We’re thrilled to announce that on Friday 1st October, Enter Gallery is hosting an exciting new show from graphic mixed media artist, Bonnie and Clyde.
Known for creating otherworldly vistas, rich in warmth and pure escapism, the show - Tomorrow’s Parties – will feature a limited edition boxset of six silkscreen prints, alongside a handful of original pieces, available exclusively at Enter Gallery.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Bonnie and Clyde at her Brighton studio, to discuss what inspired Tomorrow’s Parties, and to delve a little deeper into the creative processes behind her dreamscapes.
Let’s begin proceedings in the same place that Bonnie and Clyde starts each artwork – with the photography - which is at the heart of Tomorrow’s Parties, and of every piece she creates.
Everywhere the artist travels, you can bet she has her trusty Leica Q camera in tow, using it to snap whatever captures her attention.
‘I don’t go out with anything specific in mind. It’s really just what I see, whether it’s something going on or something I see in a shop window. Really, I’m in my own world when I walk around. There’s no deliberate process but I’m a sensitive person. I think I’m not picking up on much, when in fact I’m picking up on everything.’
While she follows her nose in terms of what catches her eye, there are some common motifs in her work, namely, architecture, landscapes, plants and trees. Water also regularly crops up in her collages...
‘Water brings an element of escapism, but there’s more to it than that. Growing up, my Grandmother looked after us for a few years, and she swam every day. Water evokes fond memories for me. My affection for her is in the water.’
Sail away on colour
Another element of Bonnie and Clyde’s work is her distinctive use of colour, which only adds to the wistful aesthetic. So, what was the genesis of this palette?
‘It came about when I went to the Florida Keys with my Dad when I was 19. That trip was quite pivotal to the colours I choose. It was an interesting trip. I think I take in more when I’m scared. Your senses become heightened. When you’re scared of something, what you see and experience becomes vividly locked in your mind as memories. I think I took on lots of colours in Miami and the Keys, and I continued to single those types of colours out when I travelled further afield.’
Brave New Worlds
Given her love for travel, it’s little surprise that capturing the magic of escaping the everyday is at the heart of her projects. Alongside Cuba and Mexico, Tomorrow’s Parties features photographs taken during Bonnie and Clyde’s travels to Venice, Reykjavik, LA, New York and San Francisco. She reveals:
‘I bring together a mixture of places to create new destinations. I want to take the observer out of this world and into a different one entirely. These new worlds are an amalgamation of different countries, places and the emotions those different landscapes evoke. Each piece is like a memory that hasn’t happened yet.’
The power of hope
Sat in her studio, with the original pieces laid out before us, one of the photographs in Tomorrow’s Parties 9 catches my eye – a picture of two people sat on a bench, gazing into the distance:
‘That was taken in Coney Island. By chance, I was there on the day it was due to be closed down. The plan was to pull it down and redevelop it all. It was a hot day, and the air was thick with a mixture of emotions – some celebrating, some fearful of life without the jobs they’d had for so long. There was an energy that was beautiful and uplifting, but also desolate because there was all this history and it was all going to be gone. It didn’t actually happen – the development stopped, but what a day, out of all the days to be there.’
When describing her use of the image in the piece, she explains:
‘By showing them looking into the future, where everything is brighter, I wanted to convey the idea that even if it feels bad at the time, everything is working out as it should. Part of life is accepting that what will unfold will be the right thing.’
What will be will be…
Upon digging a little deeper into Bonnie and Clyde’s artistic journey, it seems that having faith in what will unfold holds greater meaning for her as an artist.
From studying 3D design, to stints working as a press photographer and a graphic designer, designing club night flyers in the heyday of Manchester’s party scene - without each of these stages of development, who knows how her work may have been different…
Relying on instinct
Her photographs are only one in a series of intricate steps in her creation process. Once she has chosen the images she wishes to use in a piece, the artist will fire up photoshop to transform these photos from traditional images into something more graphic.
‘Ordinarily, I start in photoshop, select imagery and then take it in and out of the computer, painting and creating warmth using different painting techniques. I add colour and pattern using elements I create by hand; scanned in sketches, different bits of paint that I’ve ripped out in strips, fabric, wood - I like finding new ways of working with different materials.’
The next step is to paint multiple layers (sometimes as many as six) of acrylic paint onto Japanese paper, and this is what she prints the final image onto.
‘A lot of my practice in instinctive. There’s not too much forward planning. I know that I will eventually make it work. When creating, I just get in the flow. Creating is like meditation, you lose yourself in it. I can only describe it as connection to your true self, and being able to express what’s in there.’
In addition to launching the box set of six silkscreen prints and the original pieces, for the Tomorrow’s Parties show, we’re recreating Bonnie and Clyde’s art studio at Enter Gallery. This is your chance to get an exclusive glimpse into what life behind the scenes looks like for this exciting artist.
Bonnie and Clyde’s dream world will come alive at Enter Gallery on Friday October 1st. Sign up to attend the exclusive launch event here.
Buy the limited edition box set. 'Tomorrow's Parties' here