Lockdown has caused me and many of my peers at art university to change our way of making. In this strange time we can’t access studio spaces or specialist workshops and in my case most of my materials, which were locked in at uni.
So we have had to adapt, making use of what we might have in the house, or can still get our hands on!
This for me has meant going miniature. My materials and space have decreased so naturally my work has too. I have been testing tiny diorama -esque displays of the area that I live in which is consumed by waste. The result is a quaint representation of urban Leeds, ironic being that the subject matter is throw-away society. I like how the toy-like appearance gets you to look closer, revealing the dirt, bins and litter.
I made my diorama out of a few bits I had managed to print at uni before the lockdown (they were only intended for sketchbook documentation) and parts of pictures from old magazines. Having to adapt to a new situation has been stressful and I often feel as if I am having to compromise on the quality of my work. But I have definitely become more resourceful in my practice and I am beginning to see the different work I am producing as a new approach rather then a compromise.
Some miniature inspiration:
Elgin Park is Michael Paul Smith’s dream-like reconstruction of a real place.
Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi uses old television sets to create intricately sculpted rooms.
I recently came across @monstermailman on Instagram. The best inspiration for hyper realistic miniatures, often of everyday objects.
Christine McConnell is a master at crafts. Many of which are beautiful miniature creations, she has a YouTube channel and even her own Netflix show. I highly recommend looking her up to get you in the mood to make!
Some collages I have been making from cut up pieces of old work…
Environmental poster collages:
I like collage because it allows me to keep making imagery without need of any new materials. I can reuse the paper etc that I have over and over again, making different things each time. Endlessly reproducing work out of the same stuff.
“The Anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.”
– Wikipedia description
The Anthropcoence is an important theme in my practice. I am interested humans have become detached from nature, why we have developed a belief that we are at the centre of everything. The notion that nature is separate from us and is there to serve us is something I have never felt aligned to, because to me humans are part of nature.
Historian Keith Thomas suggests this belief system began long ago in his book ‘Man and The Natural World‘.
He cites the Bible as a contributor to this long-established human-centric view. With the rebellion of Adam and Eve being the start of man’s control over nature and thus the downfall of it.
I wanted to make a drawing inspired by this theme and in particular this text. A historical piece that tells the story from of Adam and Eves peaceful natural Paradise, to its fall and degeneration and finally the world we currently live in as influenced by that.
This digital drawing evolved out of my idea and an initial felt tip drawing. It has a tapestry like composition, split into three sections that show a different time.
The top panel depicts a serene Garden of Eden with the lion and lamb lying together peacefully and features a tree with one single red apple growing. I took inspiration from religious paintings of Paradise and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
The middle is after the fall of Paradise due to human rebellion. A stark contrast from the top section, with the lion now ferocious and the lamb running for its life. The Garden of Eden now resembles Bosch’s depiction of hell more closely. The apple tree has been struck down and the now eaten and decaying apple is on the ground.
The final section at the bottom is like a mash up of the two above it. Picturing a modern day road through an agricultural land. It may appear stable and alright at first glance. However when you notice all of the roadside rubbish and the car exhaust pollution it is clear that this scene is not an idyllic landscape, but more of a realistic telling of the negative impacts we have had on the natural world. Even the deceptively natural looking hills show that the Earth has been intensely meddled with by man for agricultural purposes. Everything curated to prioritise human interests over the interests of the planet as a whole.
I am hoping to digitally print ‘Paradise Falls’ onto fabric as nod to tapestries, with the text excerpt from Man and The Natural World on the back.
Hello. I have made another page on here. A place to store every iteration of each digital drawing. They kind of show the process and I think they’re quite interesting. Click here to check it out if you like!
Also here is a new digital drawing I have been working on. Right up close and personal with the rubbish. Featuring mouldy food, spilled rice, packaging and plastic bags.
This year I had the chance to exhibit in a day festival celebrating and showcasing female creatives. It was a wonderful event and allowed me to show Rubbish in Hyde Park Book Club. A venue right in the middle of Leeds student area, where the subject matter of excessive waste is very common.
The way I work always begins with a snapshot of something/somewhere. I will be creating a page for my snapshots in order to digitally archive them.
Some of my snapshots, like this one, are like pieces themselves. At the moment they are pretty much all linked to rubbish, as I am working around throw-away society. I usually heighten the saturation of them to use the vibrant colours when digitally drawing over the top.