SP89. acrylic on linen. 190x170cm. 2015 By Yago Hortal

Recently after speaking to some tutors on my MA I realized the importance of humour and kitsch in my work and I wonder if unconsciously I’m making work that is reactionary and critical of other art forms and high brow notions in general.  I like to tell myself that I’m humbly beavering away on my own in a quiet corner of the world without interacting too much with others because I’m terrified of rejection. But there is something bubbling under the surface which has an assertive, powerful voice that wants to be heard. Humour creates distance, kitschy cuteness creates a cushion of safety but it is all defensive. I’m making defensive art. I’ve talked about anger before, and people have called my work happy and even “too happy”.  I know that the work is always a self portrait but these recent discoveries are hugely scary and upsetting for me.

Today I found an artist called Yago Hortal, who is based in Barcelona. His work is painterly, colourful, powerful and sculptural. I’m attracted to his more sculptural works which have an edible quality to them. Looking at his work makes me realize that he is much more committed than I am. His works are powerful because they follow through and make powerful statements. Whereas mine stop short somehow.  Maybe the work shows this struggle between my strong, willful, assertive side and my fearful, indecisive side.


Drawing on craft foam


A collage painting on plastic sheeting


Drawing and collage have been very important this year.


This painting is on a knife edge.


My daughter’s plasticine cakes are a major influence.


Making associations between the past and present is part of the studio process.

My studio is a free space where mess can be made and my ideas surround me. I pick things up and put them down, reject and resuscitate ideas. Connections can be made and things can be forgotten and then reemerge in new contexts. This creates a space where indulgence is fostered and play is essential. Maybe this can be a form of salvation from my fearful self, when everything gets to much I can play and stop taking everything so seriously.


Many tentative explorations that need to be pushed somewhere new.


Combining collage with painting and sculpture.


One of my few paintings from this year, which is showing a shift in my visual language.


Still trying to figure out what these are and where they are going, but they are definitely playful and funny.

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One of my smaller experiments, I’m embracing small playful works and how their simplicity can be powerful and representative of an entire body of work.


Really enjoyed the powerful and fearless work of Emily Noelle Lambert, which I discovered on Instagram recently.


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