Contrast has always played a big role in my work. I am fascinated by simple forms and I like to pay particular attention to the space in-between forms. This is often where I find my inspiration. The difference between light and dark, hard against soft, rough against smooth, provide me with great sensory pleasure.
The ‘Found’ series was born from the idea of re-thinking what a painting surface could be. When starting a painting or drawing, It’s easy to reach for a primed canvas or some nice quality paper, as you are often taught through school or college. I wanted to challenge this by using a material that has already served its purpose and is essentially worthless. Cardboard seemed like the obvious choice for this project as it is so abundantly available.
I only had to walk a few feet from my studio to come across a pile of discarded packaging, destined from the rubbish tip. Unfortunately, I think partly due to the bulky nature of cardboard, a lot of it is sent to landfills as it’s not always that easy to get it to a recycling centre. This project really opened my eyes to how much waste one can produce without necessarily thinking of the consequences. This realisation gave the project a new direction where I wanted to highlight the importance (particularly in the current climate) of re-using materials. I suddenly became very aware of my own situation and the amount of waste I produce. Working in my studio I am often inundated with packaging for one reason or another but instead of just recycling this waste, I wanted to showcase the material as a piece of art and give it a new purpose.
When I started collecting pieces of cardboard to use as a surface, I was straight away drawn to the slightly damaged pieces. Once you remove the top layer, a really interesting array of textures appear. I wanted to retain this natural, rugged edge, so for the majority of the pieces I did very little in the way of trimming or cutting.
The inspiration for the paintings came from the natural shape of the scrap cardboard with all its imperfections. I used the grooves and dents as guidelines to dictate the forms I created, whilst maintaining hard edges to contrast the torn surface of the cardboard.
As a painting surface, I found cardboard very enjoyable to use. It possesses similar characteristics to quality paper whilst having the rigidity of an artists panel. Depending on the type of cardboard, you can also create interesting surface textures. The card sometimes reacts with the paint and causes it to bubble ever so slightly, giving the otherwise flat surface more depth and interest. It’s a material that will definitely feature in more of my future projects.