As an artist I have always been interested in women’s history, and I am primarily fascinated by the human body as a subject and a means of expression. My work is playful: an imaginative look into aspects of our history which have been hidden or forgotten. Now in my 30s, my main creative outlet has not changed since I was a child: drawing. I still like to use ‘school’ materials like ball point pens, marker pens, pencils, ink, erasers and Tippex. The cheapness and low status of these materials really allows me to relax into my drawing practice which is usually quick, instinctive and emotionally cathartic. Recently I have added my phone and tablet as drawing materials, though I like to ‘misuse’ them: my iPad is simply a lightbox, my phone is just a means to transport photos.
This project, the final stage of which I have named ‘A Reconstruction’ took inspiration from a true story which I heard many years ago - the notorious Glasgow killer ‘Bible John’. Between 1968 and 1969 this unidentified man strangled three women to death and terrified a generation. All of the women were between the ages of 25-32 and had met him at the Barrowland Ballroom - a dance hall in the city. My interest in this story was piqued by my connection to Glasgow, my birthplace, and my own generation’s continued fear of male violence. However, this work is also a manifestation of the environment I have been working in for the past year, and inextricably shaped by events which have happened in 2020- 2021. Creating work in a small room with limited equipment and space, drawing became an escape as well as a meditative process as I explored movement, time, and memory: looking at the ‘60s and dancehall culture through old photographs, footage and recounts of the time. Ultimately, this work is also shaped by loss, both personal and societal. Alone in my room I drew crowds of people dancing, aware of the sharp contrast I was living through.
I became obsessed with using layering, found photographs and repetition within my practice- drawing on tracing paper and translating it onto my iPad, constantly reworking and reinterpreting my images. I tried to ignore what was happening outside my room but ultimately found it both impossible and unwise, so this work is tinged with the atmosphere of the COVID19 era and the virtual environment I studied in. The figures are transparent, lit up: clearly drawings but with real backdrops. I view the series as an artistic reconstruction - a way of bringing these women back to life through drawing, connecting them to the modern world.