Janette Parris

And we are back again with the Wednesday artist talks. This week, I have to admit, was quite relaxing, as I didn’t have to speed walk half way across campus in order to get in the room! Today we had a talk from Janette Parris, who was described to us in our emails as;

a contemporary artist who uses the everyday as the basis for much of her work. She works across different media including: drawing, animation, and performance (musical and theatre). She creates strongly narrative work, often in the form of comic strips to capture the humorous essence of life, while reflecting a dry and self-effacing look at the world.

Source: weekly art emails, quoted from artreview.com

She was also described as;

‘The London-born, Goldsmiths-trained ex-painter has been transforming galleries into comfortable interiors where visitors can relax and watch her fun-sized soap operas. Each of these 5 to 10 minute episodes pairs an actor with a doll in a one-way conversation taken from their secret affair, divorce or first date. Both funny and ridiculous they also imply a ‘me’ society where self-indulgence has spoiled communication. ‘Bite Yer Tongue’ is a hand-written record of incidents in which the artist’s polite, tactful replies to disappointments and humiliations contrast with the cutting remarks she thinks but doesn’t say. Each tale of bottled-up anger ends with junk food eaten to make up for missed satisfaction. Parris also draws cartoons of ‘Plank’, a piece of wood in search of a personality. ‘Plank’ turns up as a misfit in various everyday scenes and could describe the feeling of being an outsider.This timely storyteller with her family of dysfunctional characters will amuse and provoke wherever she shows’.

Source: weekly art emails, quoted from peckhamplatform.com

Janette described herself to us as a multidisciplinary visual artists who works in multiple medium including cartoon, film and comics. She described some of her themes as those of learning, and the perception of success and failure. As we saw throughout the talk, her artwork often took the form of narrative in the form of comic strips. Plank was one of these. She uses a drawing tablet (one of those that plugs into the computer) and uses Illustrator and other software in order to create her animations.

Bite Yer Tongue is not a form of comic strip, and yet is still a form of Janette’s narrative. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any examples online of these really quite funny texts, but if I do find any in the future, I will be sure to let you know! The series of pieces that make up Bite Yer Tongue also looked at topics that aren’t often talked about.These not only were interesting to read, but also took the reader on a meaningful journey, before bringing them back down to earth by mentioning food, like a tub of Häagen-Dazs (admittedly making it even more comical).

Janette looked at even more mediums and adventured her way into sitcom. She mentioned that she wanted to make something longer and with more depth and detail to it. This led to the invention of Fred’s – a very simplistic animation with muffled speech and plenty of background noise to mimic the café. Some of the things that the characters talked about in the small clip that we were able to see included;

  • ‘… made gatecrashing an art form…’
  • ‘… art on display is rubbish…’
  • Talks about art like it is the weather – very casually and without much thought. It is just a conversation starter and a space filler.
  • The stereotypical art collector art art dealer looks and mistaking artists for interior designers (move the furniture so it is messy in order to make art).

These made me think about what people outside the art community thought about art and how also they viewed it, especially art movements such as confessional art and contemporary art. However, before I could think too deeply into this, we were whisked into the world of musicals.

Janette decided to create a musical. If You Love Me. (As soon as I heard this title, I have to admit that I immediately thought of Beyoncé’s song ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’.) This is more of a simple piecing together of a musical as she only wrote the narrative, but used popular songs to break it up. The story-line is about six graduates with a love triangle in the middle. Janette, I am happy to say, did go on to write her own songs for her later musicals.

What came next was Arch Comic. This was developed at the end of a Cocheme Fellowship based in Byam Shaw School of Art. Janette had this as the beginning of ‘socially engaged’ comics involving interviewing the local people. The inspiration was drawn from Harvey Peaker in American Splinter who wrote comics and got famous American artists to do the drawing for him. Janette also mentioned that for her it is a cross between Hello magazine and the Daily Mash (online).

‘1940’s high birth rate due to nothing on TV’

She deliberately used simplified drawing, for reasons that I cannot remember. For me, the simplified drawings allows the readers attention to drift towards the heading and not to get distracted from the information at hand. The headlines were also often one-liners with minimal text used on the rest of the page. This again, would help attention and decrease distraction.

Based on the Arch Comics, Janette started an online comic in which she asked all her arty friends to help. It was £50 to sponsor an edition, for a portrait and you would be on the front cover (please don’t quote me on that as the information is from memory. Please see the website for details). These, like the physical copies, were often comical but raise very important points. I managed to get a hard copy of an online edition (see photos at the end of the post) which is always very exciting, especially as it is the 2014 exclusive edition.

