UK-born artist Katie Bright is a rare creative force whose work spans the gamut and includes everything from ornate costumes and hand sewn masks to illustrations that are often accompanied by stories she’s written. Over the last year Bright has lent her unique creative genius to designing the wallpaper for the Surftides Lincoln City hotel in Oregon and Tart restaurant, a Los Angeles hot spot that is connected to the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel located across the street from The Grove.
After working as a fashion designer for many years designing collections for United Colors of Benetton’s Zerododici and The Hip Site, as well as pieces for Akira Isogawa, one of Australia’s most prominent contemporary fashion designers, and others, Bright realized her passion for design extended far beyond the fashion world.
In 2004 she began using her strengths as a creative designer to develop textile prints, storyboards, illustrations for the high profile sports company ISC where she designed compression garments; but, after working for the company for eight years she came to the realization that she was destined to pursue further creative explorations.
After making the courageous decision to leave her proverbial comfort zone and the life she knew in fashion, Bright dove into her career as an artist with full force, and she hasn’t looked back since. She went on to receive her master’s in fine art from Central Saint Martins in London, one of the foremost leaders for art and design in the world with a dazzling alumni that includes fashion icons Stella Mccartney and Alexander McQueen, English painter Richard Hamilton, sculptors Helene Brandt and Emily Young, artist Sheila Fell and embroiderer Marjory Mills to name a few.
Although Bright stepped away from her career as a fashion designer to pursue her art, fashion continues to play a major role in her work, specifically its evolution and the parallel that exists between the changing styles in women’s fashion and the changes to the females ‘accepted’ role in society over the ages.
Bright’s dynamic body of work often brings together the sweet naiveté of childhood play through fairytales and plushophilia, drawing out attention to the powerful role ‘soft toys’ play in early development, counterbalanced with the hyper-sexualization of women represented within society and the influence that has on the process of becoming. Bright’s juxtaposition of these two contrasting themes is poignantly displayed within “The Mask Series,” which she began in 2012. The series includes a myriad of hand sewn wolf masks, 32 so far, that serve as representations of her pre-loved past loves, which perfectly displays the transmutation of childhood innocence as a result of the over-sexualization of modern society.
Katie Bright is one contemporary artist whose work is impossible to categorize under one static title, instead, she continues to push the boundaries of her work by following her creative inspiration wherever it leads. To find out more about this incredibly talented artist make sure to check out our interview below.
You can also find out more about her work through her website: http://welcometothebrightside.co.uk/
For those who don’t already know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KB: I originally studied BA (Hons) fashion design at Kingston University, UK. After years of working around the world as a fashion designer I altered my career path pursuing a career in fine art. The Ambush Gallery, Australia hosted my first solo show, “My Fairy Tale Perspective on Love,” in 2012, which was well received with 1000 attendees on opening night.
After my solo exhibition I furthered my fine art education with a masters at the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s MA, London.
I would describe myself as a performance and installation artist interested in iconography, Hollywood, fairy tales and feminine representation. The area of concern within my practice regards scopophilia, an “association with taking other people as objects, subjecting them to a controlling curious gaze” — Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975, p.17)
My artwork negotiates the subject of conflicted personality between the original and the exaggerated; which I explore in performance, video, billboard installations and photography. For example Sarah Churchwell’s “Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe” discusses Marilyn Monroe in a relationship with her overt sexual presents; “narcissism locates responsibility for voyeurism in the object of the gaze; she invites us to watch her, she likes it, she wants it. The double entendres in such a phrases – she wants it – are no accident: she encourages us to want her body because she wants her own. For Freud, the narcissist is her own object of desire.” (2004, p.198).
You have some pretty exciting projects coming up for the Surftides Lincoln City hotel, and for Tart and Farmer’s Daughter—can you tell us a little bit about them?
