Congratulations on being a runner up at this year’s Arts Awards.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work, and what made you apply to the Emerald Life Winter Pride Arts Awards.
My practice is focused on visually investigating and exploring different aspects of the human condition – usually its darkest aspects, the ones we struggle to make sense of. I studied History of Art at Goldsmiths’, so my work is finely tuned with, and heavily inspired by art historical traditions, art theories and mythologies. I also studied glassmaking, which means my work tends to be in glass – I love and adore the challenges this material presents as well as its beauty. Apart from being an artist, I am also an art journalist and a model. I applied to the Emerald Winter Pride Awards because I was a finalist last year and I hoped to be part of this fantastic event again – luckily, here I am!
What does the award’s brief this year ‘Line of Beauty – exploring sexuality, gender and identity’ mean to you? How do you feel your entry fits with this brief?
This year’s brief mean to me an opportunity to show and to openly talk about work that explores sexuality – in fact, a sense of freedom seems to permeate this year’s brief, which feels quite soothing and liberating! I think my entry fits it well, since my sculpture ‘Medusa’ is precisely about blurring and challenging traditional gender definitions. It questions Freud’s equating of decapitation with castration as asserted in his essay ‘Medusa’s Head’- it is a brain formed of snakes, so there is no gender, no sex, and no identity built around those factors. Evil and sexual anxieties are presented as inherent human traits, regardless of gender. Plus, ‘Medusa’ looks like a jewel, in fact like an emerald – a lovely coincidence given this is the Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards!
What is your inspiration? What makes you want to work?
The human condition is my inspiration. Visually translating the conundrums of the human soul into beautiful, dark and poetic pieces in order to address and question difficult and yet timeless issues such as evil, vanity, sexuality, etc – not as general concepts, but as inherent human traits. What makes me want to work? The desire to give people beautiful and inspiring works of art. I also cannot deny that the feeling I get when I see viewers enjoying my pieces is one of the best ever!
The Arts Award is open to eleven different art forms this year – what to you is art?
Art to me is: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, installation, theatre, dance, literature, poetry, music, and film. I think that only very rarely artists apart from Duchamp get away with the found object. I might have a traditional opinion, but I am okay with that.
With cuts to funding and art studios looking to continue in the UK, what do you think are the greatest challenges to artists? Do you think that society still values art and artists?
I think the greatest challenge to artists is precisely access to facilities and funding for production of work. This has been a personal difficulty – I have lots of ideas, stored in sketch books, that I am dying to produce, but I do not have the money or access to glass casting facilities to make them. Yes, I do think society values art and artists – museums and galleries are always so busy these days! On the collecting front, I know that a lot of people buy art and attend art events just because it is trendy and gives them prestige. But, I also know people who actually are knowledgeable about art, and collect it because they truly love and support it.
And finally, we are all going to be feeling proud this Winter Pride season, but what else makes you feel proud?
Apart from feeling proud (and extremely grateful) about being part of Winter Pride for the second time, I am also proud of everyone behind Winter Pride, who are working hard to create a more welcoming, open, and accepting art world – let’s face it, the mainstream art world has become a vanilla and tired commercial institution, so it is a breath of fresh air to have a new force in the scene.
Interview by Alice Botham, Arts Coordinator