The worlds of fashion and art are intrinsically linked, with the world's foremost designs constantly seeking inspiration from artists of all mediums and fashion houses and brands always looking to support upcoming talent and exhibitions. Burberry's most recent show is a superb example, with creative director Christopher Bailey referencing sculptor Henry Moore throughout the collection, with the artist bronze forms adorning the catwalk. Elite believes it is important to acknowledge this partnership of designer and artist as we seek to find the very best candidates for the most prestigious brands. As such, every magazine we highlight the work of some fantastic creatives, both established and rising stars.
This edition we spoke with Lucie MacGregor, a mixed media artist originally from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, about her practice. Currently studying at Central Saint Martins in London, MacGregor is already making waves within the art world. Taking part in several exhibitions across the city, she has now taken her studies abroad to the infamous Pratt Institute in New York. Find out more about her work and inspiration:
Words, Lucie MacGregor:
I primarily class myself as a Sculptor, as it is the broadest term in regards to the materials and mediums I work with. I enjoy the physical presence sculpture creates and how it challenges and questions everyday objects and the routines we engage with. My ideas and creative practice are often influenced by location and site. Ever since I moved from my small hometown to the capital of England, I began to unconsciously make installations discussing the Northern and Southern divide and the tension felt as an outsider, both as a Northerner and a young, female artist in an alien environment. Attempting to understand your own existence in a particular place is something we all take part in, tagging our location on Facebook, updating our Instagram with a picture, we have an innate desire for knowledge and this is a way for us to express ourselves and pinpoint an exciting, geographical transition. I am an observer, and I am inspired by happenings and objects around me. I gather materials off the street, public transport, forms that can be collected in bulk or have a repetitive nature, string, tape, cardboard, plastic bags, things with flexible and fragile properties. We live in a temporary culture where imagination is dependent in order to make connections and sense of fleeting movements.
Often thinking through making, I test the conventional expectations of what drawing and painting should be.I use literal measurements to track my journeys through the UK, using specific found objects, such as postcards and other markers to reference places I have visited. I combine this logical mapping with spontaneous, gestural lines, to generate a flux of understanding and chaos, questions rather than answers.
The sculptural situations I make hold onto this negative, unconsidered space and give the mundane an importance. Diagrams and skins seem recurring in the status of the objects and interventions I devise, recognizing a moment from the past or potential future. I use video to document and prolong these ephemeral moments. Video has become both a tool of presentation and experimentation, my methods of documentation of process and the journey behind a finished piece often becomes the most important part of a work.
I showed the site specific installation ‘Baker-Miller Pink: Trees’ and ‘String House’ as part of the Illuminating York Exhibition 2016 at the York Minister and in The Royal Academy of Arts, London, using cardboard boxes as a surface for projection. The piece was made in reaction to my local woodland which was to be demolished for urban housing. Making a series of ‘string houses’, using a simple white line to create a net or spatial drawing of a house, I encouraged people passing by to think more carefully about the eventual fate for this green space. I used cardboard boxes as a surface for projection and as an object of symbolic purpose; removal of natural space is overlooked in our society, similarly how we put old and unwanted items in a box – to store or throw away.
I collaborated with my class mate Anna Marsh in a student organised exhibition ‘Remote Controller’ at an old police station in Deptford, London. I really enjoyed responding to such a politically charged site. I felt I really stepped out of my comfort zone as we also became performers in the video piece which we showed alongside the two sculptures we made in the space. Cleaning the walls in nude body suits, we wanted to question the role of the female in society and the professions associated and restricted to them, such as cleaning. ‘Wash away’ discussed identity and the hierarchy of institutions that both guide and control our lives. In biblical refference to ‘Washing away sin’, the hygiene rituals we take so much for granted are taken away from individuals in situations of confinement and punishment. Thinking about the prison ‘cell’ as a human body cell or skin, we used sponges and a soap as materials to represent the permeable boundaries between criminal and victim.
My connection to home is very important to me, whether it’s news or changes influencing my work, the other creative people I communicate and work with, and the galleries I have shown in. I was an assistant to the British artist Garth Evans last year, I helped make a miniature model of his larger steel sculpture originally made for a town square in Cardiff in 1972. The wooden sculpture was then shown as part of the ‘City Sculpture Projects 1972’ exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. This opportunity was very valuable to me as it gave me a direct insight into the realm of public artworks in Northern England, and how they can socially generate many reactions and often tensions between class systems.
With my recent move to New York, I feel my making has dramatically shifted, in both topic and processes. I have begun using relief print making and screen printing to execute bolder sculptural drawings, as seen in a new work ‘Fragments’. Referring to the colours of both the British and American flag, I created an ambiguous comment on the similar fragmented political situations both our countries are currently experiencing.
I think as any young artist would agree, communication and collaboration are very important. Meeting other creative people is where I get many of my ideas and opportunities from, and speaking up is something which takes a lot of guts but you’ll often gain rather than loose. The worst that will happen is that you might get a funny look- so you’ve not got much to loose! Friendship is also important in the studio, you can often get extreme lows and worries which is totally normal, sometimes all you need is just a good conversation. Self doubt is something I constantly battle with, being confident in yourself and not giving up is paramount. Not knowing is something which can be used to your advantage and I often find mistakes in making often lead me on more exciting tangents than a definite outcome. I try to see as many art shows and exhibitions as possible, and perhaps some I won’t enjoy or agree with, but then I can figure out why exactly that is. All experiences we face leave us with some sort of feeling or opinion, whether good or bad, and it is these responses that motivate me to make art and remain an open minded, sensitive person.