KB: I’ve been working on a wallpaper project for the Surftides Lincoln City, a hotel in Oregon, which will launch in the summer of 2016. I was commissioned to design wallpaper based on a unique fairytale that I created especially for the boutique coastal hotel. This wallpaper will go live within the next 6 months in 84 rooms!
This is a bold move by the owner Ellen Picataggio, who also owns Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in Los Angeles.
When creating the wallpaper design I wanted it to have a moral—and this quote from Thich Nhat Hahn encapsulates the meaning behind the fairy tale of Atargatis: Changing is not just changing the things on the outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.
Here is the story that I wrote with inspiration from Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote:
In mythology the goddess Atargatis was often depicted in mermaid form. The legend has it that she dove into the magic sea to transform into a fish. As she submerged herself into the dark waters the Kraken lurked in the murky ocean. His large tentacles lay dormant waiting to feed. As Atargatis swam further into the mystical sea the Kraken seized her, entwining the siren within his arms. A metamorphosis began to transpire… As Atargatis struggled from within the grips of the Kraken her legs converged into one entity — a tail. Her skin flourished with iridescent scales. Her shiny new tail allowed her to wriggle free. Atargatis swam as fast as she could back to the shore where she could rest. Now a half woman half fish, she pondered her encounter with the Kraken and sighed, relieved that she was still half human.
Atargatis took rest on a rock with her tail submerged in water. Behind this rocky shoreline were beds of tropical flowers and rainforest trees. She noticed a beautiful humming bird in the distance. Distressed it drew closer. Pursued by a Stympahalide, this startled and frightened beauty flew straight to Atargatis’ lap for safety. The mythical Stympahalides are perpetually hungry carnivorous birds that attack and devour people. Atargatis frightened by the beast imagined she’d be better off transforming into a bird. And as if by the magic of the hummingbird’s song, Atargatis grew wings and her hair blossomed with feathers. Atargatis stretched out her wings and a gust of wind took her into flight.
She flew far into the forest to take refuge from the Stympahalide. Atargatis, now part human, fish and bird, was relieved of her lucky escape. She hid amongst the branches of the dense forest trees until nightfall. However her tail needed water. Without it she could barely stay alive, yet her beautiful wings weighted so very heavy in water. Atargatis’ greed — her longing — had brought her to this uncomfortable place. She cried heavy tears as she realized she had become something she was not. She wished she could be human again.
After I created the fairytale based on the Thich Nhat Hahn quote the illustration element was straightforward. I just illustrated the story. The repeat wallpaper design bounced back a few times adding additional components. We are currently changing the colour palette for the 2nd time, as the 84-guest rooms interior palette was recently reworked from denims to natural tones. Change is an expected element in design. What is always engaging is nothing like having an amazing collaborative client who values customized designs. The work intern becomes their creative baby as much as it is yours.
After the Surftides commission I was asked to develop the wallpaper for the restrooms of the LA-based Farmer’s Daughter Hotel restaurant Tart, which sits across the street from The Grove. Without giving away too much before the hotel’s foyer re-launch in summer 2016, I can say that both the male and female restrooms will have a uniquely different design. For inspiration were are drawing the outside inside by bringing outside garden / nature inside the building with a fairy tale overtone.
My inspiration for the women’s restrooms can be understood through these two quotes: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” – Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“All things truly wicked start from innocence.” – Ernest Hemingway
The design is an amalgamation of Tim Burton does Red Riding Hood at Grandmother’s house with a topsy turvy Alice in Wonderland feel. The Lewis Carroll quote mashed in with Hemingway. The females bathroom is quintessentially kitsch whilst the men’s is more beast like.
This quote from Angela Carter in the film A company of Wolves will give you a little insight into my vision for the men’s restrooms: “The worst kind of wolves are hairy on the inside, and when they bite you, they drag you with them to Hell.”
The wallpaper will have a linear feel with the trunks of the forest trees. This bathroom will have an undertone of being sexually charged. For example, things to look out for on the wallpaper design will be skeleton bones and lost underwear in the foreground of the forest.
