Hair can elicit strong emotions, both positive or negative, depending on the context. What kind of emotion do you hope to elicit in viewers with the use of hair in your work? I have had so many different reactions to the hair in my work. I’m looking to make works that are mischievous reinterpretations with an undercurrent of uneasiness. I am very interested in the varied responses I get, and it is certainly a conversation opener. I have been surprised at the stories people tell me. I hadn’t realised how many people have a phobia about hair; other people’s hair that is, in particular other people’s hair touching them, stroking across their bare flesh.
How do you choose the hair colours and textures, and where do you source it from? The hair colours and textures seem to dictate themselves in response to the artwork that I am intervening onto. With the book engravings it seemed natural to use physical hair, the strands were almost like line drawings in themselves, naturally extending out from the picture. I try many variations of colour, texture, curling, plaiting and brushing into shapes before settling on a final composition. I live in South-East London and there are a lot of hair shops to choose from. They have all the hair you could ever need; real, artificial, coloured, natural, long, short. It’s an incredible experience going into these shops. A bit like going into a theatrical costume shop, you can go in looking like one person and emerge as a totally new character.
Who or what is an unexpected source of inspiration to you? Labels in display cases, describing objects that are not there.