We are delighted to launch new limited edition print 'Luters of Zoom' - the first edition in our new print series with Haus of Lucy. We met with the artist Lucy Bryant to learn more about her unique practice and her reactive approach to creating work.
Your work is very topical and of its time, disrupting the ordinary and challenging what we expect to see as you overlay traditional art history images with icons of contemporary consumerism. How heavily is your work influenced by current affairs?
My work is hugely influenced by current affairs and I like to be able to react quickly. For example, when panic buying proved to be a huge issue globally, I created a series of ceramic figurines which reflected what was happening in our supermarkets. I work with several different mediums; digital, collage and 3D, which also gives me scope when it comes to deciding my next piece. As well as being influenced directly by the news, I also like to reflect society in general and try to tap into the general 'mood' of the country. During this time most of my pieces have been COVID-related because it really has been the main headline since March and it's impossible to escape. I have created ceramic figurines 'working from home', taking Zoom meetings and even watching porn!
This combination of art history and contemporary culture creates images that are often jarring and unexpected. Are you looking to convey a certain message to the viewer or perhaps challenge their perception of contemporary society?
I prefer to raise a smile than challenge perception but having said that, I do like to create pieces which will hopefully get the viewer thinking. For example, I took an oil painting of a beautiful landscape and re-worked it so it had an old mattress, bags of rubbish and a broken washing machine strewn across the scene, with a sign nailed to a tree stating 'no fly tipping'. The aim was to highlight what we often see when out for a lovely visit to the countryside, and to invoke feelings of repulsion.
You strike a fine balance in your work - both challenging aspects of contemporary culture and celebrating it in a humorous way. How do you find this balance?
That's a hard question to answer! I think I like to have a balance between humour and conveying a more serious message without causing offence. I know it's not a popular thing to say but I would genuinely prefer to make people smile than frown.
‘Luters of Zoom’ brings a smile to our faces at Art on a Postcard as we have been using Zoom to communicate on a daily basis since lockdown! Can you give us some insight into your creative process? (How you came up with the concept, how you source your images and executed the artwork?)
That's the response I like! It's that moment when the viewer totally 'gets' what you're trying to convey. I'd had the idea for a while of doing a Zoom-themed picture for a while, and I managed to find exactly the right number of lute players to produce For 'Luters Of Zoom'. I can only use copyright-free art in my digital work so I do a lot of research into copyright laws and whether particular paintings are in the public domain. With my collaged work for example, I use oil paintings which I have purchased from antique or junk shops, and then I know I can adapt them without legal action. So with the zoom, picture, I sourced nine old paintings of lute players and photoshopped them all into a zoom frame. I gave them all names which I hoped would reflect their personalities. I also like to give all of my works their own back-story which to me is as important as the piece itself. The luters for example, were a travelling orchestra called 'Luters of Gloom' who performed cover versions of sad songs such as The Smiths and Nick Drake but their summer gigs had all been cancelled due to COVID. They decided to get together to do live Zoom gigs and rename themselves as 'Luters of Zoom'.
I source my figurines from charity, antique and junk shops (although during lockdown I have been using eBay). I create all their 'additions' from polymer clay which I bake in the oven.