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My practice creates fantastical and fanciful scenes of escapism. Inspired by my own imagined, dream-like narratives, I use oil paint to create detailed, figurative and vibrant surrealist pieces.  My reason for making work is predominantly the deep, visceral, manic and all-consuming need to create. It is a pure excitement and obsession for the craft and its ability to bring the imagined into something tangible. My work celebrates beauty, opulence and exuberance, indulging in aestheticism and magic to delight and seduce the viewer. However, this visual allurement is not without a subtle disquiet, playful oddity, hint of the grotesque or a sprinkle of the sickly sweet kitsch. 

 

The imagined narratives performed by the work are rooted in childhood nostalgia with particular focus on the corruption of innocence. Purposely removeing the full identity of characters, or just hinting at their human presence, allows the viewer to place themselves within the artwork or relate to their own nostalgia and dreams. The objects that occupy the work act as vessels of a memory, the presence of an owner, the ghost of an individual. There is a story from what is left behind, our history and imprint on the world. 

 

A lot of my past work has used materiality to breathe life into the narratives. Textiles, embroidery, light-altering mediums, glitter, crystals, gold leaf and polymer clay decorate the paintings making them sparkle and shimmer from different angles. They invite the viewer to look closer to discover details and immerse themselves in their playfulness. This is in a bid to blur the line between craftsmanship and artistry and to create the sense of adornment seen historically through textiles techniques that have embellished clothing, bedding, accessories and tapestries. It is a reflection of our innate seduction by the luscious and exquisite. Our magpie instincts. The use of materiality enhances the work with a whimsical dimension and creates a separate entity for the art to exist within.  

The paintings themselves indulge in the liberation of imagination and draw inspiration from poetry and fairy tales, human obsession with collection and curation, the Pre-Raphaelites and Romantics and the gaudy, psychedelic qualities we can find in the natural world. They especially focus on the awe, terror and beauty of the Sublime in nature, the beasts that exist within it, and its ability to energise emotions that transcend the human experience. 

 

“The everlasting universe of things

Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,

Now dark—now glittering—now reflecting gloom—

Now lending splendour, where from secret springs

The source of human thought its tribute brings” 

‘Mont Blanc’ by Percy Shelley

 

There is also a thread of horror vacui (Latin for the fear of empty space), which is emulated in each piece. The subject matter permeates and congests each surface leaving little space for the works to breathe. This aids their lavish and gluttonous over-ripe qualities creating decadent undertones in contrast to the enticing objects and creatures. It is especially relevant when painting the natural world, as Aristotle said “nature abhors an empty space.” The work exaggerates and twists the real world into a fictional, fantastical form of escapism. This overindulgence of the canvas space reflects my approach to making the work, the obsessive and manic nature I have to the painting and all its crammed-in-imagery.  

 

My more recent work depicts theatrically immature and naive depictions of idyllic life, adorned with collectors items full of faux sentimentality, and scattered with lost treasures filled with ghosts. It is the first of a series where I want the viewer to enter the parlour of bad taste, meet eerie, anonymous characters, discover leftover letters from long forgotten valentines and play with the candied funhouse that is full of childhood angst.