here are our residencies. These are some of the wonderful people who we admire...
CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO BE TAKEN TO THE RESIDENT
Layla Andrews is an incredible artist and curator with a vibrant style and flair for portraiture. Layla’s work is dynamic and zesty, she creates large scale, expressionist and abstract portraits and her politically charged works have garnered international attention, most prominently, from Barack Obama, who encouraged Layla to continue her career in art. Layla’s work offers an element of mystery - some of her works feel abstract and capricious, yet her portraits are intimate and poignant, speaking to sunlight, shadow, cuban cigars and cowboys.
Here we have Layla Andrews and her Alligators. An alligator dons a questioning t-shirt, “Who dun it?” In another piece, there is writing at the top of the painting ‘Lo Siento,’ which translates from Spanish to ‘I’m Sorry.' Layla’s alligators are playful, basking in the sunlight of her room, yet they also suggest a spirited challenge to authority; eyes twinkle with depth, perhaps satirical, perhaps perplexed.
We are really honoured to share the works of Layla Andrews here - her paintings feel quizzical; eyes gleam from the canvas, offering warmth, summer evenings and the unexpected. We feel as if we have wandered from surreal depths and deserts back to Layla’s portraits which are soft, sincere and questioning. Each piece has a story waiting to be discovered.Thank you to Layla for sharing your work with Cherry and we look forward to seeing your future projects unfold.
Nicola-Amy Thomas is a Visual Textiles Artist and Conceptual Designer, a Mental Health and Wellbeing Advocate, and a recent graduate from the University of Loughborough. A visit to her Instagram @notextiles represents all that she has achieved so far in her career, her page features vivid, vibrant colours and lots of intriguing movement held within shapes, spirals, and etchings.
The name @notextiles represents Nicola- Amy’s artistic style as “NOT your traditional textiles designer” setting herself apart in the way she connects her artistic practice to multiple mediums within the visual arts and textiles. With an emphasis on mental health, healthy relationships with the body and nature, Nicola-Amy has curated her Instagram page as both a sanctuary and a playful site of inspiration, channelling creativity into lots of projects and gorgeous online content.
When we both signed on to zoom at 11am on a Tuesday, I asked Nicola-Amy what she’d been up to and she explained that she’d been up at 5am to go swimming. Straight away, I felt that Nicola-Amy is someone with zest and vision, not only for the day ahead but also for her career. As we spoke, it became clear she drew inspiration from an active lifestyle which centres self-care and body positivity, by also allowing herself time to breathe and reset, she explained, art can become a form of therapy.
By experimenting with multi-media, Nicola-Amy is currently specialising in print methods and incorporating both digital and physical prints into her work. You can see how this experimental process influences the work she has shared with us today. Detailed impressions change their form depending on the medium; triangular shapes fold across fabric, paint strokes glisten in the sun, leaves, and foliage seem to become circular leafy veins, an artistic diagram reminds us to breathe and then is reprinted onto material, moving softly in the breeze. These careful re-interpretations of creative work suggest an ongoing transformation, deeply rooted in a sense of calm and an awareness of art and nature.
Textiles has always been a steadfast feature in Nicola-Amy’s creative work since she took the subject at GCSE. A truly creative spirit, she was also involved in the creative side of set design within theatre and performance. After GCSES, she attended Kingston College, completing a BTEC in Art and Design, as well as finishing her Textiles A Level. Determined and dedicated, Nicola-Amy used to commute between two different academic sites to complete her studies, a difficult feat but one which led her to pursue a Foundation Degree in Technical Theatre and Theatre Design at UAL.
After considering Costume and Theatre Design, Nicola-Amy changed her mind and chose to attend Loughborough to study Textiles in a sudden split decision. “It was an interesting four years,” the artist explains at length, “but the best part by far was the placement abroad.” Nicola-Amy described her time abroad as a massive turning point for herself as an artist; she travelled across Europe to become a Design Intern for an automotive company in Germany, conducting creative research and helping the company to develop car interiors. At university, Nicola-Amy had found the course limiting, so it was inspiring to meet her new mentor and discover a new-found direction. By being exposed to so much more, such as the Dutch Design Week in 2018, Nicola-Amy realised that there was no restriction on what kind of designer she could become and that being a Conceptual Designer could embody her appreciation for innovation and creativity.
