Samantha Humphreys

Art, Photography & Inspiration

Tag: photography

A Big Fat Metaphor

 


 

Inspired by a recent mini task on the course I teach on where the students had to bring along a photograph and an object that holds meaning and has impact on their art practice.

The first image is a print I made a few years back, it is my Nans block of flats. At the time of making this piece, my Nan still lived there, and I was starting to think that one day, I would never visit there again. Over lockdown, my nan has become unable to live there alone and has moved into a care home.

As this is all happening over 200 miles away, she has turned 90 over lockdown with only socially distanced visits from family living nearby (thankfully most of the family live nearby) and filmed efforts and cards from the rest of us. It is now very unlikely that I will visit the flat again, however-as long as I can visit her eventually, what does that matter? I look forward to that day.

The second image is my object, it is a paperweight.

When my Grandad was alive, he was the caretaker of these flats and he had a workshop downstairs which was filled with things he was repairing and other paraphernalia. I loved visiting him down in this workshop and I can still remember the smell of it. I have had this paperweight for as long as I can remember, initially it was just special as my grandad gave it to me, for a long time I didn’t even know it was a paperweight it was just a fascinating colourful object-it had been thrown away by someone and he rescued it.

Later on, when I was older, I learned that the pattern I was so fascinated with had been created using a technique called Millefiori, which I taught myself with clay when I used to create dolls house food. The way it works is that you work carefully with a short fat cylinder, making it a long thin cylinder which you finally slice and somewhere inside, there is the perfect slice of orange, kiwi or hot cross bun. Thats how it works with clay anyway, I have less of an idea of how it is created with glass as in my paperweight.

I keep this paperweight on my desk, I see it every day while I’m working from home. I think of this technique as a metaphor for how art practice develops and therefore it helps me both in my art practice and my teaching practice.

As an artist, when you are developing ideas, you have all your thoughts, sketches and ideas rolled up within your fat cylinder of clay, then you carefully and thoughtfully work your way through all these ideas and sketches, teasing out the ideas but carefully preserving the whole idea which will eventually narrow down to one you will use. When you have your long thin piece, you slice away at it with care, then eventually, after much thought, somewhere inside that cylinder, you find your perfect slice of final piece which makes all the hard work worth it.

The point is, there is going to be lots of what could be considered waste at either end of the cylinder, but the final outcome would not be possible without the discarded bits that help you get there.

But also, it’s important to remember that no art is a waste and should not be discarded!

 

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Aspiring to Matsutake (2020 An element of the second year Developing Ideas in Art and the Environment module on the course I teach on began this semester with an extract from the book The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. As we (we, as in all of […]

Tryptich

The power of three tryptich2

Forever Portrait

solucky

I’m interested in how we present ourselves online, our status updates paint a portrait of ourselves in a way that we can’t do in real life. One statement can shape how we are perceived as it blows one small aspect of our being out of all proportion. On your profile page, the only thing they see is your status and not the other details that contribute to who we are.

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Social Interaction

collage2

A crossover between real life and social media interactions, reality becomes distorted, who sees what? Others, maybe even strangers begin to have an input in our lives! Do we control it or have we lost control?

More Than Just A Public Space

morethanpublic

I have been exploring how the digital documentation of our lives online using social media is infiltrating our physical being. Public spaces are no longer limited to when we step outside the front door. Spaces we share extends beyond physical public spaces, parks, shops, nightclubs and bars.

Over the last few years we have begun to play out our lives online, documenting what we do, where we go, what we eat and how we look. We seek the world’s approval while we do all these thing and in addition, the world seeks our approval.

But maybe now there is no divide between our online presence and our physical lives, perhaps it has become one reality. 

What If?

whatif6My recent series “What If?” has been receiving some attention in the press lately, due to the inclusion of three of the images in the Speaking Out Exhibition at Embrace Arts, University of Leicester.

The series is based on the theoretical question of “What if we were to teach our children at an early age about the harsh realities that face some?”

Clearly, we wouldn’t dream of exposing children to such things and my work is by no means intended to be used as an educational tool but by using Barbie dolls, an iconic toy that oozes perfection, I am demonstrating that life for some is by no means perfect. The series of ten images also explores insecurity, loneliness, illness and addiction.

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#Beautiful

We are free to be real, lose the responsibilities imposed on us by those far more self absorbed than we are meant to be.

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#wakeupandsmellthecoffee

The trend of constantly documenting our life online is seeping into and affecting our ‘real’ life. This disturbs me.

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