After this, Janette returned to animated sitcom while specifically looking at the reference of failure, aptly named Talent. Within this, there is the direct references to comedy, sitcom and stand-up comedy. This was shown in Rude Britannia in the Tate.

As a small side note, video ringtones were made by Janette herself. She mentioned that rather than continually use songs, she decided to learn to play the guitar, to allow to make up more of her own songs. The very first one was a rendition of Wonderwall by Oasis, however this project allowed her to lead on to the next one.

Songs In The Key Of Real Life. These were live performance as part of The Art Party Conference 2013 in Scarborough. Here, the guitar was played and she wrote original protest songs and performed live herself. These songs as well were very site specific, with one that was written about location of Deptford X Festival 2014. Many people, rather funnily, thought that the band were religious and so clearly did not listen to the lyrics.

Janette was also using site specific artworks and songs in the Museums at Night exhibition 2014. This was a live performance musical using artefacts in the museum for the songs content. It was interesting in the way that they did the exhibition because instead of the artefacts, you were faced with an artists interpretation of the artefact.

Lastly, Broadway Stories is another site specific artwork, this time in the form of an animation. Janette curated the show but also made this animation about the thoughts (of the exhibition) from the local people on the nearly high street.

Overall, Janette Parris is a very interesting character with lots to say and many mediums of artwork to say it in.

Source: a printed version  of the exclusive edition September 2014 (which is now mine)

Additional sources: Vimeotrucearts.org

Joseph Kosuth


Please prepare yourself…

So for every piece of conceptual artwork (for every idea), the artist basically can go and make that, or they don’t have to. it is literally as simple as that.

What isn’t simple is the question; What is a chair? This would make more sense if you look at the work of Joseph Kosuth in 1965.


Source: Joseph Kosuth, Chair, 1965

This can lead to a whole essay from me about which one is the chair, but don’t worry, if I do that not only will I warn you, but I will save it for another post, just so you can skip through it if you wish! But seriously, which chair is the real chair or the most accurate description for a chair? The physical one, the photo or the definition. A lot of people do not choose the photograph as it is very static and never changes. You cannot use it either, however chairs are not supposed to change and warp, just like a photograph. On the other hand, you have the real chair. This can be used, walked around and physically touched. For both the photo and the physical chair, this is one type of chair. Think about all the different types of chairs you’ve seen, used, had in your lifetime. Not all chairs look like this do they? And then lastly there’s the definition. And yet again, do all chairs fit into this definition? I’m sat on one of those office chairs as I type this and I’m pretty sure that is not under the standard definition of the chair. So my question to you is the same question that Kosuth asks his viewers; which is the chair?


Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo is incredibly well known for her confessional work. Frida was ill and bedridden for the majority of her life, and used artwork, specifically painting, to confess how she felt about all of this. One of these paintings is the ‘Broken Column’, which is a 1944 oil on board painting, 39.8cm x 30.6cm. For this piece she shows her spinal surgery, and the way in which she is trying to self heal herself, even though the wounds will always be open and there.


Source: The Broken Column

My Birth, another piece by Frida, shows her giving birth to herself. Above the scene on the bed, a painting of her grandmother, or the Virgin Mary, hangs on the wall, overlooking. This scene is not pretty either, Frida paints what childbirth is like with all the blood and other juices. Before this painting, her mother had recently died and she had a miscarriage. Both of these themes can be seen in this confessional art piece.


Source: My Birth

A piece that is connected to this is The Arrival by Louise Bourgeois, made out of glass, wood and stainless steel. Compared to Frida’s work, the dimensions of this work is 142.2 x 61 x 50.8cm. Sadly, Louise only became well known for her work when she was 75 years old, but still continued her profession into her 90’s.


Source: MOMA – The Arrival

Other pieces by Frida Kahlo


Source: Roots


Source: The Wounded Deer


Source: Without Hope

Confessional Art

[Walks into lecture and rocks out to some Beyoncé]

Confessional art is something we actually all know about – especially if you’ve heard any pert of Beyoncé’s new album, Lemonade, which describes her confession about how Jay-Z cheated on her. (And also, it is a pretty damned good album.) Beyoncé – Hold Up – YouTube

*If I’m totally honest, I’m just going to throw some artists that I learnt about out there and some of them you many have no clue about how they are connected to confessional art. But that is okay, everyone feels confused about art at some point in their lives.*

The definition that is ‘commonly’ used is;

Confessional art is a form of contemporary art that focuses on an intentional revelation of the private self. Confessional art encourages an intimate analysis of the artist’s, artist’s subjects’, or spectators confidential, and often controversial, experiences and emotions. Confessional art emerged in the late 20th century, especially in Great Britain, and is closely associated with autobiographical visual arts and literature.

