How did you get involved with art?
I have been taking and making pictures for a long time, but it’s only in the last few years that I have had the confidence to go public with them, initially thanks to groups like Arts and Minds and Exposure Leeds giving me both the opportunity and the confidence to do so. It was being part of the Place and Memory project back in 2013 that really kickstarted me though. That gave me the confidence to study art in a more formal setting and I became a student at Leeds College of Art on their Masters in Creative Practice course. I loved it so much that I decided to continue formal study and I am now at Huddersfield University studying for a practice based PhD.
My influences are varied but include a love of Misty Comic, atmospheric black and white horror films from the 1930’s and 1940’s, Scooby Doo, Victorian mourning culture, Victorian writers like Elizabeth Gaskell and Mary Elizabeth Braddon and old cemeteries.
What art forms are you working with or enjoy the most?
I am a gothic photographic artist and I use a range of vintage film cameras to take and make photographs with. Once the film has been developed I scan the negatives and do different things with them. Sometimes I print them digitally, sometimes I make cyanotypes or anthotypes (that’s images created out of the juice of plants) with them, sometimes I print them and then transfer them onto different kinds of material including coffin lining material using matte medium.
How does the word CONNECT resonate with you?
For a long time I didn’t have the confidence or the wherewithal to be creative. This was one of the things that made me very unhappy and also made me feel like I wasn’t being truly myself. Once I’d started to be creative I realised the strong connection for me between creativity and feelings and how I feel much more like myself and lots happier when I’m being creative. I think that connection is true for lots of other people too and when it’s suppressed or denied it leads to unhappiness.
I also think we need to be more aware of past events that have helped shape the present, on a personal and on a collective level. I think it’s sad and also potentially damaging when those connections between then and now get lost, forgotten or hidden.
Tell me more about your exhibition/event for Love Arts? Where and when can we find you?
I’ve been researching the history of St George’s Field and making work featuring it since picking it as my place when I was part of the Place and Memory Project. It’s the former graveyard on the edge of Leeds University Campus. I’ll be showing some of the work I’ve been making of it over the last few months, looking at the past and our connections to and with it.
You’ll be able to come and see it upstairs at Kapow Coffee House, Thornton’s Arcade. They’re open Monday til Saturday 8am til 6pm and Sunday 10am til 5pm throughout the festival.
[You can find out more about Morticia’s exhibition here]
Have you exhibited before?
I’ve had work on show in the Love Arts Festival big group show, have been part of the Place and Memory shows at Trinity and Inkwell, This Is My Place at White Cloth Gallery, Out of the Shadows at St Johns, Studio 24 as part of the MA degree show but all these have been alongside other artists. This will be my first solo show. EEK!!
How has Arts and Minds helped you with showcasing your work?
I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without Arts and Minds giving me the space and confidence to begin exploring and expressing my creative side and for taking the expression of that creative side seriously. Alongside my supportive husband and friends – I’m forever indebted to all of them. Arts and Minds have also been really helpful with providing practical advice on hanging and displaying work and getting it out there too.