The White Frame Series (2016) Colour pencils on paper 55 x 50 cm
After graduating with a 2:1 in Moving Image, the desire to make art, for art’s sake, had gone.
I felt like art had to have a purpose and I applied for a job where I could combine moving image with science communication. I didn’t get the job and became a bus driver instead for a while. Eight months after uni, something felt missing from my life and I decided to make a daily goal of drawing, without purpose for twenty minutes a day. As the drawings emerged, I decided to put them into a white photograph frame that has sixteen spaces for photos, which a friend gave me some time ago. Until I made the drawings I had displayed the frame with just a white backing sheet in there.
For the first drawing, I used a little A6 sketchbook and created a rule of using only three colours: yellow, green and blue. I started by sticking some bits of paper in the middle of the page. Another rule was that each colour segment had to touch both of the other two colours. I used colour pencils.
The second drawing started with an ‘angry’ eye and then layers grew around it, which seem to have biological things going on. I used Biro to make the boundary of the layers – I love making these uneven, thick black lines – and colour pencils for the rest. I think the eye is looking at something that we cannot see and I think it reflects an internal state of mind.
Next came Multitude of Eyes, which reflects the many different identities that I have. I used Biro and colour pencils again. I used two colours for each iris to try to create depth.
Rainbow was the fourth drawing. I drew the outline in Biro and then used coloured pencils to blend and leak the colours into each other; I set myself a task of learning to blend with this drawing and it worked. Because there’s so much detail, it took a few months to complete. I became quite obsessive with it, taking it out to continue drawing in cafes and pubs whilst meeting friends. It makes me think of the mind and all the twists and turns it can take – thoughts can be quite noisy and distracting. I like the rainbow hole in the middle – that’s like the ‘quiet learner’, safe part of my mind.
Next came Protection. I used red and black Biro only and the repetition in it was incredibly detailed. When I showed it to my therapist, she said the small white space in the middle made her think of little me. I called it Protection because it is a way of describing how my mind shielded the innocent part of me from bad things (albeit too late).
Trees was the next drawing, which was a practice in using colour. Changing a bit on the left changed how I felt about a bit on the right and I’d then need to adjust the bit on the right, which changed how I felt about a bit at the top, and so on. I went over each bit with different colours many, many times. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the end result but a few of my friends remark on it and say it’s their favourite. I think the process says a lot about my need to adjust things until they’re ‘just so’. There was more blending practice.
City was similar to Rainbow in that I used Biro to create outlines and colour pencils to fill in the gaps and blend. I think I really wanted to create something as striking as Rainbow but it falls short. Instead of starting City without purpose, I’d set out to create something visually stunning, whereas Rainbow was not intentional and just kind of happened as I kept drawing.
This drawing was created using red and black Biro. I feel like it’s connected to Protection. I enjoyed the small detailed sections and I like the effect of lots of things squashed into the spaces. It has a biological feel to it.
I was thinking about planets and AI a lot whilst making this drawing. It feels like there are two opposing entities. I started by drawing around a bottle lid in Biro, then used colour pencils to create the forces. They also have characteristics of eyes. There’s definitely a theme of watching or looking, which is not comfortable.
I drew this image after getting home from a festival and I think it reflects my experiences of travelling to and from the festival, as well as being there. I began playing with blending into white space. I was also reading articles about how fungi might save the world at the time.
Another eye. This one makes me think of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I enjoyed giving it a 3D effect, as much as that was possible with colour pencils.
A friend was talking about elements of surprise and I misheard: Elephants of Surprise. I made this for fun.
This is another way of depicting a trauma. There are two parts of my self involved. One is caught in the feelings and the other is shielded and can only see pretty colours swirling.
This image shows the perspective of the one who is shielded from trauma and can only see pretty colours swirling around, but there is some tiny awareness that something, somewhere else, is wrong. I really got to work on the blending with this drawing and I used colour pencils.