My work is about the intensity of the city and how we navigate through it with symbols, images, maps and sounds. I often feel overwhelmed in the city as we are constantly bombarded with noise and I am particularly interested in depicting what I see as crowded and claustrophobic commuter situations, but others regard as normal conditions on their daily journey to work. My work generally starts at a tube station in London where I will draw or photograph anything that catches my eye along the journey. Rather like a flâneur, I stroll along observing society, waiting for things to find or interest me.
Similar to the Surrealists, I love flea markets. In the 1930s Andre Breton, the leader of the surrealists, was fascinated by pieces that were regarded as being of no use anymore. He would go to the flea markets in the hope of being ‘called’ by certain items and pick up old ear trumpets and elephants’ feet and lots of African pieces too. Strolling through these flea markets led the Surrealists to understand that their inner desires, through our subconscious, affects our actions, decisions, and surroundings. Breton believed that our everyday encounters and chance findings are actually psychologically pre-ordained by our subconscious. When we find objects, they are already existing embodiments of our inner desires and that they just need to be found, in a chance encounter.
My work engages with what happens next to the single drawings and photos that I have made, when I arrive home. It is important for me to rearrange them and create a new image combining and placing them, in order to express my feelings and experiences during the visit. I combine outline tracings of photographs I have taken, with drawings from my sketchbook and paste them together in layers with different amounts of opacity. When placing the images together I always aspire to make an aesthetically pleasing image but also to let the unexpected happen, for example when a girl’s head shows through a layer in just the right place. Even though the final images are not made in a sketchbook, I like to keep a nuance of the sketchbook in my work as the intention of going out in the world and drawing, is where my work stems from.
Oceanic feeling has also had an influence on my work which is the sensation of being at one with the universe. For me it is something I feel in nature on the top of a mountain. It is when I feel small, knowing that I am part of something much bigger that I am not in control of. I feel the same way in the city, with the rush and the buzz of millions of other people going about their lives, not having a care about me. I feel overwhelmed and scared and that I shouldn’t be there. I feel like one of the Surrealists’ displaced objects but my inner desire subconsciously chose to be there too.