Art and Ghosts
Up until the age of seven,
Art&Ghosts rather fancied that she was actually a small sycamore tree
instead of real person. Upon discovering that this was not so, Art&Ghosts
could not be consoled, however much her family sought to comfort her. After
twenty or so years of growing and forgetting, Art&Ghosts has unwittingly
endeavored upon a pilgrimage back to her roots (yes, roots), in an effort to
reclaim her arboreal state, her reserved place in nature.
An interview with Art and Ghosts...
Where are you based? How would you describe your studio?
I am based in the north of the UK in a small village just outside of Manchester. You would be right to suspect that we experience almost constant rainfall here - this summer has been impossible! Despite the grey skies, my workspace -a ground floor room - is rather light and airy and spacious, which isn't terribly necessary for the creation of digital work, but I think that surrounding your creative space with as much visual stimulation as possible can only be a thing. I like to surround myself with inspirational images, pinboards and the like, potted plants and various handmade goodies which I have collected over the years or which have been gifted to me via online artists and friends. At present, the potted plants are threatening to take over, and have claimed an entire table top to themselves. I actually prefer to relax around my work space far more than any other room in the house, so have added a sofa, a copious amount of cushions, my music system and a small laptop for viewing movies whilst I work. Above all, I love to work whilst listening to music. Almost all of my images have a connection to some piece of music or another, it tends to play such a huge part in the process of creation for me.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently creating a book cover and various illustrations for a french publishing company, to accompany a children's story concerning dreams. The work contains several characters taken from older pieces, such as 'Dulcimer' and 'Merryweather', and of course the recurring dapper rabbit! I have also recently completed my second project with the wonderful 'Daughters of History' for whom I illustrate the visual accompaniment for the female characters created by the writer/film director Sandra Goldbacher. This also involves designing the face for the dolls which are released alongside the books. Regarding more personal projects, I am currently plodding through my archives (from 2006 and beyond) in an effort to renew and update many older pieces which I haven't featured online for many years. This is always so exciting for me, because of how my technique has altered since first creating them. I am also about to begin a new work which involves a young girl playing the piano in a strange room populated with magical symbols and creatures.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I seem to create most of my works spontaneously, or at least without a great deal of planning, so dreams and the unconscious play quite a large part in their development, as I often only begin to understand or develop a narrative for the images one they are completed. Almost all of my works contain a story, a narrative, so I tend to perceive them as the visual equivalent of the stories I many never write. Music, film and literature inform my work far more than the visual arts, so my greatest influences tend to come from these sources - Angela Carter, Jan Svankmajer, David Lynch, Russian animation, The Brothers Quay, etc. I am also very fond of dolls and puppets, and prior to digital painting/illustration I used to utilise photographs of ball jointed dolls to make collage and photomontage. I especially love the Japanese/Korean doll artists, which have continued to inspire me since I first began using the internet. And as for the 'Ghosts', although I am fascinated by the supernatural, my personal ghosts are more concerned with the the haunting quality of dreams, memory and childhood.
Can you tell us if there is a story behind one of your artworks?
There are always stories! my favourite piece for LaLaLand would probably be 'Initiates' . The story here involves three young sisters celebrating a birthday party which concerns a curious ritual designed by the eldest sibling. The girls live in a little seaside town called Rye with their grandmother and a friendly red fox, and their garden stretches all the way down to the ocean (lucky things!). The youngest sister has just turned 7 years old, and has been given a golden key by her grandmother, which becomes an integral part of their secret ritual. The image basically tries to illustrate the often strange yet wonderful fantasies which children create, yet often lose the memory of when they are older. There is also a hint of sibling rivalry here, for the elder sister is possibly a little bit jealous of the golden key!
If you were an animal/colour/object - what would you be?
Oh, I should have to be a bright blue bird with transparent wings, eternally optimistic and free to travel far and wide. I might also choose to become a faerie changeling which might take many forms... the bright blue bird, perhaps, or a sleek black cat belonging to an enchanted prince.