On Monday 1 December 2014, Outside In has been invited to be the nominated charity to raise money at Toovey’s Christmas Party at their auction house in Washington, West Sussex. Toovey’s is a family-owned and family-run firm with an international standard of expertise and marketing. During the evening, we will be holding an auction to raise money for Outside In with artworks by Outside In Award Winning artists alongside acclaimed artists from Sussex. For the auction, we will be producing a catalogue which will house a Q&A with each artist selling work. We wanted to share the full, unedited Q&As with you here on our blog. First off, here’s Dannielle Hodson…
What first inspired you to take up art?
I began making art in prison as a response to my environment. It was a way to do something good and be myself in an environment that is oppressive and hopeless.
How long have you been making art for?
I have been painting since 2010 but I have always doodled; automatic drawings, expressions of the subconscious.
Has your process changed since the beginning?
My painting now is much better than it was – in the technical sense – as I have taught myself and taken part in a few master classes to learn technique. My doodles are the same; I draw a big scribble and see what comes out of it.
Could you talk about the process behind your current work – from initial idea to final piece?
My current work is a move to combine my real world with my imagined one. I felt like I had two practices at one stage- an abstract one and a realistic one- but actually they are quite similar. In real life I was looking amongst the chaos for strange faces that I liked the look of to paint, and this is what I do when I look into a scribble. I decided to take the plunge and make the worlds collide. I’ve been making costumes inspired by doodles and I’m due to shoot the scenes from my imagination in real life. I’ll then work from the photographs back into paint and possibly doodles, creating a cycle and a blur between where reality finishes and fantasy starts.
How do you decide when a piece is finished?
I just know – doing too much spoils a painting in my opinion. I have on occasion thought I’ve finished something but it was like an itch. It needed something else so in that instance I have to re-visit and usually I will add something like text and it becomes complete. Usually I work on one painting at a time. I can’t think straight until the painting is finished.
What influences your work?
I like oddball characters, extreme personalities, and a sense of fun. Conversely I’m also fascinated by ordinary and the space between the two extremes. Diane Arbus is one of my favourite photographers as I think she was looking at the things I like in people; that weird part that makes them unique. I’m always finding new influences and they present themselves in my work. I really like the Dada ethos and find I can really relate to it. I’m influenced as well by our modern world, technology and how it shapes our identity. Confessional art interests me and I find the work of Tracey Emin and Nin Golding important as they lead the way for work to be diaristic and invasive but still have integrity. This gives me the confidence to put myself into my work.
How would you describe your work in one sentence?
Concrete models of fiction in the face of my reality
Can you tell us about ‘Clown’ (the piece that will be auctioned in December)?
Clown is a portrait of Rudi Macaggi, an acrobat I met at The Box nightclub where I was making a large tapestry for the club with a friend of mine. This is where I was introduced to dark cabaret. Rudi was brought up in the circus, the old fashioned kind, and this made him very interesting from a modern perspective. I made him an outfit consisting of elastic bands and a ruffle and painted him like a clown. The scribble at the bottom is the beginning of a doodle.
Do you have a favourite artist?
Currently James Ostrer and George Condo.
What has been the high point of your artistic career?
It is all one high point. I get to learn and discover and create. Working with Pallant House Gallery and being part of the Outside In project is an honour, for which I am extremely grateful.
What is your favourite quote? (Art related or not!)
“We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” by Oscar Wilde
What’s next for you as an artist?
What’s next for me as an artist is a solo show of the new body of work I’m making, hopefully next March.