Q & A
East Midlands, UK
Aqua based liquid paint Mist fx
Brush and sponge
What would you call your ‘style’?
Concept body fine art, using a bold palate and cultural, philosophical or the human experience as inspiration; often involving illusion compositions.
What are you currently working on?
Work that explores our origins, evolution and mind sets.
What is a favourite piece of art you created and why?
The Axis Mundi, the World Tree, it expresses several ideas from my favourite philosopher Alan Watts.
Who are your art heroes?
Fritz Lang, Jim Henson, Salvador Dali, Kneehigh theatre company, Ennio Marcheto, Isabella Blow, Jim Warren, Rudolf Wacker, Karin Dreijer Andersson, Busby Berkley, I could go on…
What qualities make your art distinctively you?
The fine art realism elements to the work, along with use of head adornments and cultural references make the work recognisable ‘me’, I am told there is a ‘style’ so to speak but the subject matter varies widely.
Where do you create?
I have a studio and then I draw designs where ever I go, often on anything I can find.
When do you create?
Anytime I like, mainly afternoon-evenings.
How long does it take you to create a piece?
The design process with concept ideas can be take years to come together, or for bespoke commissioned pieces a few days to work from the brief. Creating the living art varies depending on the piece itself and what is involved, commercial work for events is often much quicker due to timescale pressures, fine art pieces in a studio mainly range at 4-6 hours but can be anything from up to, so far, 9 hours.
Do you sketch or keep an idea journal?
Yes, I sketch and keep journals with concept ideas, mainly rough drawings, inspirational images, symbols and writing that influence the pieces.
What do you do when you hit a creative block?
If it’s a commissioned piece or I have been starring at a live piece for too long I often go outdoors and take in some natural light and surroundings or discuss thoughts with friends.
For my own work, I tend to make sure I am feeling in a good frame of mind to paint before I begin and put on music.
Do you have any special techniques you would like to share?
I love building up texture using stipple sponges and brushes, I also have a handy way to cover hair.
Do you teach? What and why?
I do, and I am always blown away, creativity is in us all, we just need the freedom and support to express our authentic selves. I am very passionate about education, I hope to be able to inspire anyone, no matter the age to unlock their potential and keep growing. I work with all ages and abilities, and from any skill level from amateur to professional, I sincerely believe anyone is capable at expressing themselves through an art form.
What do you listen to when you create?
The music I listen to while painting varies quite widely, mainly Man of No Ego, Enigma, The Knife, Deep Forest, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, Ane Brun, Faithless, Radiohead and Apparat.
What other things do you like to do creatively?
Creating theatre productions, costumes and writing poetry.
Tell us about any commercial art endeavours: (do you have any licensing agreements? Art being used for other purposes)
I have an agency for media cover and sell prints via my own and body art websites. I also work for entertainment agencies, designing the make-up looks for shows and I work globally, appearing on TV productions and to create editorials or advertising pieces. My fine art body painting commissions and commercial clients using pieces for marketing both created in the studio and live.
How did you become interested in art?
I have loved art and making costumes since a very young age, I think my mother had a huge influence on my interest in art, encouraging mine and my sisters creativity all our lives. I had always loved figurative drawing and using bright bold colours to create the human form, there was also a strong habit and love for painting animals and utter joy in all elements of the theatre. My body art became a slight obsession, I soon realised it was the perfect fit for all the artistic interests I had had since early childhood.
What inspired you to do the art you do now?
My inspiration for pieces at the moment is a curiosity towards evolution, our origins and mind sets, visions of artworks come to me when reading or listening to philosophers, scientists or psychologists but can spring out of random shapes made from dirt marks on the floor.
How has your career in art developed?
I began freelancing at 24, previously to that I picked up hair and beauty skills running my own business and had studied art and design, particularly theatre design. I became slightly obsessed with body art when I found the medium and love adding to the idea of wearable art through experimentation, practice and wonderful mistakes. I’ve been extremely fortunate with pieces of work having viral interest online, travelling internationally through media and prints and some wonderful commissions that have led to a varied portfolio of commercial and fine art.
How important do you think it is to take art out into the community?
I think it is extremely important to take art into the community, projects that encourage a range of art disciplines and lead people to learn more about the forms of art available and inspire them to create their own work. It is also important to enjoy works from a multitude of artists within communities not to add to a colourful and vibrant community spirit.
What projects have you been involved in?
I have been involved in a variety of projects as a freelancer and also creative director of an Arts & Theatre company, Enter Edem. Projects include work with ‘Rethinkyourmind’ creating marketing imagery, videos and live pieces, the project provides support and better understanding of mental health, working with the NHS to provide nationwide publication; I have worked with organisations such as Action Homeless, creating their campaign video using body art to camouflage people into their surroundings to draw attention to the
‘invisibility’ of the homeless and point people effected into the direction of long term help; Big lottery funded projects such as ‘the Art of Employment’, creating an exhibition for a gallery over weekly sessions with a group of people who struggle with employment for various reasons, giving them a creative outlook and support using art with employment. I have created work for UNwater and been involved with several Peta campaigns. I have also worked in Brazil recreating some of ‘The Marvels of Nature’ series for a skin care campaign amongst various commercial artworks. Previous exhibitions such as ‘Ridiculous’, creating artworks on Adam Pearson and Juliette Burton looking at the various naming of our body parts in society and creating a video piece for Andy Weirs short story, ‘The Egg’ have also been recent projects that involve alternate world views.
Have you always been interested in body art?
I wasn’t very aware of the body art as a career until my friend introduced me to the World Body Paint festival when I was 24, ever since then I have been hooked and found it was the missing piece in the puzzle.