Pattern maker from London – she’s got mad skills. We’re taking a ‘look back’ at three of the graduates from 2012, Winchester School of Art. First up? Well, we’ll let Grace introduce herself…
As an illustrator / mark-maker my practice explores detailed drawing techniques to create hand-made works of either archival or narrative quality.
With a particular emphasis on process and pens, the way that I make is intense, often playing with a tension between chance and perseverance to construct marks that leave behind a physical trace of the tools application. Visual rhythms, sense of place and ephemeral existence are all regular themes found within my personal, as well as commercial projects.
Such ‘human’ influences can be found within my Black Pen Archive, an extensive project of material enquiry that is still very much on-going. The project came about whilst I was studying for a Masters Degree in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. I began to develop my own creative ethos that: beauty emerges from basic materials controlled by complicated hands and found myself exposing a previously hidden sketchbook practice for the first time – in many ways this was the point at which the state of process became the outcome.
The Black Pen project marked a definite turning point in my approach to contemporary illustration and now leads me to question further more conceptual forms of contemporary communication.
Predominantly, the patterned surfaces or form-based drawings of my collections are made for modern print, textiles and installation. However, I also manipulate ready-made / found objects such as vintage books and antique furniture’s. A project entitled ‘Bound Shapes’ created crossovers with existing layout content and overlaid random ‘decoration’. Again, this project came about almost by accident as I experimented with new sketchbook possibilities and sought to overcome the dreaded intimidation of the white page. Each page of the historical book chosen features a different shape or pattern dictated by the text format and photographic reference – intern a new identity was made.
I like this concept of almost ‘burying’ materials and identities when making. Hiding certain elements and accentuating others creates an invitation for the viewer to speculate and a journey to trace. The Red Fur drawing that I made represents a type of familiar, yet abstract camouflage. It requires a second and third glance to really decipher what is being illustrated – intertwined cat fur. More so than with other examples in my portfolio, this piece creates an equal balance between mark-making and form – traditional structure meets emerging direction.
Lastly, and in accumulation of some of these different approaches, I come to the ‘Remnants’ project. This project was influenced by the lost architectures and bygone glories of Victorian London. I wanted to combine my adoration of traditional handmade craft (for which the Victorians were experts) with a type of visual commentary that highlighted a breakdown of decorative substance. The digital / hand-drawn collage that became the poster piece for this project not only summarises my making process for this brief, but on a much wider scale also symbolises my general approach to making as a visual conversation between technical disciplines and mixed-media techniques: abstraction, figurative, pattern and graphic versions of design.