A few years ago, I painted a portrait of my Nan who had passed in 2011, using one of my favourite photographs of her. I remembered her face well in my mind, but the photograph helped with any details. But when I painted a photograph of my Grandad, who I never got the opportunity to meet, I found it to be met with much more difficulty than expected. I put this down to having had a relationship with my Nan and subconsciously analysing her facial features and structure during my childhood, that the painting was able to flow like muscle memory. Unfortunately, that was just not the case for my painting of my Grandad, although it was interesting to learn. I have been able to use this in my current work and behind the photographs I chose to paint. The people I paint all mean a great deal to me, and from what I can remember are all happy memories from our childhood, so the paintings are produced with care. Using my family albums and old photographs is a way for me to stay connected to my childhood, I feel like I’m time travelling back to a family holiday in Spain or my Mum’s 40th birthday. I am memorialising these people and the memories for myself but for my family as well, in a way that I can.
Regarding my exhibition, I was inspired by Gideon Rubin and particularly his exhibition The Sun Also Rises. His arrangement of varying sizes of paintings was interesting to me in connection to my works. With my current work focusing on family albums and mementos, I enjoyed the idea of clustering together small works like it’s a photo album or a family home wall filled with photographs. I want the viewer to feel that familiar feeling between a stranger’s old family photographs and their own.