First, I’d love to know a bit about you — can you introduce yourself?
Hey, yeh sure! I’m 27, born and grew up in Hereford (very rural countryside close to Wales) before moving to Bournemouth for my Foundation, Bath for my BA and then I moved to London 3 years ago. I graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art MFA a year and a half ago, and currently live and work in London, sharing a studio in Peckham with 3 other great artists!
You recently earned an MFA from the Slade, and prior to that you had earned a BA from Bath Spa… how have your education experiences influenced what you do, or how you do your work? Was there anything, in hindsight, you especially valued? Wished there had been more of?
I’m lucky enough to say that the majority of my tutors throughout my education have been fantastic, and I am extremely grateful to have met them. I actually recently spoke with an old tutor from my foundation, so its nice to still be in touch with them all these years on. I think I wish I took more advantage of the tutors whilst on my BA, and I think it was really important to talk about and critique work, whether it’s your own or someone else’s work. That type of discussion is great for improving how you speak about your own work, but also great for developing ideas or getting feedback on new pieces — something that I wish I could have more of now!
I think my decision to study an MFA was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career so far. As well as developing my practice and challenging everything about it, the course and the university enabled me to meet an incredible group of people. Who, when you come out of education, are great to have around you, to share studios with, to go to private views and to continue those discussions.
Your work is very minimal, placing a lot of focus on movement and form of objects, and their relationships with other objects and the environment. Can you elaborate a bit on the ideas behind your work?
Sure, my work comes from everyday movements, gestures that I observe. They start as traces or records of these gestures and moments, but through abstraction, and particularly how some get amplified and others reduced, both in scale, volume, speed and physicality, they become physical gestures in their own right rather than just a trace of one. They change our physical relationship with the surroundings and the objects and materials themselves.
A lot of the works allude to human movements such as a step or pinch (more later on a pinch) but others will reference the everyday, a material slowly unwinding or the rhythm of two people crossing a road. I try to identify the familiar, but not directly, still retaining a subtle, quiet quality to the work
Whilst some the work is minimal, I would argue quite strongly that it’s not minimalism. The gestures in the material bring it away from minimalism, the folding, twisting, bending etc as well as the handmade aspect of the work. There are subtle references to the artists hand in there, sometimes quite obvious, others not so much.
I think they are reduced because like you said, the gestures and movements become exaggerated, our focus is on that, and the spaces that are generated between different elements of the works and also the space between works. These negative spaces become just as important to the work as the work itself.
What is your studio like?
Haha at the moment it’s a real mess! I’m in the middle of a big clear out and off the back of a run of shows, so everything is everywhere.
What do you consider the most challenging part of pursuing an artistic practice, whether creatively or professionally?
Finding a balance between time in the studio and time at work to earn money and time for the rest of life.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Any that you’re grateful you decided to ignore?
First, Aged 14, being told by my first art teacher, Mr Tiebosch, that a potato on a stick was art.
And second – If your practice is a bit stuck, (artist block, not sure what to make or why, etc) it means your mindset/thought process is changing. Take your time and be open to new thoughts, processes, materials, artists etc. — Andrea Medjesi Jones
What do you need most, or value most, as an artist?
At the moment, my studio. I feel that I need a space where I am able to make. Maybe this will change in a few years but at the moment I need a space to make the work I want to, and actually it also functions as a space to think or to make a mess in or to test new stuff, be that ideas, processes, materials.
What does “success” mean to you?
I think I look at success in two aspects, the broader ‘bigger picture,’ and a more personal, everyday aspect. In the broader sense and I would say I feel this year has been successful so far. I had a number of good group shows and a solo show. But in the more personal or intimate aspect, success to me means having the time and money to spend at least 2 or 3 days a week in the studio. I supposed this could well change with time and would be a good thing to reevaluate every now and then.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just come back from Netherlands where I was installing my first solo show at a small gallery over there in ’S Hertogenbosch.
I’ve just started using some new materials in the studio and some new colours have started to crop up, which I’m really excited about. I normally try to work on a few sculptures at once, but try to ask the sculptures to ask different questions.
In the newest piece I’m working on, I want to reference the artist’s hand quite directly, but still retain the subtly of the work. I’m referencing a pinch in the material as the starting point of the work but also to reference its own making. It then becomes a reference to touch, but also suggests the work has a direction, that it is traveling or that you should travel to experience it. It’s early days with this sculpture, though, so we will see!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for inviting me!
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