Updated: May 22
An interview with Kay Carter, visual art student at Bradford School of Art.
I would position myself as a self-confessional artist, working with multi-media to tackle social issues. My featured work is ‘Projection of Perfection’ and is based around social media. Social media has many positives, ranging from connecting friends from around the world, to a great source of news and entertainment. However, there is also a dark side to social media. The obsession with selfies and looking at ones image is becoming ever more prevalent in today’s society. The need for constant validation from others can become an addiction and when the numbers of ‘likes’ etc decrease this can have devastating effects on peoples’ mental health. Using my influence from fairy tales I explored the comparisons between the Evil Queen in the story of Snow White, her daily need for validation from her magic mirror, and societies need to check their social media accounts every day.
On social media we only post what we want people to see, a snapshot of our lives, the idyllic moments. Therefore, projecting an image of ‘perfection’ which isn’t reality, resulting in making others feel envious or inadequate. To explore this I choose to focus on the image of the 1950s housewife, due to its use as a propaganda in the Fifties to promote the ‘perfect’ home life. The embroidery brings depth and texture to the piece, creating a retro feel, but is also to show that everything isn’t always what it seems. In the mirror is the perfect side, the side we want everyone to see, but behind is a mess of thread; the reality.
The mirror represents the distortion of reality, while the poisoned apple signifies how social media draws you in, seemingly all innocent, but slowly poisons your mind. For these pieces I have used a diverse range of techniques including stencil screen printing, two-part mould, acrylic paints and embroidery.
Q. When describing your artist practice, you state that it’s very conceptually driven. Can you tell us a bit about your process in selecting and working with different mediums?
Initially my work was very literal but as my studies have progressed, I’ve discovered a love for conceptual art and investigating the less obvious ways to present subjects, especially in 3D.
Firstly, I research the concept looking at all possible angles, manipulating the image and producing it in many different formats. Once I’ve constructed my idea and decided how I want to present it, I then research the best medium to use to portray the message with the maximum impact.
Q. How do you feel about the process of prompting a critical social enquiry through art?
My desire and aim is to produce thought-provoking art, raising awareness of difficult subjects to enlighten, encourage and empower. At times this involves tackling uncomfortable subjects that are often not spoken about openly. Although I don’t like confrontation, I feel it is important for society to confront these issues and start to talk openly about how they make us feel. Mental health is on the increase and we need to start talking more about the areas in life that are triggers and why. If my work can start conversations, raise awareness, and ultimately empower people, I will feel I’ve achieved my objective.
Q. How do you feel your practice has evolved through creative education?
I went into creative education because I wanted to break out of the box. To discover what aspects of art and design I enjoy, and flourish in them. However, my practice in my degree has evolved beyond recognition. It has opened up a whole new world of exciting ways of producing art, ranging from new concepts, theory and working with different mediums. I’ve progressed from just working in pencil drawings to screen printing, ceramics, acrylics, textiles and many more. I’ve learnt that there’s not just one medium I enjoy working with, there are many, and I am loving the journey of discovery.
Q. Can you tell us a bit more about your practice as a whole?
I would position myself as a self-confessional artist, working with multi-media. My interest is predominantly in exploring social issues and the emotional and physical impact on society. Drawing on my own experiences, as well as influence from my passion for fairy-tales and mythology, I have tackled a variety of issues ranging from corrosive control, loneliness/isolation and social media's impact on mental health. The overarching theme of my work is around confinement, exploring the juxtaposition between safety and incarceration, which is very relevant in this current climate.
I work with a diverse range of mediums, never limiting myself to one specific type. I am continually looking to expand my knowledge and learn new techniques. I am thrilled to be asked to be involved with this project and am excited to learn more as this project progresses.
To see more of Kay Carter's work click the link below