Throughout university, one of Nicola-Amy’s projects explored the body and its intimacies, emphasising how the body can both “conceal and reveal.” Her work also explored mental health and wellbeing re-directing her own experiences with anxiety into a creative outlet. Nicola-Amy has continued to integrate these kinds of projects into her online content creation, sharing beautiful art, experiences and perspectives which is refreshing and affirming for her followers. When I asked to know her proudest achievement, Nicola-Amy said it had to be her university degree in which she achieved an incredible 2:1 despite everything she had to face, which is all the more impressive considering her last year of study took place amidst lockdowns and the pandemic. Nicola-Amy explains that a huge source of inspiration for her comes from travelling and exploring new places; now the lockdown is slowly lifting, she’s looking forward to jumping on a train or bus, seeking escapism and hearing stranger’s stories in new unexplored places.
I loved hearing Nicola-Amy’s story, and we are so excited to see her upcoming projects, a wide array of creative endeavours which include interior design, designing homeware, as well as collaborations with charities for mental health awareness and creating art that connects to this. We are so excited to see the next chapter unfold!
After her time in Germany, Nicola-Amy spent 6 months back in the UK working with a fashion company as their design assistant. These experiences led her to become aware of the subtle differences between the UK and Germany and the need for more representation in leadership within the UK fashion industry; throughout both of these placements, Nicola-Amy was still developing incredible work for her university course and her dissertation explored racial micro-aggressions within the UK fashion industry.
This month we were so honoured to chat to the grounded, charming and truthful Emma Bayley Melendez, founder, writer and director of Semi Detached, a beautiful blog and collective of everything feminist, artistic and creative. Emma is currently based in her hometown of Wolverhampton after studying Politics at the University of Bristol. As a writer, blogger and proud Taurus, her witty and poignant writing style offers what she terms “unpolished real talk” for articles which are punchy and candid. Emma explores a wide range of subjects from contemporary art, pop culture, social media, friendships, to her own lived experiences and personal growth. For Emma, university was three years of self-development, she loved being surrounded by like-minded people, like many graduates, Emma struggled with post-university life and returning home. “Bristol is such a vibrant city,” she explains, “it’s full of independents and creatives - I definitely identified so much with the city and struggled so much with graduating and losing what I felt I had there.” As resilient and imaginative, Emma found ways to channel her feelings into her writing.
“Home and identity have a massive influence on my work,” she observes “For me writing is like therapy (and coincidentally much cheaper than it too!) I used to really struggle with where I lived and how I felt I fitted into my hometown but since being back, I find I have a greater sense of freedom and a better understanding of who I am and where I have come from. This is having a super positive impact on my ability to write in an authentic and real way.” Emma has kept a diary from a young age, finding the process cathartic, but describes how her academic studies distracted her from creative/personal writing until her third year, when she became involved in the university newspaper. After graduating, she felt it was the right time to launch Semi-Detached and since then she has created so much relatable, down to earth content and shared a lot of beautiful art, enjoying the process and the creative freedom. “I would love to get to know more creatives and zine creators and bloggers and get my voice into the universe by writing more pieces. It’d be an absolute dream to see Semi-Detached grow and get more people engaged in what I am trying to produce. I aspire to create content and written pieces that people can relate to in one way and work that is memorable and valued.”
Emma’s blog and social media are vibrant and colourful, so we had to ask where she draws inspiration. “I like to think I notice the smaller things in life at times which I find gives me a bit of a unique perspective. Inspiration is such an abstract idea it’s really difficult to pin down where I draw my inspiration or interest, but I guess I love everyday moments and drawing meaning from situations and topics that we can all relate to in some way.” Emma is also inspired by the cities of London, Berlin and New York - appreciating their edgy, dynamic art scenes paved by emerging creatives pushing the boundaries. “I also absolutely adore New York based artists like Basquiat, Haring and Warhol. They really paved the way for the modern art movements that we know in society today and I think their intentions and desire to bring modern art to accessible locations and their focus on political art really make them revolutionary.” Emma’s written content has a wide range, from the commercialisation of art, to university culture and pithy assessments of the ‘disposable culture’ of online dating. Semi-detached is evolving and is a testament to Emma’s work ethic, drawing strength from her most difficult personal challenges. “My Grandad passed away in February 2020 and his funeral was a few days before the first national lockdown. It was unbelievably difficult, and I struggled to navigate my life during the time I was writing my dissertation. I managed to get an extension on my dissertation, but I had moments when I was incredibly close to quitting or deferring the year. Resisting this temptation took a lot of resilience but it was worthwhile and though my Grandad wasn’t alive to see my results, I know he would have been so proud of me.”