As a fine artist your work covers a vast range of creative forms of expression, can you tell us about some of your interests and talents?
KB: With 15 years of working in the fashion industry it was only a matter of time before clothing, hand sewing in particular, transpired into the artwork. Three years ago I was to perform a poem “The Wolves that Venture out of the Woods” loosely based on Red Riding Hood and needed about six male volunteers to become my forest and adorn masks. Initially I looked at latex wolf masks then without question I started to create my own hand crafted and sewn wolf masks. The first looked like a fox. He reminded me of when I lost my virginity. Made from felt the mask palette is seductive in reds and pinks.
Fantasy, play and storytelling enriched these masks like a childhood toy or desirable object. Autobiographic content and projection of attachment filters continued into this practice. The wolf masks became a body of work. They represent my pre-loved past loves, constructed from childhood development fabrics such as felt and fur. The sexual allure and prowess of these masks relates to Red Riding Hood, the morality tale used to warn pre-pubescent young women of dangers in the forest and the wolves that lurk within it. In the film A Company of Wolves (1984), writer Angela Carter revises the Red Riding Hood folktale; charmed by the wolf, Red strays off the path and eventually turns into a wolf herself, thus becoming the hunter. The masks that I make are saturated with narrative and represent my own warning to not stray from the path too often.
How did you begin working as an artist and what inspired you to pursue this path?
KB: Over the years most of the fashion collections I have created have been transmuted from work seen in galleries. Whether it was a colour palette from a painting or clothing informed by a sculpture. However I lost my way for a while. I got a full time design position, a car and a mortgage. After all my bills I had $100 a week to socialize, feed and cloth myself. So I came to be a regular on the art gallery circuit. Planning my nights out based on when each galleries free bar would shut. I was out almost every night to free events. I worked this circuit for 2 year when out of the blue I announced I was having a solo art show. Note most peoples surprise ‘you’re an artist?’. 6 month later we opened the show at the aMBUSH Gallery, Sydney to raving reviews. I was heavily sponsored and it was more than an art show it was a whole visual feast and a circus production. I made and curated 102 artworks, we had 2 pole dancers, a contortionist, dwarves dressed as cupid handing out vibrating cock rings (these were a last minute sponsor as my dress makers husband worked for a condom company), 2 bands, a DJ, a film crew and press. The major alcohol sponsor was an absinthe brand; with supplied mixologist making love potion cocktails, 2 females dressed as green fairies and 2 topless male waiters working the bar.
It was so successful that I could not ignore my possible future career ahead as an artist. 4 months later I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and moved to back to England to do a masters in fine art. Note: I had not applied to the course at this point and there was no plan B. Within a month of being in England I had my interview at Central Saint Martin’s and thank god they let me in.
I have now gone on to produce a second solo show with a 3rd planned for early 2016.
Why is art as a form of communication important to the world we live in?
KB: Everything on earth has been designed and creativity lies in every particle. Creativity is something we are all born with and we never really loose. However as children at some point we all choose between swapping the coloured pencils and some like me metaphorically pick up bigger paintbrushes. Today I think more people question life and try to understand their position in the world. The creativity that lies in us all encourages this freedom of thought.
With many art forms transcending into mainstream, the general awareness of current artists and movements are on the increase. It’s natural that art as a form of communication is constantly important to the world we exist in– hopefully inspiring us to question life to make better choices and to be responsible for our own happiness and future generations.
What is it about fairy tales in general that strikes you?
KB: Fairy tales were the first stories to capture my imagination as a child. I actually believe they’re a fantastic tool for childhood development. They are a combination of morals with a touch of mystical and supernatural elements that propel the creativity. A work colleague once said she disliked Nemo’s mother dying in the beginning of Finding Nemo. I said, “It’s unfortunate, but life is not rosy and children cannot be protected from the Grim Reaper taking away people they love.” Even grown men were known to weep at Bambi’s mother being shot half way through the film. Life isn’t perfect and fairy tales communicate that.
