Day two of my collaboration with WOOLWICH Contemporary Print Fair 2020 @ saw me interview the incredible talent of @eleanormaywatson
Watson is a fascinating artist. Along with Tanaka who I introduced yesterday on She Curates, Watson has collaborated with Woolwich to produce an exclusive and limited edition range of wallpaper and textiles “allowing collectors to fully immerse themselves in fine art through their homes or offices with bespoke wall and soft-furnish coverings.”
Watson is fascinated with how colour and light interact in painting, working from photos of domestic spaces to think about the need to create ‘cosiness and interiority’.
She is a recent graduate of City and Guilds.
I for one can’t wait for this wallpaper to be released at the start of the exhibition.
WCPF The Online Edition
12 November - 13 December 2020
Eleanor can you please describe your practice for me in three words?
Quiet, unfolding, (of) light - squeezed in a tiny half word.
What are the main themes and motifs running through your work?
I am increasingly interested in how colour and light interact in painting. I’ve been working from photos of domestic spaces thinking about the need to create cosiness and interiority. I often find myself involved in a sense of the unfamiliar and unhomely within the familiar.
Until recently I have been interested in the language of heritage in British culture. Loaded with the weighty signifiers of colonialism and Empire but also preoccupied with escaping into the patina of time.
What was your earliest memory surrounding art and the art world Eleanor?
I remember visiting the Tate Modern on a school trip and acting disinterested to fit in. I then disappeared as soon as I could to spend time wondering, unashamedly. I remember seeing a Vuillard and the Rothko room for the first time.
Was there a Eureka moment for you to become an artist?
I won the Hans Brinker Student Painting Prize in Amsterdam with Wimbledon College of Art which was a hefty cash prize of 5000 euros! It felt enormous in both money and recognition. The University of the Arts also bought some of my work for their permanent collection. It gave me confidence to say ‘I want to be a painter’ out loud - artist took another year or so.
Can you please select one of your works and tell me a bit about it?
‘Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden’, is a vast (3x10m) monoprint on Japanese paper. I made it just as the initial lock down lifted. It is a sort of prototype, scanned to create a 1:1 wallpaper in collaboration with @woolwichcontemporaryprintfair. It depicts a pool at Hadrian’s Villa, with columns, and sculptures surrounding the water. I was interested in the murals painted during the time of the Grande Tour as well as depictions of Empire as romantic ruins. I am interested in my work sitting in an ambiguous and paradoxical space of both escape and critique.
What do you believe is the most important aspect to your practice?
I am more and more preoccupied with colour and its relation to light and emotion. More in how a painting is painted rather than what is painted.
What is your studio like? What are your artist essentials? What do you listen to while you work?
My studio is amazing, I love it. I am a member of the Lewisham Arthouse in New Cross which is an artist co-operative based in a beautiful, if a little dilapidated, Edwardian library.
Books are essential for when I feel unfocused. I read until my brain is working.
Whilst I am painting I listen to audiobooks very quietly- I find music distracting, and enjoy drifting in and out of the world of the book whilst I work.
Who are your favourite current practicing female artists and their instagram handles?
Always City and Guilds recent grads @raenbarnsley, @maddieyiulle, @edrev_ @charlotterosborne @emamanoepps… the list goes on! I was lucky to have an exceptionally talented peer group.
What’s next for you Eleanor?
Next up is the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, which will be taking place online, offering new opportunities to view the work. I’m super excited to launch my wallpaper ‘Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden’.
I currently have a piece in the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition. I am working towards a group show in January curated by Timothy Patrick (@timpatrickpainter), he has gathered a brilliant group of figurative painters. There are some other projects in the pipeline with artists I admire throughout 2021. Cannot wait!