Throughout the past few years, my practice has been evolving around portraiture in many different forms, exploring from animated to realism. My interest was based in understanding how changes in colour and techniques can change how I portray people. When I paint a portrait, I pull from my personal experience with the subject. I like to have a connection with my models in any form, as I find how I paint and present them is influenced by my memory and relationship with them.
However, this was all impacted strongly by the pandemic in 2020 and carried into multiple lockdowns into early 2021. I was suddenly alienated from my inspiration source and unable to create new memories and connections with my peers and my memory and thoughts with photographs changed and faded over time. The pandemic force me to evolve and realise that the common factor in every painting was me. It was my point of view, my photograph used for reference, me behind every camera and every painting. The pandemic became a huge impact into my works when I decided to turn the narrative onto myself. The question ‘How do I see myself?’ And ‘how would you paint your pandemic?’ Was a reoccurring thought through every piece of art I created.
With this idea finalised, it was time to create pieces to convey my thoughts and experience. Every idea starts with a sketch, but I could not finish my ideas as a painting in lockdown number 3 in early 2021. With the absence of a studio, I again had to evolve my practice to keep my skills fresh and explore my works. Digital paintings allowed me to utilise technology to ‘paint’ in a small space. My practice evolved into the digital world, with the intention of repainting my pieces as oil paintings in the future outside of lockdown. The idea was to compare how being in the event would compare to painting my experience after the event.
In this particular exhibition, I have decided to present both digital and physical paintings in an attempt to see, side to side, how lockdown is presented either differently or the same in and out of lockdown. To look at the small print of my digital work, consider it’s size, colours and techniques; then compare it to the large, oversized painting alongside it. I ask the audience to take a look at the mundane narratives and the empty voids, recall their own experience in lockdown, and see a feeling of incompleteness pulling from their own experience in lockdown. The white void of the scenes must be considered and questioned; I find a missing piece of information leaves more questions than answers, reiterating how I felt in lockdown. Confused and lost, losing a sense of self in a confined environment.