The presence of colour in the ‘Transfers’ Collection (2018-19) is a story within itself. One I’ve been contemplating a while now. I’ve been asking myself so many questions of the ways colour supports us to express emotion. The story colour can tell about a place, an object or perhaps a person of significance to us. When I’m working on a new canvas, colour plays an integral role in the telling of the work’s story; it communicates so much about the nature of the energy present.
Colour means something different to everyone, we all know that. Each colour comes with its own meaning, for example; as red could be associated with anger, heat or perhaps passion. However, have you thought about the energy we transfer from ourselves to others, as well as, what we take in from our surroundings, which can communicate something different and far more beautiful.
Building a new relationship with the way we interpret the things that surround us, perhaps through sight, sound and touch. Using our senses to access that same sense of vision we see, each day ourselves. For me, colour changes within that process, rather than associating an object by what it looks like and then judging what its colour should be. Listen to that object, touch it. And ask yourself how does it feel and what it sounds like?
The colours we see through what surrounds us each day, paints a completely different picture to the colours we feel. And that's a very personal experience for me, as an artist, to produce a painting that expresses such emotive language through the simplicity of colour and mark. But let's not forget, colour comes in many shades, the light and the dark. The bold and the washed out. Which always reminds me of our own humanness, a running thread through my practice. That same process of layering, that expresses our needs to wrap ourselves within our layers in order make ourselves feel happy, comfortable, but most importantly feel safe.
Of the many layers we build upon ourselves, we grow a thick skin, the foundations of a safety net. However, when you begin to peel back those layers, one after the other, you notice something. Beneath the shades of colour and layers of marks, you are starting to feel a bit more exposed each time. Vulnerable even, as the surface of the canvas (which is you) begins to reveal the inner most part of yourself.
Written by Laura Hepworth
Photography by Portrayed Photography
In this month of March, my focus is location. So, I’ll be taking you to the places of influence, which have been home to me throughout my life. The places that stimulate inspiration and intuition for me, to pick up my sketchbook and art materials and start at something. These places, demonstrate the journey I have made not only as an artistic practitioner, but also, as a person.
Living in South East London as a child, I grew up in Honor Oak Park with my older brother and my parents. My parents were never very keen on the quality of life within the city for us as children, so I spent a great deal of time staying over weekends by the coast in Broadstairs, Kent. In these places, I developed my passion for drawing, I began developing a deeper understanding for the craft, a will and level of patience, to sit and take in my surroundings. Whenever I was travelling down to Broadstairs with the family, I always remember, having an easel and sketchbook kept in the boot of the car, as if on standby.
So, if the moment arose and creativity struck, I was ready to grasp the moment and make something out of it. In this way, I began to build up sensory comparisons on what is considered to be real and hyper real from a young age. Using the experiences with my disability to reinforce the representation of objects, sounds and our generalised perception of the way we see things. Through that, I began developing my own techniques in drawing and painting. However, little did I know at that age how much of an influence those small techniques would be to me later on in my creative journey?
Having said that, it wasn’t just about sitting about drawing for me. It was the experiences of early independence to find things out for myself. To be adventurous, to look at something, and be able to imagine it being something more, than its original state and build a whole story around it. When my brother and I were children, at the beach we would always love to climb the huge rock formations, in search for the unlimited sea life that surrounded us. Our fascination to count the numbers of fish we saw swimming in the rock pools, or the crabs we had seen, hiding itself under their rocks. It was the wonder, where their journeys would lead them to.
Even now, as an emerging artist, that idealism of journey still plays an integral role in the development of my practice. Through the exhibitions I curate, I find myself in moments of creating my own story. Each individual artwork has its own personality, ideal of texture and mark making. Therefore, is demonstrating the journey I have made as an individual, but also, to the practice I have formed throughout the years of creating art.
We are all the artists of our own stories, developing our own understanding of the world that surrounds us in different ways.
