Friday, 7 January 2011

Q & A with Tinsel Edwards

The Rebel: Are you feeling confident about your future? Are you hopeful about things going your way in 2011?
Tinsel: “I’m definitely excited about the year ahead, and fairly confident, a little apprehensive about some things but I think that’s a good thing. I feel that I’m at an interesting stage in my work and I’m looking forward to cracking on with it. Hopeful? Yes I think so!”

How much of an influence has Stella Vine had on your work?
“I like her work but I don’t see it as a big influence, I think people make the association because we both use text in our paintings.
I discovered her work when Saatchi bought her Diana painting and it was on TV. I’d been using text in my paintings for couple of years before that, it was definitely really inspiring to see her have that big break as I recognized some similarities in my work.
I really like the simplicity and directness of her painting.”

Do you think that indifference is the worst response an artist can get?
“Yes possibly…it would be quite disheartening, but to be expected sometimes as not everyone is into art.”

Do you think it's possible to be powerful and not abuse your position?
“Yes.  I’m sure there are lots of powerful people in the world who might abuse their position but I’m sure there are also lots of caring, considerate powerful people who use their power responsibly and in active positive ways.”

Of all the projects/shows/cds/exhibitions you had a hand in over the last decade which make you proud and which make you cringe?
“I’m proud of the ‘Here Today’ exhibition that me and Twinkle Troughton curated a couple of months ago, The Punk exhibition which I co-curated with James Bradshaw.  Doing a solo exhibition in Berlin, exhibiting in a massive group show in Poland last year, selling my work to Banksy and taking part in the Santa’s Ghetto show on Oxford street, being part of the Stella Dore gallery. Launching Pushing Pussy Records and going on tours to New York with the Fairies Band. Luckily there aren’t many of the projects I’ve done which make me cringe, I do however cringe ALOT when I think about forgetting the lyrics to one of our songs when we were on a live radio programme in Philadelphia. “

 How did you meet Twinkle and how much has she influenced/inspired you?
“Twinkle and I met at primary school when we were 9 years old, over the years we have collaborated on loads of different projects together, we even started a fanzine when we were still at school.  Since then we became the Fairies with Tinky and Sparkle, formed the Fairies Band, launched a record label.  We’ve also done lots of exhibitions together, and more recently curated a group show.
We’ve just always worked quite naturally together, we bounce ideas off each other.  Twinkle has definitely been a massive inspiration, its invaluable being able to meet up and critically discuss each others work.”

Why did the Stella Dore gallery have to close? Are you still friends?
“I think it was just bad timing for Stella Dore and it’s a real shame it had to close.  After doing really well online, Steph Warren who ran it opened the gallery on Rivington street in Shoreditch, she worked really hard to create a really beautiful and interesting space.  However the recession hit soon afterwards, and it wasn’t possible to continue with it for financial reasons.”

How do you pay the bills? How broke are you?
“More broke than I’ve been in a while! When Elvi came along I left the job I was doing which had given me a good, steady income. Now I work part time, teaching private drawing and painting classes at The Art Group Studios which is brilliant but only a couple of times a week, that and selling paintings/prints every now and again keeps me afloat.”

What do you like most about Bob & Roberta Smith?
“Honesty, wit, his style of humour, the self reflection, the fact that he uses his work to voice his opinions.  I also really like it aesthetically.”

Do you think the Turner Prize has run it's course and no one seems interested anymore?
“I have to admit that I haven’t paid much attention to it in recent years, I hope it hasn’t ran its course but it would be good to see some more exciting and interesting work nominated soon.”

Can you imagine Nick Clegg surviving in power? Can you imagine a Con/Lib coalition surviving?
“I feel sad about the whole coalition thing, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems stood for some really fair and good ideas and now that all seems to have been swallowed up by the Tories.  I can’t imagine Nick Clegg surviving at the moment as he has lost a lot of respect.  I hope the coalition won’t survive, I’m all for fairness and equality, and so far I don’t see that from this government, privatization of public services is one thing that the Tories are notorious for and its already started happening.  It means that those public services are no longer regulated and everything becomes driven by profit.
When I was born Maggie got in and the Tories weren’t booted out until I was 18.  Now they are back - just after my son was born, I’m really hoping it won’t stay that way until Elvi is 18!”

Tell me about your most recent painting?
“My most recent painting is based on an image taken at the London conference about the war in Afghanistan. It immediately struck me as a really intriguing and powerful image.  There are lots of politicians all dressed in black suits posing for the photo, its like a sea of black suits against a backdrop of ornate gold and flock-patterned carpet, which struck me as so far removed from the reality and horror of war and death.
There won’t be any text on it this time, and the painting style is quite different and experimental in contrast with my previous work. Its opinionated, but this piece is also an exploration of the power of an image, and the story behind it.  Compared with some of my earlier work which could be a concise one liner, this piece hints or suggests rather than explains, leaving more space for reflection on the subject it tackles.” 

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