From an adult perspective, fairy tales have a whole darker element; in particular, from a scholar’s level, the unraveling of the encrypted symbolism is prolific. For me as an adult deciphering fables in depth is like first finding out that Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s sister, really???
An example of my symbolic revelation is the path to grandmother’s house, a warning of imminent puberty. The journey along the path is of a girl into woman-hood and the wolves that lurk in the forest represent the dangers of man.
In contrast to my embrace of fables for children for their moralist quality, there is also a conflict within me. I found I had a division between my childhood ideals and existence in an adult sexualized society. For this reason I began entwining and reworking fairy tales within my artwork. Over the last few years I have resonated with Red Riding Hood and explored the fables darker-side. I have reexamined the fable making artwork with autobiographic content with the view of working through my self-divide.
What kind of impact do you hope to have on your audience?
KB: I’d like to think I am the narrator using art to explore ideas of my social concerns. Ideas that could resonate with adjusting to the life and times we are in today. I would hope the audience could entertain the position of a voyeur or scopophiliac. There is also the view that through my journey the observer could interpret their position of being a woman. Not to eradicate the male spectator but the work is about being female. Personally never owning a sausage and two meatballs I can’t ever comment on being a man.
Can you tell our readers about some of the projects you’ve worked on over the years?
KB: The “Love Coffee Tour // Creatively Made” in Swindon, England, which I did in February 2015, was a concept that arose from my passion for coffee. The British supermarket chain Tesco’s has a silent 50% share-hold in coffee store Harris + Hoole. The other stake shareholder is Taylor St Coffee owners Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley. The H+H store based in my home town Tesco’s, Swindon, lacked a footfall trade; tucked away up the escalators and through Narnia’s wardrobe (the fashion department). I suggested to management for me to host an event. Swindon is often deficient in creative projects, festivals and an overall art scene. The event I coordinated turned into a 3.5-mile radius tour of three artisan coffee stores that have opened in the last year. My concept was Love Coffee for Valentines Day. To participate each patron visited all three artisan coffee stores for a beverage in one day on Valentines Day to enter a draw to win free coffee for a year. The loyalty card stamps were unique to each venue Baila, Darkroom Espresso and Harris + Hoole. The event was a huge success, with great press and social media coverage driven across, newsprint, radio, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I liaised with three venues, arranged sponsorship, wrote copy, designed promotional material, illustrated the map, logo and branding, filmed and edited a promo video and created a website.
On the night of the launch the video ran across 18 TV screens at the top of the escalators of Tesco’s during the preview event on February12, 2015 and the tour day February 14, 2015. The preview night also showcased a coffee tasting experience. After the draw prize I put together a detailed database and projection plan for future tours.
In addition to the tour I orchestrated Creatively Made In Swindon. An art and design exhibition displayed over the three venues during the Love Coffee Tour, which continued into March. For the exhibition I collaborated with seven local artists to curate and install the show.
In October 2014 I opened my second solo exhibition “Preloved” at m2 Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Flying into Australia from England the art creations were limited to fit into the aircraft hold in a 20kg suitcase. With secured sponsorship in place the show install was done 24 hours prior to the private view. The “Preloved” private view opened on October 31, Halloween, with guests and patrons encouraged to come in costume. The event was engaging with a large turn out of media, local creative and art patrons.
For the “Kembrey Park Billboard” project and art installation in Swindon, England in March 2014 I organized the loan and sponsorship of the billboard on Swindon’s Magic Roundabout owned by Kembrey Park. The 3 x 6 metre photographic print was installed for a weekend on Swindon’s famous landmark once twinned with Disneyland from 2009 to 2010. On the morning of March 30th I arranged a performance.
