What projects are you currently working on?
Since graduating, I have rented a studio and am currently working on a response to a local edifice known as Racton Folly. I was intrigued by the form of the tower and the uses to which it has been put to over several hundred years. As it is on the same land as the farm where my studio is, I wanted to respond to its history while creating my own around the myths and tales that are linked to this site. Smuggling, biker weddings, witchcraft and raves have all been rumoured to have taken place there. I have created altars, video performances and created deities, talisman and gods, using found and made materials.
I have applied to a number of Open Calls, and planned to be part of Chichester Open Studios. When this was cancelled due to the virus, I carried on preparing my studio and work as if it was still running, to keep me focussed and to address some of the issues involved in opening up to the public.
What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
I was thrilled to receive an MFA with Distinction, after many years of longing to complete an art course. Being part of the Amberley Museum Sculpture Trail was very exciting as I was given quite a large area to display my work in. I created an intervention, using objects from the museum. Although the Covid crisis interrupted the exhibition, they have reopened and extended the trail for several more months.
Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
I found it very important to maintain a consistent level of working and also to continue the professional practice we had been introduced to. This has entailed spending time daily in the studio environment and keeping a record of the works being made, both in photographic form and in my sketch book. If at all possible, finding a studio space away from the home is invaluable for helping you to recognise yourself as an artist. It is by no means the only way and to have a room of one’s own with the opportunity to leave out ongoing work is really important.
How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
It is almost impossible to explain the many ways that West Dean prepared me for the outside world but opening me up to new ideas and teaching me to be a critical artist, exploring materials and approaches was a life enhancing outcome. Being able to exhibit in the main house during the Open House event taught me how to prepare a proposal, how to access safety measures and to consider exhibiting for a different type of audience.
I give credit to West Dean for helping me develop a sustainable practice. Visiting galleries and regularly viewing and reading about other artists work is a habit I have maintained since graduating. I found that I missed the rigour of group crits so I have started two small peer support groups. We meet and bring work along to discuss. It is very helpful to hear your own ideas articulated too. It can be a lonely path, working in a studio. These meetings also give purpose to completing projects.
What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
I have many happy memories of my time at college, including meeting a wonderful group of people who challenged and stretched my ways of thinking. The trip to Vienna was an unforgettable experience and will stay with me for the rest of my life. The joy and wonder of setting up my own exhibitions each year in such an amazing range of spaces along with the kudos of mounting group exhibitions in London and Margate are also very positive memories for me.