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Art Works: Tracey Meek

26 September 17 words: Tracey Meek

Artist Tracey Meek on her very cute Snow People...

I imagine these new ceramic creations living in a faraway galaxy where the land is covered with fluffy white snow and the hills are blanketed with paper trees. I’m desperate to make an animation; my brain is pretty much the film The Science of Sleep on repeat at the moment.

I recently completed a residency with Artcore in Derby, which culminated in an exhibition at the museum, inspired by the various artefacts. While I was researching and developing my work, I had the opportunity to snoop through their stores, which was fascinating. Gently opening dusty boxes containing all kinds of historical treats and delicately unwrapping these important objects with anticipation, I felt like Charlie opening his golden ticket.

Finding some African fertility statues, I took inspiration from the shapes and patterns, and when it came to the launch, I nestled them around the ceramics collection as a cheeky, interventional art piece.  

There are quite a few stages to ceramics: sculpting (the fun part), drying, biscuit firing (which takes a couple of days), painting (double-fun part), drying, and then the final firing. It’s a very lengthy process. You have no idea how many ceramic legs I have lost on the way from workstation to kiln. I’ve always been used to bashing my work out quite quickly, and it’s been a good experience to have to take my time.

A lot of them were made in my living room. I had access to a small studio space with the residency, but I like to bang my music out and have a constant supply of fresh coffee, so I ended up coming home and making them. I’ve just moved into Bentinck Art Studios in Gamble Street, though. I was feeling like I needed to be around fellow art people and there was nowhere in Derby, so I decided to take the plunge and make the commute. It’s worth the drive; the space is amazing, and so are the artists.

I work part time as a personal assistant to adults with learning disabilities, am a mother to my girl and also facilitate creative workshops, which is the bread and butter of most artists. I’ve always kind of refused to go and get a normal job, and settle for work that doesn’t excite me or put something back into the world.

Drawing has always been in my head, and I’ve always viewed the world in a different way. I know everybody does, but maybe it’s just that the artist finds ways to express that difference. I remember people asking me who taught me to draw as a kid and being really confused about how to answer, because nobody taught me, not until I got to college anyway. I enjoy it because it’s like therapy; if I’m not being creative, I start to go a bit crazy.

I’d really like to make some public art, and now I’ve taken my work from paper to 3D, I can start developing work on a much grander scale. I’m looking to do some more residencies and just really expand my work and experiment with different processes. I’m up for making my work move, so if any animators out there want to collaborate, give me a holla. All in all, I’m pretty excited about what’s round the corner.

To get in touch with Tracey, drop her a line on [email protected]

Tracey Meek website

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