My solo show has finished *cries*. Without sounding super gushing and gross and like I'm accepting an Oscar or something...but it was such a wonderful experience, and kind of made me remember why I make art y'know? Positive responses from those in the 'creative industry' is always amazing but seeing how very young children became absorbed in the patterns and colours of my watercolours was simply delightful. The gallery is actually in a very 'commercial' part of Bristol opposite Harvey Nichols and the Apple Store and next to All Saints and an absolutely enormous shopping mall. At first this seemed strange, wrong even, however, when I thought about it this really was the perfect location for my work. Considering how much my work deals with the commodification of childhood it was so so fitting to be in a one minute walking distance from the Disney Store.
Here are a selection of photographs from the show, I have been a bit of obsessive archivist photographing absolutely everything:
Tip for Artists! If you want to induce tutting and appalled expressions from members of the public put creepy old children's stuff and evangelical Christian fliers in the window of a gallery! I genuinely had no idea that my art was so 'upsetting' to some people which fascinated me in a strange sort of way-documenting all the surprised and at times angered expressions of passers by was so absorbing. The saddest thing was watching parents drag past their young children who wanted to come in and have a look. Parents can really suck at times :'(
Sadly, this photograph doesn't quite capture how utterly grimy and gross this blackboard is. I found it, long forgotten, in my Wendy House and it really is the perfect medium for my 'pickled childhood' vibes.
Baby animal Christian stickers!!
Note Crayola stamp pens and totally bizarre plastic naked fairy babies
The imaginative interpretations of these works were so wonderful it seems wrong as 'the artist' to offer my own explanation of this series. They ended up acting as little mirrors, narcissistic pools of water to reflect each human beings persona story.
Obligatory sleep deprived photo of me in the gallery. On side note the rose jumper and floaty net skirt is currently my favourite outfit, it makes me feel like a Tim Burton character which is always a good thing!
'Two paintings from my family album, four paintings from my imagination'
Me looking uncomfortable next to my terrifying Mickey Mouse painting
Installing the works with nails worked really well, it seems to encapsulate the sense of my work as trapped specimens, taxidermy creatures or dead butterflies pinned into a display case.
I could say something deep about mediums and tactility but all I really want to say is 'omg pipecleaners!! I got away with using pipecleaners in a whitecube gallery!!' Wow, I'm such a loser.
Film Set 3
My co-curators from Don't Take Me Too Lightly had the awesome idea to recreate Mike Nelson's Arena 7 (Bears). Since then I can't stop think about installations of teddy bears, particularly Beanie Babies which are a deeply creepy and weird artefact of 90s Kinderculture. I made this piece to explore the awesome powers of that are toys hold for us when we are little. I put santa in the middle (I could talk about this flannel Santa forever but I am going to restrain myself!) as a kind of all powerful God, the highest figure of worship in the culture of Western childhood. The scrabble pieces elements is inspired by this picture from The Craft that I reblogged on tumblr as while back and has been knocking round my head ever since.
Miniature Beanie Babie Christmas Tree decorations (Jingle Beanie if you wanna get technical and use the Latin) are the epitome of everything that is so wrong/awesome about the bizarre corporate construction of childhood. I hung them below my artist bio thing in the show.
My cousin hung out with me in the show one day and we realised how self-serving and phony and egotistical and just eww comment books are in galleries so we wrote loads of super cheesy comments in my book. My favourite can be seen here which simply reads:
'The Imprisonment of Being a Girl' and 'Film Set 3' (Bold has stopped working, pretend the titles are still in bold okay?? Wow being a Syrian girl in the First World is SO HARD!)
'The Imprisonment of Being a Girl'
Fun Fact! This copy of Picasso's Dove of Piece was created Claudia Elfazanni Howat, the curatorial Wunderkind who co-curated our degree show at Central Saint Martins.
A boy of around three years old came into the show and fell in love with this piece. It was a total Kodak moment when he said 'Daddy I wanna make art like this girl' there should have been rousing music or something. It was so awesome.