What degree or MA did you do, where and when did you complete? Tell us a bit about your story so far…
I am a recent BA (Hons) Drawing graduate from Falmouth University. And it has totally revolutionised how I approach materials, ideas and techniques in my practice. Coming from a tattooing background without any formal academic training in art, the education journey in the UK I started over 5 years ago was aimed to improve my compositions and designs as well as the overall artistic skill set. Just so happened that, all along, I never managed to bring tattooing into the picture, yet I went down to a whole new rabbit hole that has completely changed everything for me.
Tell us about your art practice
I would say that my work turned into practice during lockdown, when tattooing was completely on a halt. Before, each object was an inanimate thing that, once concluded, there was a sense of pitfall, that it did and said what it was supposed to. It was just when I realised each small decision, each small randomness in selecting materials, or what catches the eye, have an inherent clue. This is to say, they “hint” at you something meaningful; if paid attention to, the followed thread will bring you to learn a lot about yourself too. Hence my practice is about personal connections, family and gratitude. But also it’s about great mysteries, vastness and depths; ideas that are so much bigger than me, that gave me goosebumps the first time I encountered them. I could describe them as votive artefacts with temperament. Perhaps a bit touchy. I am working towards having a practice that is equally comforting and challenging, just like wearing fluffy socks when your feet are cold and have blisters from uncomfortable shoes. A practice that keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Tell us about the studio where you work
I had the great opportunity to work in Mat McIvor’s studio, a local artist who has co-owned Fishboy Pz for several years. A great space with massive windows in one of the most iconic streets in Penzance. As it’s tricky to find available studios around here; the help of McIvor, his wife and Cultivator Cornwall came as a blessing for having facilitated the development of my current project.
What are you working on right now?
I am working towards an installation which will be part of a collective showcase in St. Ives with artists as part of the Cultivator Graduate Start-Up programme with the support of Field Notes. It is quite a turning point for me, both in terms of practice and living as an artist, generally figuring out ways to grow. In brief, it is as basic as sewing a blanket, a pillowcase and building a bed with lights put in a non-consecrated chapel. However, it becomes interesting when its beginnings are in a weird bolt-like stroke of an idea. The wish to merge my fine art practice with tattooing took me during education in very different directions. That’s when this idea came to use and experiment with liquid latex and treat it like skin with all its layers. I was sold immediately by it, and I think I found another medium alongside copper, plaster bandages and wool that has something to teach me. For now, sacred and profane will cohabit for four days in Saint Nicholas Chapel for the public to witness.
What help have you had through Cultivator so far?
Cultivator Cornwall came about during my degree, it delivered a workshop for the professional practice’s module named The Business of Being a Creative that described strategies to make your own art becoming a career. This led to my application for the Graduate Start-Up programme from June 2022 until January 2023. It included a broad range of workshops, seminars, 1:1 with experts, artists and mentors, and the expertise of Field Notes for a conclusive, collective, South West based showcase in March. Even better. With all this, the award funded for 6 months, part or all studio rent. I can’t imagine how much longer it would have taken me to gather all this info, suggestions, advice and critical opinions without this type of help. I have been so lucky to have met and collaborated with truly inspiring people. .
What drives you?
Perhaps the inability to sit still. And then I suppose something that I like to look at, that I like to make. It is a sensory chase and an inquiry of personal core beliefs. In each work there is a grudge, and the time around it is somewhat just as annoying as compelling. If I can make an analogy with my culture growing up, every completed work represents a station of my own cross. Something that you would spend a minute thinking about it, then you walk away. But being grudges, they come back don’t they?
What is next?
I feel hopeful, especially after Cultivator’s programme I feel to be so much better equipped to run my own business. Even if at its early stages, the help received has opened up so many opportunities that I would have never considered. First, I look forward to the showcase and having our work exhibited together. It will mean a whole new learning curve in itself for many reasons. I really hope the group will continue despite the end of the program. I am looking for a studio to share with a ceramicist, almost certainly ending up with a collaboration. I am also interested in another collaborative project with a tailor. I don’t want to disclose too much as it’s still in the process of planning! On the other hand, I am thrilled by a project that I titled Dermography, a performative approach of tattooing where the design is a reaction and celebration of marks of the client’s skin. The pattern is spontaneous, and created directly with stencil liquid and a paintbrush.