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Confetti - Your Future

5 Nottinghamshire Artists You Can Support from Home

13 June 20 words: Laura-Jade Vaughan

Back in mid-March, before our lives took an unexpected turn, Nottingham Contemporary hosted a fair celebrating all things print. It was my last cultural day out, and with a variety of workshops and some thirty stalls to browse, it did not disappoint. The fair introduced me to many talented makers based here in Nottingham, and now, without galleries to visit, it’s a great time to bring art into the home, while supporting Nottingham’s creative community.

Here are a few of the featured artists, whose works are available for purchase…

You can’t help but marvel at the incredible craftsmanship and imagination of CurrentlyKimmy (aka Kimberley-Rose Gardner). Using a 0.05mm black fine liner pen on white paper, her illustrations are composed of a meticulous assemblage of dots. Kim’s inspirations are vast, depicting subjects that pique her curiosity including the beauty and strangeness of nature and fantastical tales from folklore and myths.

In the Ttlji tree series, each tree is diverse in form, yet they all have a sense of personality and a commanding presence. ‘Ttlji’ is a language created by the artist based on spirituality, and the ideas of trees having a voice to communicate with one another. As affordable A5 prints, the works lend themselves to being displayed as multiples in a woodland configuration.

CurrentlyKimmy’s hybrid fantasy series takes inspiration from mythology, giving characters extraordinary forms befitting their epic tales. Medea, the Greek sorceress, is part-octopus, part-frog; Pasiphaë, Queen of Crete, is both minotaur and sea creature; and Atargatis, the drowned goddess, is fated to be part-woman, part-fish. Despite layered interpretation and complex forms, each image is unashamedly minimalistic – every tiny dot exists for a reason.

Lawrence James English
The line drawing illustrations of Lawrence James English primarily feature an assortment of tangled and contorted bodies. The artist takes inspiration from the energy of music; you might recognise his art from murals on the walls of Rough Trade, or from the artwork of the Nottingham band, Kagoule (Lawrence is the drummer). In creating the visuals for Kagoule, the artist developed a distinctive style reflecting the sound. A sense of tension and discomfort runs through the work, as well as rhythm and raw energy.

In the Buoys series, illustrations arrange bodies with strong outstretched limbs upon vibrant background colours. The figures convey points of tension; representing the fine line between dancing and straining, sinking and floating. In some prints, the subject fights to hold a powerful stance, while outstretched arms pull them against their will. It reminded me of a mosh pit, where you are at once held up and pushed down. Lawrence is inspired by tattoo designs – he also provides tattoo design commissions if you are looking to decorate your body.

Katrina Sophia
Working primarily in watercolour, Katrina Sophia’s aim is to celebrate the wonder of the natural world. In her online shop you can expect to find prints of quirky cactuses in colourful pots, beautiful delicate wildflowers, as well as butterflies and beetles. Katrina collects ideas from her wild garden, countryside walks, natural history books, and through her abundance of houseplants. Each illustration shows a fascination with the details of nature, from the faint patterns on a petal, to the intricate wings of a butterfly.

To anyone looking to bring the wondrous outdoors into their home, the product range includes prints, ceramics, stationery, greeting cards, and accessories, with free UK shipping. It would make a particularly heartfelt gift for anyone craving nature, and the vast greeting card range is beautifully designed, joyous and playful.

Geri Draws Japan
Sushi, bonsai trees, koi fish and kimonos – Geri Coady, aka Geri Draws Japan, illustrates iconic aspects of Japanese culture. As well as prints, her shop also sells accessories: sew on patches, art pins and stickers, representing “kawaii” – the Japanese concept of cuteness.

Geri’s artworks are born from a lifelong passion for Japanese travel, food, and culture, and each illustration is invested with a sense of excitement and a fascination that could only belong to a non-native. The 100 Days of Japan series includes a range of subjects from pop culture, traditional icons, nature, and aspects of everyday life. Each print is on square paper, a bit like origami sheets, and uses an exuberant pop art style with a colourful palette and flat planes.

My favourite illustration series profiles thirty influential and inspirational Japanese women in both modern and ancient times, spanning a range of disciplines. Each woman appears surrounded by symbols of their achievement, depicted in a style more reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints. The women include Murasaki Shikibu, the world’s first novelist, Komako Kimura, a prominent early 1900s suffragist, and (embarrassingly) the only figure I recognised, contemporary artist Kusama Yayoi, known for her polka-dotted wonderlands.

Rachel Mahon
The inspiration for Rachel Mahon’s prints comes from the plants her green-fingered husband grows in their home and garden. Each print has a contemporary edge, representing a range of plants through abstracted shapes, emphasising form. She illustrated the large oval leaves of a rubber plant, the finger-like leaves of the blue star fern, and the small draping leaves of a peperomia. Rather than being predominantly green, the artist uses a vibrant palette, and overlapping ink gives the illusion of light passing through varying densities. Her designs can also be found on greeting cards (each printed on kraft paper) and notebooks.

On Rachel Mahon’s website, you can also download free colouring-in sheets for entertainment during isolation: “Stay home your plants need you” 

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