“Being the first in my generation to attend university and coming from a very working-class background I’m super proud of me being able to go to university and especially one that was admittedly very middle class. I’m proud that despite my circumstances I have always been able to retain a sense of belonging and sense of pride in my background.”
QUICK FIRE - TELL US YOUR FAVE ARTISTS!
Roo Bannister – she is one of my favourite jewellers she makes historically inspired jewellery by hand, she’s an angelic amazing woman so vibrant and kind. She also studied at Bristol, but I never knew her, and her jewels are incredible and so detailed truly one of a kind.
Elsa Rouy- she is a painter whose work has been featured in Guts Gallery and she has also been linked to Unit London. Her artwork is powerful and focuses on bodies and I think the things that would tend to make people uncomfortable.
Frida Kahlo- for me Kahlo is one of the greatest artists. She advocated for so much, she was undoubtedly gender fluid and highlighted how important it is to not limit yourself or your sense of identity. She was a disabled artist and though this point isn’t often raised, it’s so important to raise awareness of this aspect of her identity because she proved that circumstances that impact us can have an overwhelmingly empowering effect on how our lives play out. As a mixed-race woman, I have often struggled with my sense of self and felt like a bit of an inbetweener but Kahlo was incredibly proud of her Mexican heritage which comes across so much in terms of her style, aesthetic and artwork. I adore her!
For our first residency of 2021, we are proud to feature the inventive and skilful Diana Dagadita aka @ephemre. Diana is an illustrator, printmaker and “letterpress printer on hiatus,” currently based in Croydon, London. They studied BA Illustration in Southampton and were part-way through a year as an artist in residence when the first lockdown began. “I was planning a lot of screen printing action throughout March to June, but then it all came to a halt,” Diana explained, “I moved house in March and have been limited to a desk ever since. It feels so long ago now, it’s like it’s always been this way! After losing access to the printing studio, I started experimenting with digital art - I’d always said I could never learn it or get used to a graphic tablet, but now, some nine months later, it’s like an extension of myself.” Diana quickly adapted to the sudden changes, “for the first couple of months I was directly influenced by what I had around me in the house - light, shadow and the cats.” Diana has a warm and vivid illustrative style - their choice of colour palette alludes to the hazy tones of summer and autumnal evenings and this depiction of light is detailed and captivating. Diana explains how the evening/nighttime proves to be the best time to work, as they enjoy coziness, candles and the lack of distractions. “As for media,” Diana remarks “everything I’ve done this year has been either digital or I’ve used coloured pencils and markers. I’m planning on returning to my beloved lino soon too!” Diana is also the proud author of their first written, illustrated and published book titled ‘Printer’s ABC” a true testament to their talent and versatility.
Diana pursued art from a young age and it remains a steadfast aspect of their identity and story. From entering art competitions at the age of seven to attending the local art club and keeping a DIY art magazine subscription, Diana’s loyalty to the arts never wavered. When they studied Philology in High School, they even completed an extra-curricular Fine Art course at the local school of Arts and Crafts. Art formed such an integral part of Diana’s life and interests, it seemed like the right choice to research illustration courses within Higher Education in the UK.
Diana values the importance of learning at ones’ own pace, “I used to think I needed some grand motive to make art, or that it all had to mean something deep. I learned to embrace the mundane wholeheartedly and find beauty in that. I draw for myself because that’s what I do best, because I enjoy it and it’s my most natural form of communication.” We asked Diana from where they draw inspiration? “Everywhere!” comes the endearing reply, “fragments of memories, matchbox labels and stamps, ephemera in general, songs, food, light, books, a house spotted on an evening walk, mainly photos - my memory is really bad so I rely on photos I’ve taken and revisit, and rework into something that feels right.” This process of inspiration eventually creates work “that can be seen, not just felt. Some other times, I make work purely for aesthetic reasons to celebrate something I am passionate about, it is a filtered version of my experiences and what I consume.” Diana is perceptive, truthful and their mindset concerning art is intuitive and refreshing. This approach and outlook is reflected by their favourite piece titled Groceries Bag. “I was working long hours standing and was in a lot of pain - grocery shopping at night on the way home was a ritual. I dumped my bags on the kitchen chair and there it was! Inspiration struck - I didn’t have a plan or any expectations of it, just wanted to capture a moment. It was so exciting! And that one drawing informed the way I continued to work on non digital drawings for time to come.”
