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Artist Feature ://
Kristy Campbell
Posted August 2018

Kristy Campbell is an Artist and Writer based in Norwich, UK. Since graduating with an MA in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts in 2014, she has gone on to exhibit throughout the UK and internationally; venues of note include Somerset House (London, UK) and King’s College (London, UK) in 2018, and EXPO Chicago (Chicago, USA) in 2014, amongst others. In August of this year she will be embarking on a CultureLAB residency at Ipswich County Library to investigate the soup of subjects: reading, technology, and wellbeing, through discourse and practice development.

While her practice situates itself in the realms of typography, minimalist design, and the likes of a familiar recognisable language, through abstract compositions Campbell looks to convey the fluid ambiguity of meaning. Deconstruction and Deconstructivism theory fuel this. They intend to tilt, to fragment, and to stylize forming a dysfunctional and seemingly misguided structure, making way for an accessible alternative freedom within language.

Flat Roofs (3), Kristy Campbell. Digital Print, 2018

Q. You took a Masters course in Fine Art, how did the time on your course change or adapt your creative output?

From 2013-14 I was enrolled on the MA Fine Art course at Norwich University of the Arts. Initially and naturally, I carried my subject specialism very carefully over the BA finish line and in to the Masters course in the hope that I could nurture it further. I was looking closely at the complexity of language: linguistics, the technicalities of manufacturing a language, vs. text as form. Constructing language as a physical means of communication made way for a body of work that was predominantly sculptural and installation based, heavily reliant on an audience directly interacting with it. I looked to place text in next contexts, reassigning meaning, and presenting it in contemporary ways, thus portraying the changing and growing nature of language. Throughout my studies, the idea of translation evolved. The ‘letter’ in particular was stripped of all connotation, down to its essence. It was in the beginning of 2014 that I began my search for the line between reading and seeing; where type became ‘text’ and no longer ‘form’ or ‘line’, and why and when it began to function in a different manner. Something that remained consistent throughout my time at NUA was my eagerness to read and to learn more and more. My creative output is owed entirely to the remarkable tutors that took the time to feed my drive, and of course the library. I didn’t so much like to read but I loved to look at the letters, page after page of rows of words.

Q. What or who inspires your work?

People inspire me, accidentally. Overheard conversations, unexpected words, an ever-expanding vocabulary and new knowledge all inspire me. Acquiring new information, intriguing facts, curious statements, all encourage me to learn more, to invest more time in understanding. I have been reading a book written by Françoise Gilot on Picasso, which has been fascinating. I’ve been reading it since early 2017; I especially like reading extracts of it on trains – it’s a journey through her life in his. I get immense pleasure from the works of Cy Twombly and El Lissitzky, along with Lawrence Weiner and Jenny Holzer. Architecture and the visuals that make up the foundations of designs for both interior and exterior works are incredibly stimulating. Often I envisage my artworks as sketches whilst I create them at my computer, though they rarely take that form.

Harmony (3), Kristy Campbell. Digital Print, 2018

Q. How important is the use of art to communicate? Is art a language?

To me, art is a language. Art is speech, is sign, is braille; and within each of these variations of ‘language’ is a different dialect, a different accent, whether this be sculpture, design, print, Scottish, Estuary, textiles, performance, Liverpudlian. They are each trying to communicate a subject, or a message, in the unique way that they have become accustomed to. I would argue that art is boundlessly important with regards to communication. Art as language becomes the mother-tongue of all. Regardless of accents and contexts, Art has a freedom in its voice that reaches far and wide, flexible in its translations, it is calling out for a reception, for a reaction.

Trace 3.19, Kristy Campbell. Digital Print, 2018

Q. Your work appears particularly playful in arrangement, shape and colour, yet there is consistency in the overall themes and compositions – for example connecting shapes and using complimentary colour palletes. Tell us about the process behind your work. How does the playful and the considered take form?

The playful element of my practice is very considered. There are absolutely some ‘happy accidents’ that take shape during the creation of the work, but ultimately when I am formulating these digital pieces I have a collection of stimulus in front of me from which I am very quick to extract slices of. Since generating the conceptual ‘fluid ambiguity of meaning’ within my practice, I have consciously incorporated a variation of visual textures and fragmented shapes in to my minimalist-abstract style. The consistency in my practice is owed to my curious nature, my eager eyes seeking familiar forms, searching for a sanctuary in something familiar – in this case, writing. The often-present handwriting in my works stems from reflection, from entries, from reading. Texts about writing and reading, and reading writing, writing to be read – it’s how these make me feel that makes my every edit so considered, an on-screen seduction.

The Amount of space is always the same (2), Kristy Campbell. Digital Print, 2018

The Amount of space is always the same (3), Kristy Campbell. Digital Print, 2018

Q. We are really impressed by the amount you create. How do you get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating?

With regards to 'the right mind for creating' – I believe that arousal is central to everything - if it makes you feel good, do it, do it more, and do it better. I practice to the point of obsession because it keeps me stimulated. I am very passionate about what I do, and I strive to understand the urges that pull me to continue.

Q. In your opinion, what does the art world need more or less of?

The art world needs more of less; more minimal, more gentle abstraction. It needs less submission fees, and more feedback. The art world is already so full of thoughtful innovative people, it is full of art educators, art writers, artists, art supporters, but with this in mind all of these people need housing, their artworks and their words need sharing, we need more space, less empty buildings, and more accessible space. Just saying.

︎ www.axisweb.org/p/kristycamp

︎ @kristycamp

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