q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.
a)I’m a 29 year-old artist based in Brighton, UK. I spend my days in my studio, making artwork on flags, fabric and old books, I exhibit internationally and also run an etsy shop (pamglew.etsy.com). I also watch too many horror films, which I loosely justify by calling it ‘research’.
q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?
a)When I was a child I wanted to be a nurse, but found that I fainted at the sight of blood. When I was about 6 I really wanted to be an air hostess (that was before cheap airlines, I remember them being immaculate and quite glamorous), but my ears always hurt on the plane, so that was another crushed ambition.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)I mostly work on ‘used’ materials.
At the moment I am making a series of work on vintage American flags as a kind of statement about fear culture (and the exaggeration of terrorism which I feel is quite over-hyped). Another reason for working on flags, particularly the American flag is that they are so beautifully made, of all the national flags that I have seen, the US flag is the most exquisite, with embroidered stars and stitched stripes. I have also made work on union jacks and the French flag, as a canvas they have such resonance.
I also work on used patinated copper, antiqued books (mostly horror books like The Omen) and old brocade fabric.
q) How would you describe your style?
a)I think my work is a combination of street art and confessional art. It looks like urban street art, as I use spray paint, stencils and use a high contrast aesthetic. The confessional art element is more to do with my use of materials, I like experimentation and finding new processes, so it has a similar look to confessional art. I use stitch and often darn up the holes of really raggedy flags so my hung flags are a nod towards women’s work/ craft skills but with a dark sense of irony, using images of women from horror films works as a juxtaposition with the medium.
q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?
a)Yes, I sometimes think my work is ridiculously time consuming. It all starts with watching a film, mostly obscure 1960s thriller/ psychological horror like Roman Polanski films like ‘Repulsion’ or ‘Rosemarys Baby’, but sometimes more recent video nastys like ‘House of Wax’ or ‘Kalifonia’. I watch the film, pause it and take loads of photos, mostly close ups when a character is looking terrified, but they need to be looking beautiful at the same time. Towards the end of the film the female characters start to look too dishevelled and covered in blood, so I tend to use the early shots! I then Photoshop the images, adjust them to black and white and add elements so that I end up with a striking, high contrast image. The image has to have impact and a bit of tension.
The flags are washed, sometimes dyed black and then the image is usually painted on with bleach or discharge paste (which removes the dye) and then washed again, The work then needs to be ironed and attached to a dowel top and bottom.
The work on paper is similar, but I use stencils for them and spray paint with white Montana spray paints, I find spray painting a great light relief, fast and instantly gratifying.
q) What are you working on at present?
a)My ‘Fear’ series. I’m having a solo show in Brighton in may which is called ‘I fell in love with a video nasty’, so that will be mostly American flags and horror film images. I’m also working on some small text based work, sewing on words onto scraps of flags.
q) What about recent sources of inspirations?
a)Horror films, bad video nasties, American foreign policy and cinematic images of women. Music is a great source of inspiration for me, I listen to my ipod in the studio all day; Radiohead, The Doors, Arctic Monkeys, Bat for Lashes, Tori Amos and Roots Manuva have all inspired me in some way.q) What are some of your obsessions?
a)I’m currently into typefaces, fonts, especially old fonts used on signs for Motels, Diners, Fairgrounds and Circuses. I don’t know where this current obsession is going to take me. I’m also experimenting with sewing words and slogans.
Etsy.com is my favourite way to spend time when I should be working.
q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
a)I have a group show in Carmichael gallery in Hollywood USA this month, which is a collection of street art from around the world. Fairtrade Gallery in Brighton is my fantastic local outlet who really support my work, I also show with Art-file in Oxon and at the Affordable Art Fairs in London and Bristol. I’m represented by Art-el, who are a great street art online gallery, they had an amazing graffiti/ street art show in a disused police station in December last year.
Ultimately I would like to show in Lazinc in London, they represent Banksy and Micallef and I think they are the ultimate great space, their gallery used to be some kind of S & M dungeon. I would like to show in more interesting spaces, I like commercial galleries but I also like buildings with character, I had a show in an old Victorian church recently, so more of the same would be good.
q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?
a)Keep doing what you are doing, make sure its good and that you like it. Be critical and refine your style, but really just persistence would be the main advice. I have been doing art for 8 years and only nearly making a living from it now, so it’s about being in it for the long haul. q) Who are your favorite artists?
a)A real mixture of street art, fine art and photography: Antony Micallef, Tracy Emin, Annette Messenger, Yoshitomo Nara, Miss Van, Nan Goldin, Ron Mueck, Ghada Amer, Camille Rose Garcia & most recently Ian Francis….
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a)Too many unread ones, I like Chuck Palahniuk, Lily Prior, old fairytale books and 1950s housewife manuals.
q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?
a)A good chai latte and a blueberry muffin. I also love travelling, shopping, sweets and trashy old zombie films.