I am an artist, illustrator and textile maker, working mainly with acrylic on canvas, pen and ink drawings and textiles.
These mediums are used to translate and merge the blurred memories and vivid imagination I derive from the nostalgia of my childhood. Half remembered toys, celebrations and stories intertwine to create an invented world of colourful scenes which are tinged with a sense of melancholy.
I am strongly influenced by the first seven years of my life, when I lived in the Netherlands, where every festivity or celebration was eagerly celebrated with a vast amount of decoration with bright colour, fabric and paper. Hand made party hats, streamers and paper sailboats with bunting were eagerly made in the classroom and it’s where I got my bug for decoration and colour.
My recent body of work is inspired by the desire to create narrative works which convey the naivety and freedom of mark making which is evident in childhood. I like the idea of unlearning all the ‘rules’ associated with painting, instead preferring to paint quickly and instinctively, loading the brush with a variety of colours and seeing what happens. I feel it gives much more energy to my work than when I actively control the making process with a predetermined idea.
Inspiration comes from vintage toys, children’s books, samplers, patchwork quilts, family photographs, animal figurines, anything that has a story to tell. The physical imagery acts as initial scaffolding to an idea, but my imagination merged with memory is the primary driving force in producing the work. I like to convey a sense of melancholy in the paintings which conflicts with the saccharine bright, happy hues which I use. The colour is often sickly sweet, but the inhabitants of the works are often miserable or grumpy participants in the portraits which heightens the sense of amusement in the narrative.
Once I choose a title for a painting or textile piece, it unlocks the narrative. I have started to develop short stories which are conceived from the initial act of producing a painting, with the aim of creating a children's picture book in the near future.
I graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2005, with an MA in Constructed Textiles, Mixed Media.