I am so happy to share with you my latest discovery in art: the British artist Nina Mae Fowler. She is not only amazingly talented, but on top a lovely person. AND my age! I tend to like biographies that started in my birth-year 1981 because I find it super interesting what other people manage to create out of their lives in the same period of time. And the best is: she will be exhibited by one of my new favourite galleries in here in Hamburg this week. The artnow Gallery is opening the exhibition on Thursday, 15th of June at 7pm (find the details below) and the artist will be present and signing her first edition for the gallery.
Nina is an artist, a mother and a wife at the same time. Her hubby Craig Wylie is a well-known artist as well – but he is a painter (his paintings will be at the artnow Gallery as well)! Whereas her studies and career began in sculpturing and now ended up in fine drawing. BUT you can always recognise her background, the sculptural aspects to her work. She has an unusual talent in photorealistic pencil-drawing – I am flashed and amazed every time again when I am standing in front of one of her works. As Nina is admires everything that has to do with film and Hollywood, her main subjects are famous actors but not in the typical glamorous manner, rather in fateful moments of their lives. Fowler is looking behind the scenes of the Film- and Fashion Industry – which is nothing new of course – but she found an unusual way of expressing the dark side in the glamorous lives of the stars.
Despite her young age Nina Fowler was already nominated for important international art prices such as the Drawing Now Award, the Young Masters Prize, the BP Portrait Prize and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. More importantly she can be found in numerous private and public collections throughout Europe, the US and Asia. Jude Law, John Maybury, Sharleen Spiteri, Caroline Issa, Roland Mouret and Sienna Miller are some of her collectors and admirers.
Yesterday I had the honour to interview her for the first time. Have fun reading…
How do you work? What is unique about your work?
I don´t strive to be unique all the time. I of course inform myself about whats going on around me, but most of the time I listen to my intuition. Like everyone I go through phases in my life that influence my work. It is really a mixture of being well informed but secluded at the same time.
Your drawing skills are amazing. How long do you actually need for your photorealistic drawings?
The ideas themselves (especially the montages) can take a few years to formulate or I will live with an idea for a period until I feel sure it is worth doing. Once I get going I work very quickly. So the practical side of making the work takes a few days/weeks depending on the size. Of course the sculptures can take longer as the process is more complicated if I am casting in bronze for example.
How are you influencing society or politics? Do you aim to do so?
I am not a political person at all. But of course, good artwork allows many readings and I guess I subconsciously draw a lot of women and their role in society, as an actor, as a mom, in not so immaculate situations, as an example for other women, in conflict with themselves and so on. But actually I don’t set out to do it, but there are definitely some feminist-readings to my works.
As “Modern Silver” are my favourite two works of yours so far, I am very much interested to hear something about it from you?
The drawings “Modern Silver: Parts I & II” are an extension of my practice – merging sculptural elements with drawing. The famous often hide behind sunglasses to shade their eyes from the media flashbulbs or simply to retain a sense of personal/private space. In this instance it appears they are hiding something more sinister. I have given these drawings my own sunglasses as a form of protection/memorabilia. The images are derived from make-up test photos. I find these pictures fascinating because the actors come across as merely props to be handled.
Do you have a favourite art work? In your own portfolio?
Yes I do! Actually my favourite work is always the one that I am currently working on. That is the thing I love the most. I don’t hold on to any of my artworks… So right now my favourite work is the “Conditional Love” series that I have created for my first exhibition with the artnow Gallery in Hamburg.
How did you get the idea of making lamp-sculptures?
Actually I started collecting those antique lamps a while ago until I realised that I can use them as frames for my famous-mother-and-daughter project. It was first meant for the Paris exhibition, but I found it a bit too obvious, too smooth. When I thought about the rooms of the Hamburg exhibition, very dark ones, I found it the perfect match for that event. Not only can I light up the rooms with my mother-and-daughter-lamps but at the same time I find the idea to light a frame very romantic and they are functional objects on top.
What is the new series that you just created for Hamburg about?
The new series are all drawings of mothers and their daughters. Separated – one on each side of the lamp. The work is about the ‘conditional love’ often experienced by children of superstars. Some of the daughters in this series have written condemning accounts of their childhoods – exposing their mothers for being abusive, alcoholic and violent, when the image they were forced to portray to the media was the opposite. The works are also about the legacy that a famous parent leaves behind – often the lives of these children seem to be out of their control even as they become adults – they cannot escape the shadow of their parents celebrity. The title ‘immaculate’ nods to the immaculate conception and the preservation of the stars reputation and physicality. It seems today that the quicker a woman’s body returns to its ‘pre-baby’ condition – the more impressive. It is hard to imagine these actresses as mothers because their fame is based upon a myth of perfection. The drawings, framed by lamps, illuminate the strained relationships suffered on both sides (by mother and daughter) as a result of living under the scrutiny of the public eye, they also act as alters to the sometimes tragic consequences of stardom and its enduring legacy.
I heard you will release your first edition for the artnow Gallery this coming thursday in Hamburg! What is the C-print “Hello Sadness” that you are exclusively presenting for the artnow Gallery about?
This drawing is about the ambivalent effects of media that can support a star in their career but at the same time destroy a life if information gets out of control. It shows the actress Jean Seberg in a totally distressed situation that she played in one of the scenes of “bonjour tristesse” . Tragically also in her real life she couldn´t flee publicity which in the end destroyed her life way earlier than it should have.
Who are your favourite artists?
My list is too long for that question, but I love Robert Maplethorpe and classical ones like Auguste Rodin or Manet among many other artists.
Do you have a favourite book?
The last one I really liked was “Blonde”, a fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe by Joyce Carol Oates. I love fiction in general and this is of course one of my favourite topics as you know 🙂
What would you bring on a deserted island?
I would probably bring some music. Pop, Folk or 60ths pop – these are my favourites! I always listen to music while I am working.
TheTreasurette-Fave: I love her works that have a sculptural touch. My favourite is the new “Conditional Love” series with the mother and daughter drawings. And actually I love the “Modern Silver” series with the sunglasses, see below!
TheTreasurette-Tip: Take your chance to meet the artist here in Hamburg. She will sign her first and exclusive edition for the artnow Gallery. I am definitely going! I am so excited already!
Vernissage: 15.06. 2017, 19:00
PopUp-Exhibition: 15.06. – 18.06. 2017, 11:00 – 18:00 Uhr
Adress: SLIFE, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 59-61, 20355 Hamburg
Happy about your feedback as always!