My Soul Has an Itch | My Itch Has a Soul

My art practice is an exploration of small moments in time that say a lot. In the act of painting these moments of daily life we experience, I am opening up the space to have conversations around such topics as gender expression, race, female liberation and differing power dynamics that exists between our communities. I have adopted the use of pattern and repetition as tools to create images that dilutes your attention across the canvas, creating a tension recognisable to individuals in such situations. I am interested in creating a contrast, that are equally desirable and uncomfortable.

As a third culture kid whose identity was stretched across three different continents, the world never appeared black and white to me, instead too many shades of grey. At the age of 8, I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and panic attacks. But it wasn’t until I was 15 that I ever heard anyone other than my doctor mention those words again. Within my work you will find my musings on growing up with anxiety as well as questions around identity.

The world we find ourselves in now is incredibly complex, there are contradictions and contrasts wherever you look, for example; the internet simultaneously connects people while making them feel isolated in their problems, at the same time telling them that they are not and everyone feels lonely. As well as the overwhelming bombardment of media, information and of things to care, no, to worry about – a good yoga routine, eating ancient grains, answering endless emails, global warning, mental health, rigged elections, fake news, 24 hour news coverage and on and on and on. This leads to a generation of anxious and depressed people, myself not being exempt from this. However there are amazing parts of living in this time also, you can pull 14 different flavours of frozen yoghurt out of the wall in a store, one can change the light scheme in the room with the click of a button on their phone and you can collaborate with artists on the other side of the world. It is the balance of the gruesome and amazing that I wish to capture in my work.

My love of portraits is deep. I love how you can connect to a painting so immediately through a portrait, it’s like reading a whole story of a person by just looking at a painting. Skin and bodies and phycology and the way in which we present ourselves to the world are fascinating so creating these elements on a canvas is just magic to me. I find the experience of painting a portrait very intimate; it feels like spending a lot of time that with person. During the painting process I tend to spend of it going through my memories of that person, thinking about our relationship and trying to analyse what has made the person who they are, how they identify with the wider world. Due to this, I mostly paint portraits of people I am close to, people who typically I am missing at the time. I draw from photos I take, my camera is often on me to snap portraits of my loved ones (these is what I think of as my ‘selfish art’). Drawing from my own photo is integral to the process, I want to create the image from start to finish, for it to be my translation of that person to canvas. Portraiture, for me, is not about creating an accurate looking portrait, I tend to let my hands search for the persons form while still allowing them freedom to enjoy the creating process. This is very important as the portrait is my representation of them, it is my aim to translate their presence into a painting, not recreate the photo.

I believe art needs to be democratised for the people. It is of upmost importance to me that my work is interesting and welcoming to those inside and outside of the art sphere. Very aware of how art spaces can be intimidating for many I aim create work which is relatable and recognisable to all, attempting to combine inspirations from the every day, relatable scenarios, fashion, advertising etc.. This is not only so that galleries can feel more approachable but also so non-art people are interested in living domestically with art which inspires them.