“The best advice I’ve ever been given as an artist would be, be authentic, be yourself.”
Join us as we get to know more about dot-art member Brigitte Watkinson’s creative practice in this months featured artist blog.
In the Studio Brigitte Watkinson
Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?
There is no longer a specific medium I work in. Working reflexively across different mediums enables me to create a visual language that articulates what otherwise may remain unseen and unheard.
Describe your style of art:
My style of art is rarely figurative or minimalist, generally semi-abstract or surrealist, mostly conceptual.
Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?
Photography is the first step I take when it comes to creating a collage, photography is how the initial bond with the subject or the concept is created.
My painting process is much more straight forward, the story already exists; all I need to do is tell it.
I never have a problem knowing when a piece is done, even though I may be tempted to add another splash of colour and effectively ruin the work. The collages develop over time and the process is very different. They require rigorous planning and laying out before they are put into place. They also take much longer. As such the stories told in the collages evolve over time and become multi-dimensional.
When did you begin your career in art?
Art and creativity has always been incredibly important to me, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I realised it was the only way forward for me.
Who or what inspires your art?
Inspiration can come from so many places. When I did the kinky life of trees series, it was mainly the trees themselves that inspired me; their demeanour and presence, and of course literature. The book ‘The Secret Life of Trees’ by Colin Tudge played a big role in the development of this body of work.
Inspiration for the collages came initially from printed media and the Covid-19 crisis. Personal responses to images and colour followed and became integral to the narrative.
What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one piece but my favourite body of work is the ‘Pillow Talk’ mini-series. I find the combination of photography, text, watercolour and wax worked well in expressing the tenderness that exists between trees, building a sensation in the body of the viewer – something beyond mere depiction that touches at the very heart of what it is to be human.
What’s your most unusual artistic habit or strangest technique which you have learnt?
I am currently experimenting with a range of spare plastics and a heat gun, so some strange ways of working are sure to come out of this experimentation! I would also say that finishing my watercolour paintings with wax which works as a glazing, is quite unusual.
What are you working on at the moment?
What are your favourite things to listen to whilst painting? If anything!
I’m afraid it has to be very loud music. I listen to anything providing it has a strong beat and good lyrics (on a high volume of course).
What’s the best advice that was given to you as an artist?
Be authentic, be who you are.