I’m a visual artist who uses painting and drawing to explore small freedoms, and record and reflect on everyday life. My painting has explored ideas of utopia and finding a place to belong through interpreting in paint subjects like the British rave scene, female goth and punk subcultures, body building, and Instagram machete fetishists.
Recently my work has looked at my own cultural heritage and examined my direct environment – my family, the landscape near my home in Leeds, domestic objects and settings, as well as images I encounter from my everyday online existence – as I think about social acceptance and human relationships. Finding myself a working class heritage person in a middle class lifestyle I think about my upbringing and how it contrasts with my expectations and experiences for life now. I ask myself where am I from, and where am I going, and what kind of world is it for my child?
What links these areas of research is the examination of the human need for security, in a group situation amongst others like them. By standing out from the crowd as say, a heavily muscled body builder or a back-combed goth, one may show your allegiance to those who value physical strength and mental discipline, or who have rebellious, romantic souls.
Our increasingly secular Western society causes people to put faith in humanity itself and the creation of joy and transcendence through art and culture. We can also escape into pop culture and social media or by finding groups of others to bond with. The physical objects around us we must question – are they viable in an age of environmental instability?
Painting is a way to look outwards and inwards, thinking about my past and future whilst being in the present. I am wrapped in the adventure of painting and recording and interpreting the world around me. We all have our own mythologies, and my paintings are saying ‘This is what I’ve noticed; the people and things I think are important. I exist, they exist. Think about us and think about why these things exist, and question if we still want them.’
CV and Gallery – on axisweb
Ask the Artist – Read my interviews with artists at helenaskstheartists.wordpress.com
I have curated exhibitions of my own and others’ art, and I’m currently studying for an MA in Curation Practices at Leeds Arts University. As part of my course I am keeping a reflective journal in the form of a blog – so if you are interested in that it’s https://rethinkingcurating.wordpress.com