Source: Confessional Art Definition

I hope to bend this definition, and the definition that which you may personally hold, just as our Monday presentation did with my perception of confessional art.

Confessional art is normally about violence against women, pregnancy and miscarriage. But why? We spoke as a group and decided that; it makes you feel like a part of a bigger group, to make yourself vulnerable, drawing attention, getting things off of your chest, and connection. I have highlighted three particular definitions that the group came up with, as these are some things that I haven’t previously thought of, and these caught my ear the most. If I were you, I would keep them in the back of your mind, just as I did, when reading through the rest of this post.

Sophie Calle produced two pieces of confessional artwork, the first of which I an unsure of the name of it. This piece is about how she asked 100 women to translate and interpret a ‘love letter’ (I’ve put this in inverted commas and you will understand if you read the English translation). There were psychologists and those who looked at grammar, and just women who interpreted it in their own individual way. This allowed a connection to other women that were experiencing the same situation, or have felt those emotions described in the letter. Interesting. Expressive. Emotional.


Sources: Sophie CalleSophie Calle (1)Sophie Calle (2)Sophie Calle (3)Sophie Calle (4)

Sophie Calle also did another piece which I find a little strange, and really quite personal. She shows a video of the last moments of her mothers life, or as some may interpret it, the first moments of her mothers death. I am unsure as to why it, so say, freaks me out. To me, it’s just a bit weird to show the public this very private moment of not only your own life, but your own mothers life – presumably a woman of whom Sophie was very close to. It also, for me, raises questions of whether her mother would have wanted this. (Unfortunately I cannot find a copy of this video online.) This piece also raised questions for what Sophie Calle is trying to confess. Is it something to do with her relationship with her mother? Or perhaps it is about life and death?

Contemporary art has been described as ‘other art’ before, because some don’t take it seriously. However, more descriptive, more appreciative words can also be used (which are words that I like);






This leads on to the discussion within confessional art of ‘the person is the political’. This came around in 1970’s feminism when personal lives started to become politics. Caroline Hamish (and other women were also involved) were criticised for just having a conversation about their lives in meetings because many people didn’t believe what they did; that the personal is political. This is also all different depending on what race, gender, and sexuality we are, because people view us differently according to these things. Making confessional artwork in the first person can counteract this and make the piece more powerful.

Carolee Schneeman made her powerful statement with her 1975 performance of Interior Scroll. [I do not advise watching the performance if you look for it because even the photos are pretty shocking, even if you do have a lot of curiosity.] This piece is incredibly confrontational and

the text was taken from a super 8 film Schneeman had begun in 1973 entitled Kitch’s Last Meal. It recounts a conversation with ‘a structuralist film-maker’ in which the artist sets intuition and bodily processes, traditionally associated with ‘woman’, against traditionally ‘male’ notions of order and rationality. Critics originally identified the male figure as the filmmaker Anthony McCall (born 1946), who was Schneemann’s lover between 1971 and 1976.

Source: Tate – Schneeman


Source: Caroline SchneemanCaroline Schneeman (1)

Tracey Emin also went for the controversial with her 1995 piece of ‘Why I Never Became a Dancer’. In this, she described that she hated as school and so at 13, she left and hung around cafes. All summer she had nothing to do but dream and have sex. There were no morals or rules or judgements. She was able to do what she wanted to do. She was being used as an escape, so she used dance as hers. This did backfire on her when at a dance competition she was singled out in her performance when most of the ‘lads’ she’d had sex with, were shouting out ‘slut’. She therefore could never escape the place that she wanted to escape from. This piece also shows revenge elements as she names some of those people she slept with in the video in order to name and shame those elders who had sex with a minor, a 13 year old. Tracey Emin is also known for her pieces named ‘My Bed’ and ‘The Tent’. Interestingly, My Bed did include a noose, however when Saatchi bought the piece, this part was taken away. Did this take away some of the confession of Emin’s confessional artwork?