Written by Laura Hepworth
As part of this month’s prompt, ART/RELATIONSHIPS, I’m going to take you through the relationships that have influenced my practice throughout the years.
For this week and the next I’m focussing on Community, what it means to me and how it plays a integral part of my own understanding of what makes a successful independent creative. Living in the heart of SE London for over 24 years, from a young age I grew an interest in following the small creative communities within my local areas, such as the in-house artists in Havelock Studios behind the glorious Canvas & Cream in Forest Hill.
I always thought to myself, how I could get there. Little did I know at the time, what and where the word ‘there’ actually meant? There is a different place for everyone, where they become lost and found by the process of making within one’s practice. Whether you’re an artist, maker, designer or independent business, we are all looking to make it, in one way or another, it’s just a question of time.
However, through the years of developing myself as an artist, a great deal has changed. And I’ve realised something, it’s not necessarily about the time, but it’s what you do with it and who you spend it with. How you can learn from someone else, who could also be learning from you.
After obtaining my degree, I spent no time when it came to the planning of my first show Visual Abstraction at Ladywell Gallery back in 2017, with friend and fellow artist Maciej J. This is when I began to consider my options, being new emerged blood in the creative industry; I wondered how I could attract audiences towards my work and one of those ideas was to network through collaborations.
Since then, alongside my full time job as a teaching assistant, I’ve been consistently working on rebranding myself, finding ways to make my practice visible. I began to try all sorts of things, but most particularly I spent a great deal of time developing my online presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Through this, I have built relationships with other local artists, makers and independent business owners within my area. All of which, I have come to know through the events I have hosted at various venues across London.
During the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking about the concept of community through collaboration. Looking at the recent and upcoming collaborations I’ve hosted and the relationships that have come of them. And exploring how we are able to develop ourselves as people and as practitioners through community. Tomorrow, I'll be starting with my exhibition last summer ‘Three Days Of Rain’ in July 2018, at Space at 61 owned by Shona Chambers.
Watch this space!
Written by Laura Hepworth
It's a new year and a new canvas, now I know there's the old saying plenty of people live by, "new year, new me".
However when reflecting upon my own movements it always brings me back to the same way I would look at the process that longs to a piece of art.
Each year we begin with a blank surface, the year starts us off with a fresh new canvas. Full of hope and promise for us to see through to the very end. Giving us time to make the risks and take chances we need as individuals to develop in our own journeys. In the same way a brush would travel across the canvas' surface. And throughout the year that same blank canvas now features a part of ourselves which communicates depth, tone and substance, to the layers we have gradually build upon and stripped back within each second, minute, and hour of each day of the year.
Now art and people have more in common than we let on, especially when layers are involved! Like paintings, we build on ourselves through personality, confidence (whether that's a inner confidence or not), we come in all shapes, size and colours.
Everyone is unique but what brings us all together in our diversity is our layers, you'll notice that the more layers you have, you will feel comfortable, happy even but most importantly safe in the paths you take throughout the year. In the same way a new layer of paint behaves on a dried surface of paint. However, you cannot have your highs without your lows and those can be revealed to us when we begin to strip those layers back to the blank canvas we began with, which can make us feel vulnerable and exposed to the feelings we are sometimes unable to say aloud.
Fear even, that the decisions we make won't always go the way we want them to, like that time you didn't get that job you so worked so hard for. Or like adding on just a bit too much black paint on top of your developed canvas and realising it may work and make the piece so much stronger than you first anticipated, or it may not have worked at all and leave you feeling all sorts of emotions, frustrated, angry, most of all, like you failed.
And of the many things we may feel in those moments of vulnerability, we will begin to identify what makes us really tick. What our strengths and weaknesses are and how each of those can be utilized in ways that rebuild and strip back the layers which are essential to making each of us, who we are.
We are all artists in a constant state of innovation to create, defining each step we take every minute of everyday in this new year. So let this year be your blank canvas and start marking out your next strokes of paint, and let's see where it takes you.
Written by Laura Hepworth
on Wednesday 2nd January 2019