When we asked Diana if they had any advice for fellow artists, Diana had this to say; “Be kind to yourself. Take your time. Having a routine helps more than you think. Rest is a human right, you don’t have to earn it. Trying a new approach/technique might just be what you need. You can’t produce without recharging your creative batteries: revisit something you love, watch a film, flick through a book. Everyone is more insecure than you think, no one has it quite figured out; that’s okay. What you see on social media is not all there is - don’t look at it for too long. Make a note of that idea you have when you have it.” Diana’s words truly resonated with us and needed little editing, we are grateful to chat to someone who is so thoughtful and considered with their words. We are excited to see what Diana gets up to in the new year, but for now, check out their Etsy shop, keep an eye out for art, books, lino-prints, ink and textiles. A huge thank you to Diana for sharing their wisdom!
Who are your favourite artists!
Contemporary and known to be amazing: Louise Lockhart, Roman Muradov, JooHee Yoon, Jon McNaught, Carson Ellis, Jonny Hannah
Contemporary and deserving of more attention: Louise Gouet, Sasha Staicu, Phoebe Roze, Jono Ganz, Jordan Amy Lee, Tjitske Kamphuis
Long gone and all time favourites: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Claude Monet, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt.
Do you listen to music while you work, if so could you tell us a favourite song?
At the moment it has to be ‘Inside the Cockpit of the EVA’ (Kill Bill: The Rapper & Rav)
A few months ago, we were approached by the wonderful and sweet Eva Rodríguez and we are pleased to announce her virtual residency. Eva is from Spain but she has lived and explored many places; she lived in Pau, France and later on lived in Leipzig in Germany. Imaginative and open to adventure, Eva explains although she has returned to sunny Spain, she misses the snow and swirling rain of Germany.
Eva describes her creative practice as “kidlit” but this dreamy quality blurs the boundary of eeriness and the fairy-like nature of her work, intriguing for children and adults alike. Through the medium of illustration, Eva creates feminist re-imaginings of the classical fairy-tale, exploring escapism through her characters, which relates to her own dreamy ambition and interior world. “There’s always a patina of nostalgia and longing that coats every aspect of my life,” Eva explains “and this is a point that people can see in my art.” Eva uses traditional media, pastels, coloured pencils and gouache, most recently experimenting with watercolour, enjoying its soft transparency and its texture upon paper. For Eva art is therapeutic and immersive, “losing track of time always feels incredibly rewarding,” she adds. Eva draws inspiration from the classical Disney animators such as Glen Keane and is fascinated by folkloric stories, anything from ghosts, vampires, mermaids to Russian fairy-tales. She also revealed that silence is a source of inspiration, “I love silence, and when I’m silent, I can hear my ideas coming out.”
Eva’s art is winsome and endearing, yet her interest in the gothic fairy-tale suggests there is a world beyond her work - her characters are adventurers captured in a universe of forests, mystery and pursuit. We were so honoured to chat to such a talented artist and wish we could exist within her illustrations.
This is an extract from our newsletter! Please subscribe! This week our resident artist is Alice Burnhope, a textiles graduate from the University of Loughborough’s School of Design and Creative Arts. We met Alice when we visited her exhibition HARMONY taking place at the radical art space GALLERY NO 32 based in Bexley, Kent. The gallery is an unconventional outdoor site which questions how art operates in the natural environment; how a space may be imbued by the elements and by the general public, who become active participants as they engage with the space.
Alice’s exhibition “Harmony” has an industrial edge beside the railway lines, especially when the quiet bird-song is interrupted by the surge of the train. The gallery's founder and director Megan Stuart invites artists to immerse themselves in the landscape and the exhibitions that take place here become fluid, changing with the context of the outside world. Alice Burnhope and Gallery No.32 were not afraid to push the boundaries of texture and touch. In the cold air, Alice’s carefully crafted fabric sculptures seem sturdy and resolved, as if unfolding in their habitat. Drawing inspiration from organic forms, Alice is influenced by skin tones and nature.