The “Welcome to the Brightside Extravaganza” launched at the aMBUSH Gallery, in Sydney, Australia in February 2012 and launched with a private view on Valentine’s Day, 2012. This was my first solo show, where 1000 people attended opening night. The event showcased not only my art but also my event coordination skills. With a 6-month lead time I successfully secured sponsorship and alcohol early. I made and installed all the art. Managed a sales team. Drafted a filmographer and photographer to document the event. On the night I arranged a feast of entertainment for patrons such as; pole dancing by Bobbi’s Pole Dancing Studio, contortions by Bendy Em, roaming dwarf cupids by Dwarf Your Party and live music by Erskine Brown, Mr Bamboo and The Cope Street Parade. Complimentary ice-cold XXXX Summer Bright Beer and Green Fairy Absinth cocktails were served by ‘muscled up’ topless waiters. The exhibition ran alongside an online catalogue with works for sale, allowing international buyers to remotely buy works.
This successful exhibition inspired my relocation back to London to pursue and complete an MA in Fine Art.
How do the roles women are “expected” to fill in society fit into your work?
KB: That’s a heavy question! I explore ideas about me personally being a female and my plight. I would never dare speak for the royal ‘we’. However you could say I socially comment on myself being a woman in today’s society. I have two bodies of artwork; “The Mask Series” and “The Exaggerated Female Series”. The Masks investigate a girl’s childhood naivety juxtaposed with a liberal sexualized society. “The Exaggerated Female” examines how Hollywood created the commoditized female, the self-division of woman and girl, the conflicted personality between the original and the exaggerated.
What inspired you to incorporate the use of masks into your work?
KB: “The Mask Series” extends the idea that with role-play children have a natural inclination to personify toys and invest the objects with human attributes. A child’s first desirable object away from fist-to-mouth and the mother’s breast becomes enriched with feelings. Both projection and self-identification mechanisms operate. The physical excitement the child has for the plush toy is akin to the climax of an orgasm. So it’s no coincident that the fabrication of my wolf masks are made from childhood development fabrics of felt and fur.
The series began after ex-boyfriend number 16 called me at 2 a.m. one day. He was in a different city so it wasn’t a booty call. He had broken my heart 3 months earlier and I still found it hard to talk so I didn’t answer the call. However I wrote a poem that night “The Wolves that Venture out of the Woods.” A few days later I was invited to perform it. I set about looking for volunteers to become my forest and adorn masks. Initially I looked at latex wolf masks then without question I started to create my own hand sewn wolf masks. The first looked like a fox taking on the persona of the nocturnal mammal, only going out at night to hunt for prey. I fashioned the mask in reds and pinks. Also reminded me of when I lost my virginity. It wasn’t long before the mask developed into a series with each one representing a pre-loved past love that I’ve personified with its own story and poem.
As the series developed the fox grew into a grotesque wolf with big teeth and elongated tongues. Number 18 formed a freestanding soft toy with two faces, innocent and beastly. 19 is a Red Riding Hood Cloak made up of all the previous mask templates. The cloak has this enormous black afro wig hood and a harlequin mask to encompass 19 personae. Number 20 took 3 months to create. I remade all of the masks in detail to 20s patterns, sewing them together to form a burlesque costume. Number 21 is a onesie, again made from the 20 previous mask template. For me the onesie is a particular intriguing costume and comments highly on the gentleman it was founded on “The fashion crime of the century the ‘Onesie’ has a plushophilia quality. This sordid grown-up baby-grow is comparable to an adult in a mascot plush suit; welcoming you into Disneyland in his cum-stained pants from rogering Snow White on the Tea-Cup ride just before the Parade.”
Now as each costume that is created also has its own mask. These latter creations take on more female attributes with hair extensions and eyelashes.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what is it that draws you to them?
KB: The artists with the most current impact are Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Judy Chicago, Tracy Emin, Sarah Lucas, Mary Reid Kelley and Juan Pablo Echeverri. I would say I draw on each one for different elements to inform my artwork.
