Well, Black Swan Arts had me at 'Small and Mighty'... the name of their latest group show in Frome's Round Tower Gallery. I'm already rooting for the contributors and when I saw that artist Mellony Taper was part of it, I knew I had to chat with her and share that with you here on the blog.
Mellony's work first caught my eye on Instagram - the distant memories within it appear as if they are emerging through the haze. Her creations feel almost dreamlike to me and I was keen to discover more about them and the Black Swan Arts show, so here are Mel's 'Four Thoughts' - answers to four questions we thought you'd love to know the answers to.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your work and what inspires you?
Inspiration exists but it has to find you working! I think most artists would tell you that you just have to keep showing up at the coal face and cracking on. But that aside, I’m interested in how trad media meets new, where you can place that point, and how far you can push it.
I’m currently inspired by merging my work across media - for example, oil painting and photography - to create works I think of as palimpsests, or ghost signs: layers upon layers, partially obliterated, layered again, written and overwritten, creating something new, with glimpses of the past visible.
This body of work is very much inspired by witnessing my own child’s experience of childhood, and by what I like to think of as the archetypal British seaside holiday perhaps - those precious places revisited again and again. A thousand tiny moments captured on camera.
I create oil and pastel works and layer them with my original photographs, sometimes 50 or more layers and processes, or sometimes the perfect serendipity will come with just one or two. I can then work with my photographs and layers in the same way I would the traditional layers of media - manipulating, painting, relayering, until I have the finished piece. Mounted behind acrylic glass, the viewer and the reflections become part of the piece.
2. What can people expect from 'Small & Mighty' and what are you looking forward to about it the most?
I’m very excited about ‘Small & Mighty’ as it's my first show with the Black Swan Guild, and they are such a fantastically talented group of artists and makers. The name derives from our relatively fledgling status as a Guild, as well as a hint to what the show is about: small works across a wide variety of media from prints and paintings to jewellery and textiles and glass sculptures. We could easily have subtitled it ‘The Devine and Perfect Christmas Gift Emporium’ - so I earnestly encourage you to bring your credit card and perhaps a small team of Sherpas! ;)
I'll be exhibiting some of my works in a special edition size of 20cm x 20cm ( as well as larger sizes) that evoke snapshots or Polaroids - a snapshot in time that’s simultaneously made up of every memory of and visit to that place you ever remember.
3. If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why?
I’d really love to take my work into 3 dimensions, or into a more immersive installation-type experience at some point. So, someone like Luke Jerram would be amazing! I was also really inspired by pieces shown by Lisa Scantlebury and Alyson Minkley at this year’s RWA Open exhibition. I think they’d all have some really amazing ideas and would take my thinking in directions it might otherwise never have gone - and that’s good, right?!
4. Tell us a secret about you or your art that no-one else knows!
I think I’m a closet street artist. I love words and I love typography. To me, one of those walls on the side of an abandoned building, with 20 year’s worth of graffiti, street art and band posters is heaven. I do love a half-obliterated band poster!
Ahh - an artist after my own heart. I love typography too... and we'll be doing more than just wishing we were there at the Round Tower ;). We'll be heading over to see the show and if you'd like to as well, the launch is this Friday, 30th November, from 6-8pm, when there'll also be festive shopping with artists and makers across the Black Swan Arts building in Frome.
Can't wait to see the exhibition in the flesh!
'Small & Mighty’ by the Black Swan Guild will be at the Round Tower Gallery, Black Swan Arts, Bridge St, Frome, from November 30th to Christmas Eve. You can find Mellony on Instagram and also follow the adventures of the Black Swan Arts Guild, here on Twitter