On a single white wall, a soft-pink fabric flutters in the breeze, its peachy hues produced from natural dyes. In contrast, a darker square seems to reveal the embroidered outline of a city, when actually it is an example of refined laser-cutting. Alice employs reclaimed and biodegradable materials for a sustainable approach to textiles, using fabric to ensure that green spaces can be mobile and accessible for all. Fabric, space and plants synthesise within Alice's creativity and we look forward to seeing more. Gallery No. 32 is a site of metamorphosis, so as winter approaches, we are excited to see what happens next.
Alice Burnhope created this collection for her project “A Sense of Nature” which was part of the University of Loughborough’s Art Degree Show. This innovative body of work explores how green spaces can become a part of the body through garments and textiles. With re-claimed objects, edible plant features, naturally dyed fabrics, Alice brings the body back into nature and weaves the garden into material that can be worn; with creative flair, Alice quite literally embodies nature.
A large part of Alice Burnhope’s “A Sense of Nature” explores Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) and how mental health can be influenced by the lack of green space. This inspired Alice to create work which investigates the value of plants to heal and remedy the overwhelming nature of built space.
Alice is an advocate for community spaces, well-being in nature and utilises her fantastic skills in textiles to create art which celebrates nature and soothes the soul. An ambassador for Fashion Revolution, Alice has sustainability at the heart of her creative work, connecting with the outdoors from within. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Alice and we at Cherry are excited to work together once more.
Our resident of the week is Millie Elliott. Millie studied BA Photography at Falmouth University between 2015-2018. A strong advocate for studying in Cornwall, Millie always enjoyed exploring the coastline and sea, leading her to live in Brisbane, Australia for a year following her graduation.
Millie describes her process of work: “I’ve been cutting and sticking for 23 years of my life! I work combining personal and archival imagery to explore themes of dreams, memories, and the line between fact and fiction.” Metallic colours become striking reds and oranges, hues of sepia and slivers of form, clasped hands and obscure history.
"I’m hugely influenced by paintings from the Italian Renaissance (see The Mocking of Christ by Fra Angelico) and brutalist architecture. Keeping a mixture of mediums is important, but I seem to always get drawn to shapes and hands. Parts of my inspiration also come from collecting things. Whether it’s glass slides from the 1930s, scraps of paper found on the pavement, oat milk boxes or glass prisms - everything I view will have an impact on my work, even if it’s subconscious.
My influences come from many directions. The media I use varies, while I try and use images of my own I always get drawn towards found images. I might find them in the street, antique store, attic cleanout - these are images of people’s lives so I do my best to protect the people they include and the invisible weight they hold.”
Millie Elliot’s work is a familiar fantasy, moving in-between spaces of antique postcards, found objects, illusion, nature and cityscapes. Millie describes her process as “putting together a puzzle. I’ll sit on projects for weeks while adjusting and adding elements, I enjoy that my practice is paced and allows time for reflection.” Millie’s images feel like antiques but move through her contemporary scope and vision which ensures they become timeless.
I enjoy pushing the boundaries of analogue and digital techniques, and then working to combine the two. Making mistakes is important in my work as it often leads to the next process idea, even if it’s a grossly pixelated image or mould riddled photo album. I take everything as a sign now, whether it will be used for current work or not.” Thank you Millie Elliott for sharing your work with us.
Thank you to our resident artist Shannon Osborne for her recent submission to Cherry. Shannon Osborne is a photographer and digital creative currently based in Brixton, London and a recent graduate from Solent University in Southampton (2019). In her project "A Beauty of One's Own" Shannon created a series of portraits to document her childhood and home - channeling light, shadow, interior familial scenes and depictions of nature into an intimate and immersive collection of memory landscape. "A Beauty of One's Own" speaks to momentum, stillness and a quiet sense of reflection.
Check her out on Instagram at @ozzyphotography_
Katie Cox is our resident Illustrator and soon-to-be Cherry Member. Katie studies BA Illustration at Falmouth University. Her wondrous critters celebrate and pursue diverse representation, ethical values, kindness and positive affirmation. This cute little critter has a cleft lip and is wearing Lucy&Yak, a lovely vegan brand.
Follow @yum_fluff for more!
AKA LOUISE BROWN
Louise Brown is an interdisciplinary artist and Cherry Resident currently in her final year at Newcastle University studying Combined Honours in Politics, Psychology, and Sociology. Louise developed her stunning practice alongside her degree. For Louise, drawing allows "you to imagine your own reality and communicate something that others can relate to." The emotional grounding and detail of her work is truly thought-provoking and inspiring.
Follow @goodstrangevibes on Instagram for more!