Both of the pieces, Interior Scroll and Why I Never Became a Dancer both have double standards of being a woman. For example, Emin was a ‘slut’ but those who slept with her slept with a 13-year-old. Let’s think about that for a minute…

Confessional art has also been made as part of Hannah Black’s MA in the form of the 2014 video, ‘The Neek’. Within this piece there are discussions of family, patriarchy and mixed race. There are also elements of talk of communism. It has be said, which is very clear if you watch this particular piece, is that you would have a different relationship to the work depending on your personal relationship with the artist. So for example, I had no idea who this artist was, and so I interpreted this piece differently to those who had heard of this artist, and who had seen her works previously. Along with the audio, there were images of different parts of the neck, and ovals which would often be layered, and also appear on different parts of the neck. As a group, we came up to several thoughts as to why this was; venn diagrams / representation / what if it is a painting, the ovals are completely separate from the neck and would be more distinct in the painting / representation of the drawing talked about / draws attention about the neck / when talking about things, that’s where her neck gets warm.

Caspar Heinemann takes a slightly different approach to confessional art. Their piece (that IS intentional – you will see in a second) is a 2015 video of ‘Angry Contingent Gender Poem’ (Caspar’s Tumblr Blog: http://angstravaganza.tumblr.com/). This raises the question for the viewer, before even watching the video, of what is gender? In 2016 we don’t really know the true answer to that but we would relate it to the male and the female. The social construct. However, some people don’t feel like they belong in these categories, and there is a lot of prejudgements with these categories that are made.

As I used, Caspar uses ‘they’ pronouns. This is because she isn’t male nor female. Do you have to be? The video also looks like a very personal thing for something but they couldn’t say it publicly, which makes it a very relatable piece. It is also filmed in what looks like a bedroom – again, making it very relatable. Their words that are spoken are full of emotion and passion, but they are spoken in a monotone. Is the monotone the way that they find people talk to them about gender? Does the monotone represent their judgement of gender; they don’t care? There is also no eye contact with the camera or the viewer, which contradictory makes it more personal and impersonal at the same time.

Moving onto Derek Jarman and his piece ‘Blue’, created in 1993. This is a piece made from a 35mm film which has been transferred to a digital file, to add colour and sound. The duration is 75 minutes. A few months after making this, he died of AIDs, in a time where a lot of people in the art community were dying. However, at the point that he made this piece, he was loosing his eyesight. The piece, although it is about the course of the illness for Derek Jarman, is very anonymous, as he uses no images and actors were speaking. This was not image heavy, unlike all the previous confessional artworks that have been looked at in this post. This allows it to link to the subject matter of going blind. The audio, or the video, also described the lives and deaths of friends that he had who also died of the disease. Sometimes within the piece, it is almost as if he is talking out loud rather than specifically talking to someone else. This piece confesses the struggle and the life that you live with AIDs, very much to the last few moments.

Nan Goldin also did a very emotional and powerful piece of ‘Nan One Month After Being Battered’, a 1984 photography piece. This is also part of a slide show and book in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.

Nan one month after being battered 1984 by Nan Goldin born 1953

Source: Tate – Nan

This piece has been within the conversation of queer – a queer being defined as differentiated people who are bisexual, gay, transsexual, lesbian, those who like someone like this, and those who are not of the social norm. An insult. Within this piece, she does not hide the fact that she is bruised. In fact, she looks like she is just about to go out with lipstick and jewellery on, but no make up to cover the marks. This piece is very confrontational, strong, striving, explicit and visceral. She is staring straight at the camera, as if to say she is not afraid. This piece, like the Caspar Heinemann piece, is very relatable due to the low tech and low budget production.

Frida Kahlo is incredibly well known for her confessional work. Frida was ill and bedridden for the majority of her life, and used artwork, specifically painting, to confess how she felt about all of this. One of these paintings is the ‘Broken Column’, which is a 1944 oil on board painting, 39.8cm x 30.6cm. For this piece she shows her spinal surgery, and the way in which she is trying to self heal herself, even though the wounds will always be open and there.


Source: The Broken Column

My Birth, another piece by Frida, shows her giving birth to herself. Above the scene on the bed, a painting of her grandmother, or the Virgin Mary, hangs on the wall, overlooking. This scene is not pretty either, Frida paints what childbirth is like with all the blood and other juices. Before this painting, her mother had recently died and she had a miscarriage. Both of these themes can be seen in this confessional art piece.


Source: My Birth

A piece that is connected to this is The Arrival by Louise Bourgeois, made out of glass, wood and stainless steel. Compared to Frida’s work, the dimensions of this work is 142.2 x 61 x 50.8cm. Sadly, Louise only became well known for her work when she was 75 years old, but still continued her profession into her 90’s.


Source: MOMA – The Arrival

Another couple of confessional pieces that are inspirations are;

Mary Kelly, Post Partum Document, 1975, where she documents her child’s first 6 years in detail, from nappy analysis, to how she felt about childcare that day.

