Art Reveal Magazine no. 49

Page 42


Art Reveal Magazine

Exhale Performance

Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? For me, it is my own experiences of mental illness that influence and inform my practice most. I have lived with severe OCD, depression and anxiety for most of my life and so when it came to making art, these experiences seemed like the natural influence for making work. Most of my ideas come from simple daily tasks and the struggles I face when it comes to executing them. Acts as straight forward as physical contact with myself or others an cause extreme anxiety for me, and I have used these feelings to inform a whole body of work surrounding physical touch and intimacy using my body in performance. I also make work inspired by the rituals that are a part of my OCD as when researching performance art it quickly became clear that repetition and ritual are common themes in performance art, making a clear link between mental illness and performance art. Another huge influence on my practice was the time spent doing my Master’s degree in 2017 – I began the course as a painter, but the MA challenged me to reconsider what art could be, taking my practice into the world of performance art and pushing my own boundaries when combining life and art. I really do feel that I owe so much to the course and the tutors as my practice would definitely not be where it is today without the help and encouragement I received on the programme. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Whilst I absolutely love being an artist, it definitely comes with its fair share of challenges. For me, as a disabled/mentally

ill artist, I often face challenges when it comes to self-confidence, but I know this is something a lot of artists even without mental health problems struggle with. As artists we can be so self-critical and for myself, with such personal and intimate work, I can sometimes feel incredibly anxious about putting my work out there. However, I have learnt that despite having these crises of confidence, it is important to keep going and keep releasing my work into the world, after all, the criticism we might receive could be a catalyst for making new and more challenging work! In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe that art is a space in which ideas can be shared and discussions can be had about contemporary life. My art discusses contemporary attitudes towards mental illness and disability, and in turn my work can start conversations regarding important issues such as accessibility in the arts and financial/social struggles faced by vulnerable members of society. I think art in contemporary culture is an accessible way to talk about current social issues and get people thinking about issues they may not have otherwise considered. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Basingstoke, a commuter town just outside of London, and whilst the art scene here is quite small, it is packed with creative people and interesting independent projects. For the past five years I have worked with ‘THAT Gallery’, a pop up