Its always a massive relief to finish a work. Although you can look at it and keep finding things you need to ‘fix’ for weeks on end. At a certain point its time to post to Instagram and send it out into the world, like an awkward toddler.
The process of beginning again is a weird one. You always have the hope that this new piece will be better than the last, but at this point – which is ground zero, I am literally plucking it out of thin air.
People have asked me what my inspiration is, which sounds like a fairly normal question to ask an artist, but it has been a difficult one for me to answer. I am not yet moved to political or social themes in my work. I am not confident enough to take them on. But I have always been drawn to certain faces. To eyes in particular. And I like bodies to move and flow, so I begin by looking for images I can work with. Images that move me, in the hope that I can work with them to move my own audience.
I do have an insanely large Pinterest portfolio, where I have collected images I like along the way under all sorts of categories. Usually I start here. I look for a face or a body that grabs me on the day. When I see it I look at the shape and the expression then I start to work on a composition of other bodies and/or animals and plants that work together. I don’t like to ‘steal’ other peoples images so I change things up. I often put heads on different bodies, change their hair, their makeup and clothing. Quite often I make clothed people nude. It doesn’t feel overly sophisticated. But I just let the images speak to me and work with what I like.
Then I start doing mockup drawings to piece elements together. Once I have the composition right I move to the canvas, or the map to start the under drawing. Its ALWAYS eyes first then I circle out from there. The small details and patterns that appear in my work are afterthoughts. Something to make a colour pop or add interest where I think its needed. That final process is very intuitive and spur of the moment too.
So thats it. Not counting the myriad of disasters that occur along the way – the hands drawn backwards that need to be painted over or the ink spill over an arm that needs to be turned into a cat. Every work has its own evolution.
Since I began in February I have completed 3 commissions and have added 6 works worthy of inclusion in my Map Series. By December 2017 I would like to have completed 10 works in my Map Series and from there it might be time to move on and start with a fresh idea. I’m thinking of exploring flight and/or play for the moment. We’ll see on the day I suppose. XOX