Chris Klaus, I Love Dick, 1997, New York: semictexte

Travis Alabanza and Live Wynter at Late at Tate 2016 — Late at Tate – YouTube

Tracey Emin’s artworks are often provocative, raw and emotional, drawing on experiences from her personal life, from her sexual history, abuse and abortion to gender and relationships.  Performance artists Travis Alabanza and Liv Wynter have collaborated on a poetic response to Emin’s My Bed exploring some of these themes.

Travis Alabanza is a Black, queer, non binary performance artist who uses live poetry, visuals and sound to create art centred around race, gender and class.  Liv Wynter is a queer female artist who uses an anarchic and punk exploration of language, rap and poetry performance to bring attention to issues such as trauma, recovery, abuse, sexual violence and identity to challenge the idea of intimacy and without compromise.

Source: Late at Tate – What’s on

PLEASE NOTE that all of the artists that have been talked about in this post, all but two were female. Is this because there are more things women can confess about? Or are men not taken seriously in confessional art? Or are there simply more women making confessional art?

Just something for you to think about.

Thursday Exhibition Opening

And so it happens! Our first art exhibition as a Year 1 Art (and Psychology) student! It of course featured free wine, coke, orange juice and crisps. It was so nice to see everyone’s up on the wall after some incredibly hard work was done. For those who don’t know, our year is split into two groups depending on which day we get taught the Studio module. For us this year, it is the Monday group (my group) and the Thursday group (our enemies in this particular battle). I do have to be incredibly biased in this situation, however, and say that the Monday group definitely won this battle… And yet the war continues!

(Photos in order of; Thursday group, Monday group, Thursday Group, Monday group.)

Dawn Mellor

Before we begin, I must be brutally honest and say that I definitely preferred the way that Liv Wynter delivered her art presentation, and yet I still enjoyed the talk by Dawn Mellor because of her clear level of passion behind her artwork and herself.

Dawn was at the Royal College for MA in Art when she got a gallery representation. She didn’t have space nor money and so quickly had to move to a larger gallery. She didn’t understand the system that she was in but it changed her and her work to what it is about now.

She made a large series of small figure paintings of various public figures which was satirical to the national gallery. She created a character that was influenced by the media – magazines etc – which added further impact to her artwork and also influenced her own studio space. Dawn had to learn on the job how galleries worked and found very quickly how to irritate collectors and galleries so they were not able to select one or two of the works she created, or the value of the pieces would be lost.

Economically, her paintings weren’t selling. She was told for one of her exhibitions that she would have a two year warning but ended up with only a six week one. This was the realisation that she was a gallery filler. For this exhibition she used Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as a satirical terrorist (as there was a lot of terrorism in the states at that time). Regan from The Exorcist was her girlfriend – lesbians and bisexuality being something that many Americans were against. This exhibition resembled that the devil can affect you rather than coming from within. Both of the characters – Dorothy and Regan – are ‘old-time’ American icons. She also used war time sights within these paintings to add to the satirical effect.

Another series of paintings named ‘Freeze’ was a set of painting that were going against the collector market. Dawn was told that she could make a body of paintings inspired by someone who has been economically successful in art. She completely and utterly went against this and did, what else, but zombies. These, as Dawn found surprising, sold well, but some people took it as an assault on the women who are in the paintings. Although she does not deny this, she was initially focusing on attacking the society of which these ladies came from rather than the ladies themselves. The fact that these paintings sold well was problematic for her because they were so popular and the gallery wanted more because they were so. She further resisted with paintings.

On a quick side note, Dawn admits that you often have to understand the context of the paintings and portraits, which are often from films, to understand some of the paintings that she has created.

She was pushed into the next gallery even though she had incredibly bad instincts about it (turns out she was correct and the man who runs the gallery still owes her money now).She did a collection here of ‘The Conspiratists’. This was attempt to make a resistance of the ‘yourself’ and to be more of a collectivist community again. Dawn created a theatre or horror narrative which was easily understandable so then everyone could get the message that she was trying to put across. There was a narrative throughout this series of paintings to create an aggressive and irrative gallery. This was also increased by the positions of the paintings as no matter what position you place them in a gallery, it is ensured that the works will be looking at each other.

Dawn found out that she was expected to make money to fund the other artists who’s edgier work doesn’t sell and so she found she needed to make her work ‘worse’ to break this. In the artist talk in particular, she also mentioned how she finds that painting is stuck. There are endless statements of intention, interaction and to push painting towards the public but they do not fund the artist. As it no longer ‘ticks the boxes’ for art, there is no funding for painters.

