Artist of the Month July 2017

Our Artist of the Month for July 2017 is Rejectamental. Rejectamental is a mostly self-taught artist who makes her work from found objects that have been rejected as worthless by others. She uses items such as old photographs, toys, jewellery and shells to create narratives which explore the darker side of folk and fairy tales and her own subconscious.

When and how did your interest in art develop?

I absolutely loved drawing as a child and would use any excuse to include illustrations in my school work. My family as a whole are artistic or musical, and I grew up in a very creative environment. My mum had a ‘Blue Peter’ cupboard that was always full of cardboard tubes and paper. I did attend a Foundation course in Art and Design after my A-levels, but found it too limited in the scope of what you were taught, and counter-intuitive to my own processes. Seven years ago, I took a course in jewellery design at a local adult education centre, which rekindled my desire to create and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with ‘background depression’, which I’d actually been suffering from since my early teens. Art became a form of therapy for me, and I started to create artworks that were purely for my own pleasure. Since then I have exhibited in group shows around the North of England and in London, and have my first solo show opening in October in Leeds.

What influences your art?

Dreams, thoughts, random conversations, films, folk and faerie stories, book illustrations, music, the objects I find, the size of my studio (it’s small and full of stuff), experiences, memories, my mood (depressed/not depressed), museums (especially old ones), abandoned spaces, antique toys, outsider art and environments.

What process do you go through when you are creating a piece?

Sometimes an idea will pop into my head and I will try to capture it in my notebook, then I usually root through my piles of random things to find objects that could, when put together, communicate the idea. Sometimes I will be looking at an object and suddenly have a vision of where it belongs as part of an artwork. My personal situation can often affect what artwork I make. For example, when I had no studio space and was confined to working in my house, I decided to shift to including textile and embroidery in my art, as it was portable and easy to do while sitting around at home. I’m never entirely satisfied that an artwork is finished, but then I guess a lot people feel that!

Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from? 

My mum took me to an exhibition of surrealist art when I was about 10 and I was completely mesmerized. Then while attempting an Art Foundation course I visited the 20th Century American Art exhibition at the Tate Britain, where I discovered the work of Joseph Cornell, and my world was changed. It was the first time I had felt such an emotional connection to an artist, and he is still my favourite today. I also adore the work of Maurice Sendak, the designs of Tim Burton, and the animations of the Brothers Quay.

Do you have a favorite piece? If so, which one and why?

My favourite piece of art…is difficult to decide! However, the one artwork that always hits me is Millais’ ‘Ophelia’. It has such beauty, but with a powerful sense of melancholy and loss. I could just stand and stare at it forever.

What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

I would like my work to draw people in; to beguile them with strangeness and wild juxtapositions of materials and themes, then have them discover the meanings and stories within those odd assemblages themselves, hopefully leaving them with a sense of satisfaction and of having discovered something new.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career? 

Being chosen as the Outside In Artist of the Month!

Has being a part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?

I attended the Artist Update meeting this year, and it gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to so many amazing and talented artists. It has also given me the confidence to stretch out and apply for more exhibition opportunities, and to describe myself as an Artist with a capital A!

What is next for you as an artist?

As well as getting my studio into order and updating my website (!) I will be taking part in the Kirkstall Art Trail for the first time in July, showing my work in the amazing surroundings of Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds. Then in October I will have my solo exhibition as part of the Love Arts Leeds Festival. I shall also continue to record the randomness of my brain and possibly try painting again.

View Rejectamental's Outside In online gallery