This is my studio; I share the other side of the space with my studio mate Yasmin Falahat. We’re quite new to this space so we’re still settling in. (It’s super cold atm so that oil heater literally goes wherever I go in the studio.)
Back in the day, one of my favourite things about visiting an exhibition was going to the gift shop and getting a poster to remember the moment. I love the format, central image, the large text at the footer, the borders and the smaller text that lines the bottom of the image. Inspired by posters, I started combining my drawing work with my writing and using text to add depth to my images.
I have a few books about posters but this one is my favourite at the moment; it’s a collection of feminist posters by a range of artists. I like how these posters reflect the society at the time they were made in and uses art as a tool for social change.
To create without restriction and to document highs and lows.
Throughout university Jenny Holzer was one of my favourite artists. Her work encouraged me to write. I write about my dreams, my thoughts, sentences that I overhear that stick in mind. I keep it all on my phone notes and I come back to these words and often use them in my collages and paintings.
I love that these texts by Holzer can be carried from a gallery setting to a t-shirt, which takes the artwork outside of the gallery and wherever the wearer goes. This is what has made me interested in print and clothing as new ways of communicating a message offline.
I love these cutouts by Matisse and the composition and the colours used. I went to the Cut Out exhibition by Matisse at the Tate in 2014 and this really inspired me to work with paper in the way that I do. Playing around with shape, colour to build backgrounds, figures and faces. Around that time I also wanted to be creating artwork but didn’t have a lot of money to buy materials, the exhibition made me see all these beautiful artworks made with paper and challenged me to use materials that are accessible to me as an unconventional canvas.
Poetry & Portraits
I’ve always loved portraiture and this has become one of my favourite portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
These poems by Yrsa Daley Ward are so personal and real. I like that the author shares these unfiltered feelings with us the readers. That’s something that I try to do in my work, to create without restriction and to document highs and lows.
I try to use whatever materials I have around and often use them all on one piece. My favourite materials are paper and card. I label a lot of things as mixed media as I find myself writing notes in pen, paintings some elements, using pastels or stamps or whatever I can find that makes a mark. I like combining collected textures and clashing colours to create simple but bold compositions I can work on top of.
I adore this painting by Fernand Léger. My favourite part of it is the man’s face, it’s one of Léger’s more simpler artworks and that’s what I enjoy about it, it is just a man in a blue hat and but this portrait is one of the artworks that got me into painting.
This is a self-portrait of myself that I made last year which is a bit of mixed media and is mounted onto wood. Self-portraits are a central part of my practice, growing up there’s very little representation of folks that look like myself, so for me to represent myself and tell my story, as mundane as my life can be at times is important. For me, it’s important to make work that is true to myself.
Blue Glass Fortunes
I started this painting after a dream I had. I’ve forgotten most of the story but remembered I was in a grand room like the set in Looking For Langstone by Issac Julien, it was quite dark but there were these blue wine glasses that reflected light onto everything around me. That turned into this painting which is about the dream and the memory of dancing at a night out in South London.
Read more: Joy Miessi on making wearable art.