“I always bring in the different elements of my studio space into my work, it literally becomes like the raw material of my work and that’s where my ideas are translated and developed and transformed into art pieces.” – Winnie Mo
Young British multi-disciplinary artist, born in East London currently living and working between Paris & London, finishing a fine art MA at the l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and Central Saint Martins.
Upcoming performance piece on the 25th of April at the Camden Art Center. Exhibited at Bétonsalon, l’Amour, the Beaux-Arts of Paris, etc.
Her work moves around ideas of negative and positive space, as a photographic representation of the human body as the raw material that translates movement through collage, video, installation, sculptures, drawings, and performances.
What is your definition of a studio?
Definition of a studio? It is a safe environment that encourages and stimulates creativity, day and night, in all forms of expression.
If you were to talk about a futuristic studio, what would be your future studio?
The future studio would be a huge open plan, high ceiling, amazing windows, part of a building that would center lots off amazing other artists, covering all sorts of artistic [can’t even find my words now] ways of expressing their ideas, like a community of artists. It isn’t just an individual space, I think that’s the way I see it.
Do you think having communal machinery to facilitate artists work, could work in a studio block?
I think, that’s an amazing idea, thats an amazing idea, machinery is so expensive to be able to own, and its think, to have it in an individual way of working with it is not an interesting idea, I think sharing it and also to be able to create a space where communication and dialogue can happen and exchanges through using all of these different equipments, I think thats the way forward, that said, obviously it would need to be multiplied and easy access because in universities its always like going to a shopping mall and having to queue to access it, I mean it cant slow the activity down, it would have to really encourage it and solidify it. To make it easier.
Would you express your personal work, and say how it affects studio spaces directly?
Yeah, I mean one of the reasons why studios benefit the fact your working on this, really interestingly, my work is really influenced by my environment, I always try to talk about how the location that you’re in or the environment that you’re in really influences your work and the way of expressing different ideas. So, I always bring in the different elements of my studio space into my work, it literally becomes like the raw material of my work and that’s where my ideas are translated and developed and transformed into like, I wouldn’t say final products, but art pieces.
Space is so, also regarding movement, and how it can encourage movement and encourage development, I feel like if you have space, anything is possible, the sky is your limit. Once you have space, tats when the creativity can really explode and I’ve noticed that in having to work in different environments, different spaces, how it can affect my work and even talking about just the height of ceilings, how height of ceilings can let your ideas move around in space, and so its like this idea of movement that suddenly becomes a way of seeing things. Or like, the light how the light can affect it, thats something that I really want to push actually, in my work in London is trying out different spaces and how that can influence it, a different kind of level that Paris hasn’t managed to offer so far.
So you like moving from studio to studio? Not necessarily having your fixed studio?
Well no, of course if I was able to find my ideal studio space, I don’t even know if that exists, but if I was able to obviously I would love to stay there but I think the idea of residencies, short term residency, I think also just the idea of working, exhibiting work in different spaces, you have to work with the space that you’re exhibiting in. I wouldn’t be able to produce work or produce an exhibition not knowing where that is going to happen. I feel like that would obviously influence me, depending on the city, depending on the access to the studio space and so, I feel like, obviously, if I could have a studio space, I could find a studio space that’s where I would, that would be my foundation and where id be like, stuck. But then I’d be able to experiment different locations through exhibitions, residencies and collaborations, like I love being involved with lots of creative ideas that are happening and lots of creative projects around me, to be able to adapt in different environments.
What do you think of being able to collaborate with people who were not artists?
Yeah totally, I think that’s amazing, like scientists or I mean, everyone’s an artist in a certain way, I don’t know if it means writers, musicians, or performers, fashion designers, film directors or even, I was talking to a lawyer in Paris, his way of treating law is like learning, how we ere saying earlier, its about having this knowledge so that you can then twist it and mend it. Everything that he was saying, it just made so much sense to what I was trying to express at that time, I started to read Oliver Sucks the Neurologist, who’s like studying minds and how people can use their body in different ways and go through traumatic experiences, all of these things really nourish and infuse my ideas, if I could collaborate with people like that, I would. And that is like finding, trying to create a new kind o language to translate different ideas that can be infused into each other.
