Climate change, plastic pollution, water pollution, deforestation… these are just a few of the many reasons to why our planet is in its current state. With roughly over 240 billion plastic bottles becoming plastic waste in the ocean, polluting our fragile ecosystem, these are causing potentially irreversible damages to the planet we may never recover from. However, another threat is among us, potentially resulting from ever exploitative practices and humans being pushed to source food from ever widening areas; the pandemic of Covid-19, putting the world on hold and facing this problem head on. I feel this pandemic offers the chance for people to pause and pay attention to our afflictions on the world, especially now that the issue is affecting every person in a personal way.
My subject matter I have been working with in my practice is the idea of a ‘Contemporary Dystopia’, in the form of a ‘Post-Human World’.
Using my imagination, as well documentation of current dystopian realities afflicting our planet, I conjured this idea of our modern world as a dystopia and created small drawings of how I would depict this. Considering the fact that we presently are under rules and lockdowns, the control of society presently – had a major influence on my practice. I wanted to use this opportunity to use my work as a visual message to society that if we do not change our daily habits, a disaster such as the pandemic could happen again. However, I am not only addressing this particular issue in my practice, rather all issues affecting the world such as climate change and plastic pollution.
Using the situation of the pandemic to my advantage I was able to wonder the empty streets and gather inspiration for my work. I noticed drastic changes to the City of London, a lot of neglected litter but mainly masks. I would record everything I would see on my walks by taking photos and storing them in my inventory to use for inspiration and reference.
An Artist who has influenced my practice is Raqib Shaw. Shaw’s work contains elements of mythology, poetry, religion, science and natural history as well as reflecting his own personal imagination and fantastical worlds. He creates paintings with intricate detail, using enamel and metallic industrial paints and manipulated and applied with a porcupine quill. Shaw’s work influenced me to get back into painting, I feel painting can really capture the raw effortless and emotion which the artist applies to in their work.
Wanting a challenge, I also immersed myself into the world of digital art as an accessible and resourceful way of creating. An artist that influenced me in this was Mike Winkelmann, a Digital Media Artist, graphic designer and animator known professionally as Beeple or Beeple-Crap. Creating comical, phantasmagoric works that makes political, social commentary while using pop culture figures as references.
Reflecting on my piece ‘Final Peace’, this finalises my series of ‘Contemporary Dystopia’. Ending on a note of the world thriving without humanity and nature taking its place. The deer in the centre of this piece symbolises hope, that people begin to realise we must change our habits and what we perceive as the norm, and to maybe one day live in a world were nature thrives with us.
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