Paranoia, anxiety, and being under attack – Dawn is self-mocking in her own space. This gives a psychological impact on her as she works in this space ever day. By using satire in her work, she is able to escape this. The narrative of her work and herself changes as the dialogue as the time changes. She has been called everything from pervert to lesbian and homosexual. This has greatly influenced her artwork.

The left the galleries that she was at in order to break free. This is where she met Andrew Hunt where he showed some of her work. This was in 2014, in a space above a library. (Warning: some of the facts here may not be correct as I could not find the corrections online and I was busy writing to collect all the details!) This was based on Helen Muran who was depicted as two maids based on The Maids by Jene. Helen often paid the Queen in movies and TV shows. There was sexual frustration as they made no release when they killed Madame.  Throughout this, Dawn was thinking about class and used Helen as a vehicle for this. There has to be a responsibility for the roles in which artists and actors choose. This work, however, unlike many others of Dawn’s, still functions even if you do not understand the text. Dawn did feel like getting a show in a library, especially the library of the place you came from, is the epitome for a local artist.

After that, she made the artwork that she wanted to do, which made the point that she wanted to make. There were various portraits of characters in different positions of an art gallery. These, somewhat like the library exhibition., were based on women who are in film who played the maids. Dawn found that with these artworks, she wanted to break away from the pristine, white artworks that are traditionally hung in galleries. This series of paintings were shouting that people with the most power to speak about topics were not speaking up. The women painted were from various decades, and some were famous faces, whereas some of the women were only in one film from twenty years ago or so. Within the art gallery itself, the man had no money and so dawn managed to write her own press release – something that is a little rare for artists to be able to do these days.

Dawn critiques art galleries, through that series of work, and generally, who are taking advantages of young artists and interns and the fact that the galleries often want limited free edition prints which they can sell of and make money from, without anything going to the artists themselves.

She was told to paint ‘beautiful’ people (socially), but the women that she paints aren’t always seen as beautiful, even though she found them so. This was found to be problematic. Dawn also paints and uses icons of individualism into a left-wing technique. In one of her paintings, all the characters painted are Regan from The Exorcist and all the lyrics used were from Madonna songs.

The process of developing paintings is also quite unique in some ways. At the moment, Dawn admits to lifting a portrait from the internet, from magazines as she is being lazy. She makes simple portraits and then over time works on top of them. She used an example of recently where she had painted policemen and cops. One night, she came home hungover and in that moment understood what she was doing and began working on them. Dawn also added that she often waits for an angry day to do the destructive parts of the painting.

For other research and articles;

Studio Voltaire

Hunger TV

The Guardian


Sources: DorothyDawn MellorDawn Mellor (1)Dawn Mellor (2)Helen MirrenAudrey HepburnDorothy (1)

Liv Wynter 

Every Wednesday around midday, we receive a talk from an artist. This week, we were greeted by Liv Wynter

…a queer working class female artist working and living in South London. Through her anarchic and punk exploration of language, rap and poetry, Liv uses sharp wit and home truths teamed with uncompromising honesty to create discussions around class, sexuality, gender, recovery from violent relationships and rebuilding yourself post trauma. Liv’s work is socially and politically demanding, and her practice sets her apart from others using text based work due its relentless and unapologetic demand to be acknowledged. Liv’s ability to wear her heart on her sleeve and leave her metaphors at the door means her work is extremely accessible. This allows her to move from established art institutions to youth clubs, community centres, to protests with ease but also raw conviction. Liv uses emotive language without fear and embraces ideas of hysteria as a subversive way to tackle capitalist and patriarchal ideas of how women should behave.

Liv’s driving force is creating community and using art practice to empower and energise marginalised groups, particularly young working class people and people dealing with trauma surrounding sexual violence. Her practice takes on any forms, and although it is rooted in performance, she considers skill sharing and workshops to be a vital part of ensuring the performances have a long lasting and progressive after effect. Her work is as ,uch about the communities that amalgamate together around it as the actual thing – be it a poem, a workshop or a political occupation. Due to outreach being such an important part of Liv’s work, she is often trying to question how we can bring into the gallery those that feel excluded from it. Liv believes the gallery should be an active community space. Liv’s involvement with political organisations and voluntary community projects further demonstrate her dedication to making sure she is putting into practice the things she preaches.

Source: Information email received before the lecture

(Apologies if this is a little ‘bitty’ – it was sometimes difficult to take the most important notes as there was so much that she said, that I felt I needed to write!)

Liv graduated with a BA in Fine Art, last year from Goldsmiths, and only started to begin writing in the second term of year 3 (so only just over a year ago). Before this, she was doing fabrics, but quickly turned to the alter ego of a rapper. Liv sold empty CD cases, fake shirts and advertised gigs that weren’t happening. Going into year three, on top of this she had a 50 hour job in order to support herself. However, she also had her escape of writing, and writing, and writing, wherever and whenever she could – even on the bus.

