You are currently working with Green Peace Africa on a project. Can you share anything about that collaboration and how it came to be?
I began exploring using plastic pollution to create ‘eco-art’ earlier this year. Performance art has often been used throughout history as an artistic medium that aims to challenge/question a society or provide commentary and so it made complete sense to use my own performance art to raise awareness about the plastic pollution crisis. In fact I had just presented a seminar at Nelson Mandela University on “Performance art against plastic pollution” when Green Peace Africa contacted me, asking if they could share my work and through further conversations with representatives of Green Peace Africa the collaborative project was born. I’ve been working on a body of new, unseen artworks to be released soon on both Green Peace’s platforms and my own. This project has been my most exciting to date and it feels amazing to be able to marry my love of art and the Earth in my work.
I’ve seen you mention that you would like to keep pushing yourself with your artwork in the future. What does that mean to you? Bigger pieces, bigger collabs, uncomfortable themes, different mediums, more performances, etc.?
All of the above. One of the reasons I am so drawn to performance art is that it is, and always has been, an experimental/free art form. I use performance art because of how undefined the field is, there is so much more for me to explore and so much more that I intend to do. But I have few definite long-term visions for my work. I want the freedom to be able to follow the path as it reveals itself to me and travel through the doors as they open, rather than have my heart set on a particular door that may never open.
I’m a big fan of the YouTube series Transformations with James St. James. Would you ever want to do something like that or a live transformation and what would you do?
Definitely. In fact many of my live performances involve painting myself ‘live’ as part of the ‘performance’. I love the transformative process and being able to show the transformative side of my art to an audience is absolutely one of the most exhilarating parts of what I do. There is so much symbolism and depth that can be found within the process of transformation.
When do you feel most confident? Most vulnerable?
I feel my most confident and my most vulnerable when I am performing as my artworks. It’s incredibly vulnerable and exposing to stand in front of an audience, presenting yourself as something to be stared at and analysed. I don’t think I will ever be completely comfortable in that space, at least I hope not. I think there is a certain strength to be found in publicly displaying your own vulnerability like that. In another sense I am most confident when I am performing as my art. It is what I am most well-versed in and most proud of. It really is quite a strange double-edged sword of sorts…
What else do you have going on in 2019/2020 and how can everyone support your art?
I am releasing my collaboration with Green Peace on August the 28th 2019 to September 7th on the @greenpeaceafrica Instagram page, be sure to check that out. I have something in the works to be released later in the year too but I until the release dates are finalised be sure to keep an eye on my pages for more updates!
How would you describe your current work? Have you ever explored other styles/mediums of art?
I would describe my work as cheeky hand embroidery that celebrates and empowers women of all shapes and sizes. As an artist, you're always branching out to learn new crafts and techniques. I've dabbled in wood burning, knitting, calligraphy, etc. but embroidery is what stuck. Even under the umbrella of needlepoint, I've done cross stitch as well as expanding my embroidery skills to try sewing clothing, hats, pins, and patches. It's always about exploring new ways to be an artist and incorporate your art within new mediums.
I see you take custom orders, who would be your dream client? What would they want?
Oh great question! I think sewing an item of clothing for a music artist I admired would be my dream custom order. I would love to make a denim jacket for Julian Casablancas, Alex Turner, Angel Olson, Jack White, or Beck! I would also love to sew a piece of clothing for someone that represents full figured women and body positivity like Lizzo.
Who/What inspires your work currently?
I'm always inspired by women who embody confidence, body positivity and self love at any size. Whether that's public figures like Lizzo or Ashley Graham, or someone from a facebook group or instagram that has sent me a photo of themselves feeling confident and beautiful. I've received many nudes from trusting strangers and that trust inspires me to make them feel beautiful and represented.
Do you feel like the embroidery community is a close-knit group or do you feel like it’s every woman for herself?
I absolutely love the embroidery community, it's incredibly supportive! Embroidery is so different from person to person that you can be fully supportive without feeling like someone else's success is your failure. Some people (it's not just women!) sew dog portraits, others do landscapes, plants, cross stitch, funny sayings; no two people have the same sewing style. There's only one other embroidery artist that has overlapped on a lot of the designs I've also sewn and we actually developed a beautiful (virtual) friendship bonding over our similar aesthetic. And even then, they'll send me photos of designs they think I should do and I'll post about their work via instagram. We also have "Follow Fridays" where embroidery artists will post about fellow artists and show support. When I was starting out I was able to message other artists for advice and now it's come full circle where budding embroidery artists message me with questions and showing me their work. I love getting to pay that support forward and be in a community where everyone wants everyone else to succeed.
What do you have going on in 2019?
2019 has been a great year for my embroidery! I recently moved from LA to Austin and I've been working on growing my business in this new city. I recently was a vendor at the CraftHer Market put on by Boss Babes, I had an Anthropologie pop up and I'm in the works for a second one, and I was a vendor during SXSW. I'm also leaning a lot towards making more clothing and jackets (I've got to wait for the Texas heat to die down) and building my inventory to prepare for the holiday season!