It was Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Series (1977-80) that resonated into my practice. The artist impersonates various female character types from movies. Sherman’s film stills depict the female form as if they are photographs for advertising used to sell the film as a commodity, to be shown on billboards or in magazines or newspapers. Sherman’s film stills are not from actual films and thus evoke unique narratives and interpretations in the viewer. The photographs capture a pause between moments of action, invoking the idea of the viewer as surveillant.
In Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills and iconic images of Marilyn Monroe I found a comparative language. Both often depict a female form photographed suggestively for the purposes of advertising and commodification. With this in mind, I have begun to weave the female icon as a commodity into my practice through the development of the Miss Brightside character. I’m investigating scopophilla, that is, the pleasure of looking since there is pleasure in being looked at. With this in mind I began the photograph series Tragic Kingdom #1 (2014) revealing Miss Brightside’s conflicted persona as she gazes into a mirror, trapped. This image was printed billboard size and installed on Swindon’s Magic Roundabout.
I am drawn to Sophie Calle’s depiction of human vulnerability. Calle’s exploration of identity and intimacy questions the role of the audience, with the spectator compellingly drawn into violations of privacy.
It’s Paul and Damon McCarthy’s depraved depiction and altered disneyifation that draws me to appreciate the extensive body of artwork. In particular, the wild dark humour of Rebel Dabble Babble transposes an underlying narrative from Snow White to movie references of Rebel Without a Cause and Splendour in the Grass. The cross-pollination of characters both from real depiction, Hollywood fable or gossip explore and inspire my own interest in the multi persona.
For me, Cary Levine, the author of “Pay for your Pleasure” (2013) described below, explains why Mike Kelley’s influence on my wolf mask series has be profound.
“What is benign and routine in children is considered utterly depraved when replicated by adults – a contradiction accentuated by captions like the titles in Kelley’s work ‘Manipulating Mass-produced Idealized Objects’ that point out that such toys are the products of commercialism and cultural ideals rather than innate infantile inclinations.”
The benign and routine behaviour of children that Levine suggests is also discussed in the ‘Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena’ theories of W.D. Winnicott’s essay “Playing and Reality,” which is woven into Kelley’s work. The main theory here is that ‘a new-born infant’s fist-to-mouth activities eventually lead on to attachment to a teddy, a doll or soft toy, or to a hard toy’ (Winnicott, 2005, p.2). The plush toy or doll is thus a desirable object.
Fantasy, play and storytelling enrich these childhood toys and desirable objects– just as they do within the wolf “Mask Series.”
The attention to women and women’s history through needlepoint is what draws me to Judy Chicago. Her five decades of work have used art as a vehicle to comment on the interchanging social plight of women. Chicago’s appropriation of materials resonates in my practice—I hand craft and sew to notarize history’s Image result for subjectification of women, as needlepoint once defined our level of worth.
I was 16 when I first engaged in the integral intimacy of Tracy Emin’s work. The autobiographical content and expression of emotions resonated with my younger self. To this day the impact of her work is woven into my practice. I believe her inherent vulnerability is fearless. That exposure makes both the work and the individual open to critical comment. The artwork and artist are co-dependent. It’s that relationship that I hope is evident in the “The Mask Series.”
Personally, while I was growing up British media and comedians on film and TV had a particular style of suggestiveness such as the Carry On films with innuendos and explicit sexualization. Sarah Lucas’ artwork embodies that magnetic lewd British humour. Ofter overtly sexual, Lucas for me manipulates and projects a social concern of objectification. I particularly relate to her practice that takes on the female form as an object.
I’m drawn to Mary Reid Kelley’s video artwork with its distinctive visual language. The costumes and makeup of her fictitious characters adopt a black and white palette. It also resonates with my practice by appropriating historical narratives in conflict with utopian beliefs and women’s liberation.
What is inspiring you right now?