Do you think it’s important being here in the city?
Yes. I didn’t think that it was until I was extracted by aliens and chucked out into a field into the south of France *Both laugh* When it kind of, reality hit me that I needed things happening, I needed that energy, I needed diversity, I need cultures, I need access to information. So I don’t know if its, if it was because I was at a young age that I didn’t know how to access information, so for me being in a city was important but I would love to, I mean I have a countryside house and I feel like being able to have both worlds is amazing, but cities for me is really where, you know, its really where it happens. Energy wise, it’s crucial.
Further into the city or further into the borough, where do you need to be?
Yeh, but I also feel like there are places that can be turned into creative areas and residencies that don’t necessarily have to be attached directly to a city. It could be kind of like a sanctuary where it can encourage creative, and freedom of creativity and expression where you can kind of like go, and be in a safe space and be able to communicate with lots of different people and then go back into the city and infuse all of that, almost like a rehab centre of something, but obviously yes I am a city girl.
So would you feel comfortable if a studio was attached to accommodation or to retail?
I think thats a really interesting idea, and obviously it would need to be able to cater for certain demands like artistic demands, just being able to experiment, to experiment with, like you said air or with structure, it can always, for it to be, the worry I guess would always be that it would end up being a commercialised space that would be influenced by its surroundings but if its, kind of a bare bone structure that offers the freedom to just kind of, wipe the slate clean and start of from nothing and then kind of be, like participate in the environment, and yet at the same time be completely different, be side-tracked, then I don’t see how it couldn’t work.
What do you believe is the future of studio spaces in London?
What would I like to believe of studio spaces in London? Well ideally if the could multiply as many as possible and be able to cater for the high demand of artists that are, unfortunately, from what I’ve heard, is having to leave the city because it’s just too expensive to be a struggling artist. I mean obviously, if they could multiply and be dropped all over the city and create amazing environments that exciting and stimulating areas that are turning into artistic areas, is what I would hope for. It is essential to have space.
To add to the conversation regarding artists in London, as to why artists should stay while gentrification is happening, what would your viewpoint be?
I feel like, its first off having access to art, if art is constantly being pushed outside it complicates the access to art. And art should be, from what I believe accessible to as many people as possible because it really is a true kind of instinctive weird wacky way of expressing its like another language the should be, yeah like I said, like accessible to everyone, so by pushing it away, that isn’t allowing that to happen. So that would be my first argument.
If you had to talk to a developer, what would you want to communicate to them?
The investment, and to trust that creativity is as important, maybe not as important as accommodation but I feel like it goes hand in hand. You need people that are expressing ideas.
To offer a space where artists could be influenced by their environment, by whats happening but you know, also, obviously Oxford Street wouldn’t have, I mean I think it would start questioning so many things, if all of these buildings started to cater on top of them, for all these different kind of forms ofpracticee, art and all these huge retail shops would have to, they would have to take it into consideration, all of this energy I cant even imagine actually how that would influence it but obviously it would influence it for the best.
Perhaps not talking about residential but for there to be artist studio spaces, and then residential for non-artists this is residential for the artists.
I think if more of those popped up I think it would revolutionise the art world, wouldn’t it. Its like creating residencies within a city that encourages dialogue. Also having a space that can shelter different practices, like you said, collaborations working with people that are doing different practise but also non-artists, once you broaden up the diversity of the practise within a big space its then that you’re going to be able to step outside your comfort zone and meet all of these interesting people and bring an audience that can influence all of that.
The notion that the studio literally becomes the basis for so many artists art pieces encourages a conversation regarding materials, and which materials may be appropriate within a studio space.
How can this be developed and altered depending on the residing artist.