Liv felt, and still feels now, that her purpose is to go into spaces that everyone is accountable of. This happened with ‘Don’t Flop’, a very racist and sexist environment (Pedro vs Liv Wynter Don’t Flop Rap Battle). It is a very tense battle (Please watch!) and Pedro attacks Liv for being, well, female, and Liv throws this back in his face – along with a lot of weed.

She is also a survivor of domestic violence, something that comes across in a lot of her work, including Rated R and Body Apologies. She uses aggressive vulnerabilities in her work for her points to come across clearer and stronger. She has also been inspired by ‘He chose stars…’ (I think?) and read this in relation to her body and her. The point she made about this was that on YouTube, she never uploaded a video of herself and yet there is 3,470 results when you search up her name.



Source: livwynterisaheadfuck.tumblr.com

This was a series of one-to-one performances over Skype, every night for a month. (Again, I think) It is a story about seeing someone in a pub and not being able to leave. This was 31 shows with 4 people that she knew, then other from around the world, from LA to London. Only these people and Liv Wynter have heard ‘Head Fuck’, as she did the whole campaign on her own. It was performed everywhere and anywhere, in all manners of states, including in a toilet, or while being drunk. She did it in exchange for money, artwork and someone even bought her dinner. The whole idea toys with the idea of being untraceable after being all over the internet. Only the tumblr website now exists.

With the Royal Academy, she hated the show they put on (New Contemporaries) and what it stood for – you have to be part of the show in order to continue into the arts and be ‘great’ in the art community. Liv “ended up in a load of bullshit” doing things she didn’t want to do. She just wanted the YEAH moment. To fight back against the Royal Academy show, she travelled to Liverpool and did a group of shows with the theme of ‘How Much Are They Paying You’. This was free workshops and shows to fight back against the New Contemporaries as you had to pay to get in there and the Royal Academy would give you no money to stay, or travel in London to stay with the exhibition. She agreed that any student who signed up to the New Contemporaries and didn’t get in, could perform at her show and get refunded the £25 ‘membership’ sign up fee.

Liv has been motivated to actively use her work to build a community, and this has carried on where she has set this up. They still meet every Sunday and have an open warehouse for everyone.

She has also worked with Sisters Uncut and opened up a workhouse for women who needed a bed for the night. There are 1000+ empty buildings in (South East) London but there are only 26 beds for women seeking them at night.

Whereisanamendieta. This is a movement that Liv Wynter was involved in. She was in a fight with her husband and he threw her out of the window to her death. Her artwork was used against her in the trial to show that she was mentally unstable. Liv, along with many other women, protested when the new building of the Tate Modern opened, where some of her artwork is being held, and often displayed.

Liv often does workshops to re-perform her work and to ‘get it out there’ again.

She is currently trying to write this ‘thing’ about apathy. It is an argument about who has access to some of the things that are fundamentally provided. Movements and organisations come together to say how they’re good but also how they’ve fucked up – not everyone is perfect. She is organising another one at Goldsmiths about Black Lives Matter.

Liv has also worked with Kate Nash in Girls Rock London, however she is finding more often now that her performances are quite shocking, especially to the young audience. This has not stopped her from working with young people, but she is now re-evaluating what performances she does in front of them.

A few little random last bits of information; She is not writing as much as she would like, but would like to do a 6 month residency (she came straight out of Goldsmiths to this and hasn’t had time to process it all). You makes things that you can’t own or buy – her work only exists online or when she’s in the room. Professional work or personal work in university is hard but it can be done. Normally in art school, people are discouraged to make personal work – fuck it – if that’s what you love and that’s what you care about, push it. Very, very, very political.


Source: Handouts from Liv Wynter

Other Sources:

Storming Tate

Liv Wynter

Black Panther Party

Black Panther Part Poster, Political prints

Flyers and posters have always been one of the cheapest, quickest and most anonymous ways of showing political stands. The Black Panther Party often uses this technique with direct and confrontational text such as

An Attack Against One Is An Attack Against All

The Slaughter of Black People Must Be Stopped! By Any Means Necessary!

With posters and flyers, it also does not directly say who made it except for the image of the panther, a common recurrence throughout their posters.