KB: An amalgamation of Juan Pablo Echeverri and the suppression of women in musical theatre. The body transformation Juan Pablo Echeverri explores to embody multi personas captivates me. I’m particular responsive to his performance art with his style of documentation of a performance re-worked in the genre of music videos. I have approached this in my practice for a while revising musical theatre show tunes wearing costumes from the “Preloved” series. For a symposium in London in June 2014 I created a music video to ‘Dance Ten, Looks Three’ from A Chorus Line interjecting original film footage and images related to the lyrics ‘tits and arse.’
In October 2014 I produced the video Into the Woods, the music is an enchanting version of ‘Doll on a Music Box’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and additional material from Busby Berkeley Collections (Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1935, 42nd Street). Filmed in my hometown with the tree line of the local woods simulating the legs from the visuals of the 1935 films.
In October 2014, my solo show “Preloved” featured a live performance, which was edited to the music ‘You Give a Little Love’ from Bugsy Malone.
The next video in the pipeline for 2016 encompasses ‘I Enjoy Being a Girl’ from Rodgers and Hammersteins’ ‘Flower Drum Song.’ It features my concluding mask costume “The Wedding Dress.”
One of the questions I am always asked is how does the “Mask Series” conclude? I simply answer, “When I get married.” On that resolution I have concluded “The Mask Series” by making my wedding dress. Note, I’m currently single! The dress is made from white fur on the outside and on the inside red felt. The white portrays the innocent and the red symbolizes danger, sex, the female prowess or hunter. This time the mask does not belong to any man in particular but represents the imminent husband who lurks at the white picket fence at Grandmother’s house.
What kinds of themes are you currently incorporating into your work?
KB: Hollywood and how it created the woman as we know her. Since the invention of the moving image in 1914 the evolution of women has transformed. We have been given the vote, which led to trouser pants as an acceptable garment choice, control on fertility, the sexual revolution and a new breed of female breadwinners.
As the appearance of women evolved throughout the decades one remarkable woman changed the face of women as we know them– I believe Marilyn Monroe developed a formula. Famous for the bleach blonde hair, Nike ‘swoosh’ eyebrows, a full red lip pout and that iconic mole. Monroe’s ‘perfecting oneself’ beauty regime has been reproduced over the decades; whether blonde or brunette, we all accentuate what God gave us, and for some, to the point of becoming unrecognizable to our own mothers. Today’s instantaneous ricochet of social media and Hollywood’s expansive reach has women cutting, perfecting and judging themselves. Now a social concern, it has filtered down to young girls. With the above theme in mind, I intend on incorporating and expanding this as a body of work.
What has been your favorite project so far and why?
KB: That can be like asking which one of your children you prefer!
“The Mask Series” for me is unapologetic and honest, and in life you cant get to a higher consciousness without emotionally connecting.
How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?
KB: I never stop wanting to be better at what I do. More educated. More cultured. Productive levels can never be measured. I don’t judge my output, I just try to achieve something everyday to reach my innovative goals. People are the biggest influence. I surround myself with creative positive people from all artistic fields to keep my vibration high. Their passion and talent is infectious on my work and myself as a person.
You’ve also produced a lot of events — can you tell us about how you first began working as a producer, and what led you to take on a role that is so different from being an artist?
KB: I don’t know if I can answer how being a producer differs from an artist. I have always been both, and I wouldn’t say it was one event that led me to being a producer. Growing up my mum was a personal assistant, she was a positive influence; organization was just something that came inherently to me. I see the whole picture in its entirety. I see the art. I see the event. I visualize the process of every step, every person who is needed to create this, it’s just how my mind works.
What do you hope to achieve in your career?
KB: I have 4 artistic goals: To get a Turner Prize Nomination before 2022. To launch my book “Secrets behind the Masks.” To do a PHD in Fine Art. To open an international art school with worldwide candidates; free education and accommodation for creative talents. Open to all art forms, including Music, Film, Illustration, Fashion and Fine Arts. 3 years scholarship to make creative dream viable. A more personalized education to support artist and creative dreamer build their careers.