balancing them together.
4. You work a lot with graphic novels. Is there something about the format of the graphic novel that particularly resonates with you?
I published "Talking to Gina", my graphic novel about a rescue dog, in 2017, and I'm currently working on a graphic diary. My course "Graphic Novels Real Life Stories" draws on what I've learnt and am continuing to learn through drawing my life, or what's called "autofictionalbiography". The world of graphic novels is full of riches which many people have not discovered yet! I discovered it in my teens, and have been hooked ever since.
5. Your work seems to be rooted in the everyday. Do you draw a lot of inspiration from your own everyday encounters?
Yes I am inspired by everyday encounters. Since beginning my graphic diary about 5 years ago I have set myself the task of a daily drawing of that day. The challenge is to select which bits of the day most matter, and how to draw them. Almost anything can be fascinating if you allow it to be. I particularly enjoy drawing human relationships. And cats are lovely to draw too.
6. Could you tell us a little bit about your Window Gallery exhibition?
My Windows Gallery exhibition is called "Living Wallpaper", and was made specifically for that space. First I gathered lots of different kinds of found surfaces, such as brown paper, an old roll of striped wallpaper, and even an abandoned window blind which had gone sepia. On these I drew people and places connected with my feelings and observations around the Phoenix and it's surroundings, especially the Level. It has something to do with ideas about community, class and environment. I drew a lot of little cars, and a big tree with shoes hanging in it, and some skateboarders doing dramatic jumps. I made a Phoenix building with a little artist in each window. I cut them out carefully, and finally arranged and glued them onto the walls. It was fun! I hope people like it.
See the full Artist of the Month archive here and check back next month to see who's featured!