I think I have always been a creative person and had an appreciation for the visual arts and artists from a very young age. It’s hard for me to pin point exactly when I started calling myself an artist. Maybe towards my late teenage years it became more clear to me that I was going to go down the more artistic path.
Alongside being a visual artist, I also have a real interest in logic too – I feel as if I am an artist and many other things too. An artist and diver, an artist and early stages of a computer programmer, an artist and a person interested in dementia.
I think being an artist can allow for a lot of freedom and flexibility and I really feel as if this isn’t something that should be taken for granted.
What motivated you to leave England and move to New York?
It was a fork in the road, things were starting to happen for me in London. I had just graduated from Goldsmiths and received an award for my degree show.
A lot of my high school friends had left London for university and to be honest with you, I never had that desire to leave London – I never thought I would leave London. For my 13th Birthday – my parents gave me the gift of a trip to New York which I absolutely loved. I continued to visit New York during my late teenage years and early 20’s. I had always had my heart set on going to Colombia and looking back on it, I think I would have gotten lost in the Campus.
Really and truly, SVA was a really great school for me to be at. With part of my prize money I bought myself a plane ticket to New York to make sure I was making the right decision by going to SVA.
It’s funny because I now feel as if I am reaching another fork in the road, this time it’s with opportunities that are showing up for me in New York and not quite knowing which opportunity to go for, knowing that by taking one opportunity over another, while one door is opening another is one is closing.
What do you find the most difficult part of being an artist?
If I am being truly honest, I think my art has a lot of potential and something that gives me so much pleasure and joy, however I feel in the past there has always been something else in front of me making my art. Now that this is something I am more aware of, in the next few months to a year it is something I plan to do, give myself the full permission and time to create my art and further develop as an artist.
What has higher education in art granted you, that you wouldn’t have gained otherwise?
Definitely the people and the community that I created for myself both at Goldsmiths and SVA. Art school gave me a safe environment and the time to develop and take risks with the work I create, alongside the ongoing conversation that continues post school about art and life.
I think there is a kindness and generosity at both SVA and Goldsmiths which is hard to fully articulate into words. I have met some of my closest friends who continue to shape and inform my art practice. There is an unspoken mutual respect between the people students are taught by and the way the students support each other.
One of my favorite classes at SVA, organized by Jim Clark and Sarah Trigg, was a class where we visited artist studios in and around New York City, this was an opportunity for me to see how artists work in their studios in New York and it was a way to also explore New York shortly after I moved here. Jim Clark and I connected pretty much from Day 1, and our connection continues to stay incredibly close, Jim gives me confidence to continue to develop as an artist and continue my journey as an artist in New York City, which means so much to me.
There was a more intimate art piece I created while at SVA where I walked the flight time between London and New York documenting through writing everything I wore. There was a particular item on the list that touched on a past experience I had. With my hope that more people would ask more about this particular item on the list; that wasn’t the response I had. Jodie Lynkeechow and I spoke about the item on the list which I was hoping that more people were going to ask me about and I felt incredibly grateful that we could talk more openly about this piece.
The year after I graduated SVA – I went to work at Rico Gatson’s Studio, Rico and I have continued to stay in touch and I am incredibly grateful for his support and guidance and the opportunity I had to work with him at his studio. This summer will be 4 years since my class graduated from SVA and we are all still very close.
I think what is also great about being at both SVA and Goldsmiths is that it’s a place where a lot of really good artists started their careers at both of these schools. Sarah Sze, an artist whose work I have liked for many years now, also graduated from the MFA fine arts program at SVA.
I did some writing on her work, just over 10 years ago which felt poignant to share with the point in the world we are at now.
The structure of Still Life With Flowers feels fragile, it looks as if it could collapse at any time. In this piece there is the feeling that large urban cities are created with no proper structure and plan which can cause mayhem for the people living in a city that hasn’t been well thought out. In a city everything is connected to everything else, transport systems, electric grids, communications, sprawling housing.
Her work is like a carnival of different shapes and colors, and thousands of household objects being jumbled together. Even if she is showing how chaotic life can be, it also can be seen as a celebration of people’s ability to survive and live together.
The world is changing quickly at this moment and the climate is changing at a very fast pace. Sze’s sculptures and drawings suggest how human activity is constantly on the go. Maybe the world is changing quicker than human beings can keep up with, maybe the world is out of control?!
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.