Anya Rasaiah

Introducing Anya Rasaiah. Rasaiah is a Marketing and Advertising student at Lancaster University and currently on her year in industry with Samsung Electronics. She manages to find time to create and exhibit unique multimedia works. Not only mixed in media but her pieces manage to combine reality with conceptuality. I caught up with her to discuss early inspirations, lucky breaks and the luxury of time.

When was your first experience of Art? What draws you back to the canvas?

I properly fell in love with street art and graffiti when I was 10. I remember being hooked after reading Philip Ridley’s ‘Scribbleboy’ then, and after some really unique experiences at a young age, art quickly became a huge part of my life. It’s really street art in particular that feeds this love, and despite my current mediums and use of canvas, there’s a lot of reference to tagging and handstyles in my work. I used to be that total nerd, making stencils, stickers and squeezers all the time. In terms of what draws me back to the canvas, its for love and opportunities. Art gave me my first lucky break at Saatchi & Saatchi aged 15 thanks to two Shepard Fairey (Obey) recreations, and so much has unfolded as a result of that. Art literally forces opportunities and doubles up as therapy/an outlet, and since discovering that it’s been a bit of a love affair ever since.

How do you approach your pieces, in particular the layering? Is is planned or do you wait for the inspiration to come in stages?

Right now I have the luxury of time when painting, (often a different story for graphics). The output is always introspective, and so creating a plot for the piece takes time to articulate, let alone execute. But yes, the inspiration definitely comes in stages. My unusual process tends to take some time; I build the layers of mixed media and literally hope to see something within them, a shape or sign, which relates to how I’m feeling and thought process. I then turn said shapes into something, and integrate it into the plot if it’s relevant enough. So mine’s definitely an unconventional method, and incredibly frustrating at times, but every one of my pieces is constructed in this way, and it fits together every time.

Are you experiencing a change in direction? The works on your website are predominately feature faces however your recent Facebook updates show something different. Tell us about the Stepper project.

You’re right, there has been a subtle change in direction. Thanks to the aforementioned luxury of time, my work now has even more layers and themes, often capturing a journey over time. The decision to feature faces depends on the theme, but the piece I’m working on currently is set to. Unnamed at the moment, the piece will depict a muse, someone that consumes thoughts, invades and fuels the mind.. But ‘Stepper’ means an update on a work in progress, a phrase I nabbed from artist Ian Francis. But my work now is less of a project and each canvas is designed to stand alone. One canvas has to say it all, however cryptic the emotion is within that.

Are you working on anything at the moment? And what’s next?

So whilst working full time this year for Samsung and juggling life, I have a piece on the go at the moment (Stepper updates on Facebook), and I’m working on a project for D&AD New Blood. But next steps will hopefully involve some social enterprise work in branding for small businesses and charities over summer. And then it’s back to uni for my final year, with the ambition to go onto to work for an ad agency very soon!

Rasaiah’s works have been exhibited at The Sultran Gallery in Lancaster. Follow Rasaiah’s updates by liking her Facebook page.

Phoebe Baines

In an artworld that has never had more money, it is unsurprising that it is being drowned by art work being bought, sold and shipped worldwide for the masses to admire and pay homage to.  The costs are exponential; the impact to the public, very little. In true reverence to the ideology of the dematerialisation of art [with an environmental and humble twist] Phoebe Baines is doing something different.

Having recently been funded by UAL’s Mead Scholarship, Baines has been able to take her temporary artworks on a tour of some of the UK’s remote rural landscapes far from the commercial grasps of the artworld hub.

Her works is simple but with high impact and only existing for a short amount of time. Overcoming the practical issues of being a working artist and incorporating it into her practice Baines has created some stunning and exciting work.

Sat down with some jerk chicken and corn on the cob [not your typical interview setting] we talked life, art and the issues facing young artists today.

What made you decide to make temporary work?

The idea for making temporary works came from a placement with a practicing artist. I had a first hand experience in the difficulties of storing old work, transporting pieces to be exhibited and the prices of shipping. I felt as though temporary work that were easy and fast to install and take down would side step these issues as well as speeding up my turnover of ideas. I found that this change also allowed me to expand the scale of work a lot more simply.

Who/What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all kinds of things mostly visual materials I see on the street, buildings and natural places. Artists who inspire me to push forward with my ideas and to be ambitious with my work are Ernesto Neto and Tomas Saraceno who both create the most immersive ethereal installations. Richard Serra has been an important influence for me in his approach to space and the way we occupy and engage with the spaces in our lives.

Do you see yourself as a land artist?

I find the best work comes from an interesting space and the outside world is a far better site for me than a clean white square. Because of my materials I wouldn’t classify myself as a land artist but in terms of the importance of the landscape / site in the work, there is an element of land art there; especially in recent works where the pieces have been made in natural surroundings. Whether it’s natural or urban it’s the ‘site’ that comes first and often defines the form.

What environmental concerns are expressed in your work?

I wouldn’t say my work has and overtly environmental message but i aim to bring up questions about humans in space. Although the materials are mostly man made and synthetic the setting is often natural and organic. The tension between the two is particularly interesting to me and I suppose that hints and mans relationship with nature.

Are you rebelling against the art world?

Rather than rebelling I would say I’m challenging the art world and it’s boundaries. I hope to integrate everyday life into the art world through using domestic / real life spaces rather than spaces created and cornered off for art. I see art and my work as a part of life not a separate entity.

What do you love about being an artist?

I love the feeling of satisfaction from growing an idea from the first thought right up until it’s physically in front of you. Having the freedom to test your imagination and challenge yourself to keep moving forward. The innate emotional connection with my work is what keeps me going when it’s all going a bit wrong!

Phoebe Baines’ lives and works in London, to keep up to date with her exhibitions and new works follow