Between the Art is a blog written by me, Poppy, which I began in November 2020.
This is the year that has seen far-reaching changes that none of us could have predicted, and for some this has developed a desire to change our own lifestyles and seek a new way of living that is balanced between work and play, colleagues and family, business and rest.
During this time, my creative exploration took on a new meaning. More and more I found myself seeking answers to my creative possibilities through connection with others and place, particularly with the surrounding natural world. Having experienced the solitude that came with lockdown and increased time to sit with myself and my creative work, the idea for this blog blossomed. As a multimedia artist, often working with a multitude of people in a multitude of different environments, I was craving these artistic collaborations once more.
How we work and where we work as artists often has a strong influence over our creative outcomes. The idea of place and connection to the environment around us, this notion of "sense of place," is something that intrigues me and is prominent in my work. Is there something that occurs between the place we situate ourselves in and the artwork that we produce? How does one influence the other? How does our practice evolve when the space around us changes? What does sense of place truly mean when we are creating?
Between the Art was born out of the desire to answer these questions. It allows us to connect with artists across all disciplines from around the world. Now more than ever, there is a need to be adaptable. By exploring each other's practices, taking ideas from the worlds of fine art, dance, movement, music, installation, we can learn how to navigate our own pathways and inspire creative change. I hope you find the blog as enjoyable and inspiring as it has been to create it!
Below, I answer some of the questions that will feature in the artist interviews over the coming months. Read on to find out more about my work and head to the About page for more information.
What is the main subject of your inspiration?
People and the natural world. For much of my work as a dancer and movement artist, it is the people who are moving with me that inspires what I create. Collaborating and bouncing ideas off one another in a studio is the best way for me to move away from what my mind and body already knows, and discover new ways of moving that I haven't explored before.
However, when I am working on my own, researching, writing, drawing and painting, the natural world is my source of inspiration. The people who may experience my work become an after-thought; their interaction comes about later.
Nature is full of discovery, providing an endless box of ideas stored in my brain! Having grown up surrounded by open skies, mountains, forests and the sea, I have a natural instinct that draws me back to looking at the world around me. Trees in particular are often captured in my work. I see them as these wonderful giants (although there are smaller ones too!) that demonstrate the full cycle of life every single year. At the time of writing this, it is Autumn, and the leaves are just beginning to turn and fall, signalling the start of the regeneration process, making way for the new life and growth that will occur the following year. This idea of regeneration is something all artists go through: we are constantly having to let go of creative thoughts to make way for bigger pieces of work that need space and time to grow.
How would you describe your creative process? Do you use certain mediums/techniques to develop your creative ideas?
An idea is usually sparked by something I have encountered whilst on a walk, during my commute, or in a book or magazine. I take time to visualise the outcome I want to create in my mind before exploring ideas in a sketchbook. Images tend to always come first followed by any accompanying words.
Improvisation has a strong part to play in any process I am working with. Although in my day-to-day life I need plans and timetables, my creativity is much more sporadic. When working in a studio, with movement, improvisation is often my starting point for exploring ideas that work and, more importantly, those ideas that don't work! I relish those moments when creativity just flows.
The idea of regeneration is something all artists go through: we are constantly having to let go of creative thoughts to make way for bigger pieces of work that need space and time to grow.
Do you have a favourite artist or creative individual? Who is up there in your esteem in terms of artistic excellence?
Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long were two of the first site-specific artists I encountered, and their impermanent art within the natural world was quite revolutionary at the beginnings of their work.
I also admire Rosemary Lee, a choreographer and dancer working with communities in outdoor locations to connect people and place through dance. Her piece Under the Vaulted Sky (2014) is beautiful.
What would your top piece of advice be for creatives navigating their way in the arts industry today?
Do your research and seek out opportunities to show your work to the world. The more opportunities you apply for, the more contacts you will gain, and in turn, your network within the industry will grow. Even if you think you may not have the skills yet, for a particular job for example, you may encounter someone who can help you on your journey.
Do you have a message that you hope to give to the world?
I hope to show people that connection is a powerful tool to help us realise how wonderful the natural world is. The more we are able to feel connected to this Earth, the more we will recognise the growing need for us as humans to give back, rather than take. Connecting people to the natural environment that surrounds them through art is an incredible way to help bring about this positive change.
All images artist's own.