Source: Black Panther Party Flyer


Source: Black Panther Party Flyer

New commercial processes  allowed colour to be reproduced quickly, allowing a more ‘pop art’ look to the posters and flyers. In one of the more well known pop art and colourful posters of the Black Panther Party, the lady in the poster is distributing posters and flyers. This makes her vocal about the text, but to back her up she has a gun over her shoulder and she doesn’t look afraid to use it. This supports the very strong political views of the Black Panther Party, and emphasises that they are not afraid themselves of speaking out against everyone else.


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster

Project 1.0 Political Prints

FIRST PROJECT OF THE YEAR! (Not including the summer project.)

So from the Introduction to Political Prints session that we had, we were given the task of producing our own political prints.

Here was our task debrief;

Art has had a troubled relationship with propaganda, which is frequently seen as overly didactic.

The history of print as a medium is often associated with radical politics. From the Russian constructivists to the art students of May ’68, to contemporary protest posters from many artists in countries around the world, artists have used print to create quick and bold statements, to combine images and text.

Using stencil printing, we would like you to produce an image that functions as a piece of propaganda in response to the challenges we face today in our societies and in our cultures. Consider the relationship between the imagery you use and the concepts you are exploring and think about what issues you would like your 2016 student revolt to address!

Source: Task debrief – Reading University Blackboard Learn

There are a lot of things that I feel passionate about and that I could do my stencil printing on, including the topics of; endangered animals, brexit, the American elections, sexism and feminism. But after a few hours of having a sit down, think, and a doodle (what else are you supposed to do?), I came across the quote

Can you see me now?

Source: Unknown

This led me to looking at the topic that was raised a few months back;

Free the nipple

When this hit the news, I felt incredibly passionate about the topic. My take on the subject was all about the women who were breastfeeding their babies in public. This is in no way, shape or form, is a sexual act, unlike how some men and reports I found were showing this. It is a simple act of the human body to want and need food, including those babies who still need fresh milk from their mothers. It did, however, become a fashion statement very quickly. This personally annoyed me as many of the articles reporting the ‘#freetheboob’ movement, were commenting on how uncomfortable bras were and how it is just commercialism that is making us buy bras. How ‘Free the Nipple’ became summer’s biggest fashion trend – EveningStandard. Yes, it has been scientifically studied as to whether women need to wear bras or not, and apparently we don’t, (Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bra, According To Science – IFLScience) but that doesn’t mean we need a hashtag and a fashion trend about it, especially when it draws it away from the Free the Nipple campaign, which is very different.

I did not know this, but Free the Nipple is a lot bigger than just the whole breastfeeding in public taboo. The Free the Nipple campaign has been described as

…a global campaign of change, focused on the equality, empowerment, and freedom of all human beings. Free the nipple has become a premiere voice for gender equality, utilizing all forms of modern media, to raise awareness and effect change on various social issues, and injustices.

Free the Nipple Campaign

Looking closer and at more detail of what the Free the Nipple campaign truly stood for, I was inspired to create my own piece of propaganda to support the campaign.  I couldn’t exactly just whip off my shirt to reveal no bra to show my point, like hundreds of men and women did on Brighton Beach to protest against the social media policies banning on the female nipples.

‘Free The Nipple’: Hundreds Gather In Topless Protest On Brighton Beach – Huffington Post

I could, however, create a stencil printing, using my new found information on the Free the Nipple campaign, and the quote that inspired all of this; Can you see me now? I did have to take a moment to figure out what I could do inn order to get my point across – the female, and the male nipples, are something that we should not be ashamed of and that we should not hide. It should not be a taboo.

I therefore created the following design whereupon the nipple and the boob that are uncovered are the centre of attention, being the focal point of the print.

I initially couldn’t decide on whether I wanted this design, or to invert it and print where the majority of the page was black, showing a white boob and a black nipple. However, I soon realised that this could not be done as there would be multiple areas of the print that were not connected, hence I went for this design.

I also changed the composition of the wording several times. The consistent parts were the bra itself, the O, U and nipple. Initially, the ‘o’ of the ‘now’ was smaller, as to represent the other nipple. I did change this as it looked, to me, out of place, so I changed it to the now, larger ‘O’. I also changed the composition of the ‘y’ as originally it was vertical. The reason for this change was due to it being more aesthetically pleasing, but looking back, it now also follows the curvature of the breast which accentuates both the breast and the nipple.

The screen printing itself was interesting.. I have done screen printing before, however the screen printing ink has never stained this much! A tiny bit on my hands and it stayed there for days. As per usual, some of the prints were absolutely atrocious and barely legible, however there were a couple of them which were crisp and defined!

Drumroll please…




Our exhibition isn’t fully up yet, but will be open on Thursday afternoon, so more photos and updates soon!

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