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KATRINA RUSSELL-ADAMS

Katrina’s practice is deeply informed by the joyful clash of diversity, shapes, people and places in her South East London surroundings. Over the past few years, her playful, bold work has emerged in collaboration with local artists onto both the streets and galleries of her native Peckham. Her work has flourished further afield with public and private commissions.

 

Having graduated with a degree in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Glamorgan and with a successful career in social housing under her belt, Katrina took a break to bring up her three children. Katrina then came to a career in the visual arts following an adult learning course in printmaking four years ago. Her work continues to evolve; inspired by the history, architecture, colour and cultures of her surroundings - bold and seemingly simple shapes are used to create images and sculpture that draw viewers into their own journey of discovery.  She is passionate about community initiatives and public accessibility to the arts.

 

Highlights include being commissioned as one of 52 UK based artists to create a logo and ident for ITV Creates project; Katrina’s large mobile and floor installation took over the ITV Ident for one week in February 2019 and is still a part of the ongoing project. Katrina is currently working on a commission for Wood Street Walls in Walthamstow for the 2019 London Borough of Culture.

 

MRH: Working with a focus on blue is new to you. How do you plan to explore this?

KRA: At present, I have a pallet of 7 colours; two of which are different hues of blue. Blue always features in my artwork when sometimes I leave other colours out. To me, blue is integral to my work as a bold, natural and calming colour. For this exhibition I want to experiment with mixing the blue hues I use and applying them to architectural sculpture in order to explore the depth and perspective of art installation.

 

MRH: Tell us a bit about the forms you make, do you call them sculptures? How did you develop the shapes?

KRA: I began working in 3D when I explored bringing depth to my screen prints by creating kinetic sculpture in the form of hanging mobiles created from wood and brass. I do call my work sculpture but also installation art. As an abstract artist, I take influence from architectural forms and relevant history linked to the subject matter of the piece. For this exhibition I want to really think about the colour and how blue is integral in architectural design; buildings, no matter what they look like will always look better with a blue sky above them.

MRH: How important is the choice of material in your works?

KRA: The material is very important as I like to explore and play with my pieces as they change and develop, whether as a mobile or stabile. I want to have the option of allowing my work to be suspended or stand on the floor. I like the idea of the views of artwork to be adaptable by allowing the viewer to change the location of floor standing pieces, so materials need to be lightweight.

 

MRH: As you are making a new body of work for the show, what are your thoughts so far on what you will be making?

KRA: want to take this opportunity to create an installation with impact; this isn’t unusual for my artwork however the challenge here lies in the fact that I will be limited by using one colour. What makes my work noticeable is the use of bold shapes and an array of colours so I’m excited to stretch my creativity by having limitations that aren’t normally there. I plan to create something floor standing that can draw viewers in.

 

MRH: A lot of ‘new’ elements are coming to this body of work because you will also be toying with concrete for the first time. Has the experimental aspect of introducing new materials and ideas on each project become part of your process?

KRA: This certainly seems to be the case a present. I’m growing as an artist and without any formal training I’m experimenting throughout my journey. When I started making mobile sculptures I experimented with different types of wood. When I was asked to put in a proposal for the ITV Creates project I knew that this was the perfect excuse I had been looking for to go large with my sculpture, however to be able to do that I needed a light weight material so played with foam before settling on reclaimed polystyrene; the results were very striking and the piece was very well received and subsequently commissioned. I was struck by the lovely texture that came out of the cut polystyrene and wanted to learn how to create that finish using plaster and cement. As I still have lots of the polystyrene available, I have decided on this occasion to combine it with plaster and cement.