Our Head of Art Luke Baker recently sat down with Camilla Brendon, an exciting multi-disciplined artist who endeavours to shine a light on the important ecological issues of today through her interactive and thought provoking installations.
Created using found objects, Brendan’s work explores how the natural and the manmade exist together. As well as the human influence on vulnerable habitats, such as kelp forests.
The wellbeing of the planet (particularly our oceans) and the impact that we have on it heavily influences your work – has the idea of sustainability always inspired your creative process and is it the need to speak up on these issues that drives you?
Since 2013 I have worked exclusively to highlight sustainability issues through installation and 2D works along with art workshops that are intertwined with my practice. In 2018 I got together with Britt Alexander who works in ocean policy and my ongoing project called ‘Coast’ was launched. During the last five years I have worked with (and continue to investigate) plastics in all water systems, phytoplankton and kelp.
You often use salvaged materials in your work – has this always been a vital part of your process?
I began working with found surfaces when my university was having a big refurb. I would skip-dive and pull out amazing things like heavy wood tables and 1970’s style room dividers. I used these to paint on, I liked the idea that the items had a past and that my marks were adding to their already existing story.
This got me thinking about how much perfectly good and usable stuff gets chucked out every day. After graduating I moved to Japan on a working holiday visa and was influenced by what I experienced there. After returning to the UK I began to explore installation and was looking at paper chains and blossoms. The sheer amount of discarded newspapers solidified my interest in waste and how sustainability needed to be put onto governmental and public radars.
Tell us more about the background of your project Coast and is there anything that you particularly hope to achieve through your art in the future?
Over the past two years I have put most of my creative energy into the sub project which is called ‘Kelp Forest – Enhancing Biodiversity and Mitigating Climate Change’. I received Lottery Funding from The Arts Council, England to run a pilot of the project last spring at London Performance Studios and then toured the work around England.
I am currently developing a performance and recycled collage series to exist in the kelp forest called ‘Creatures of the Kelp’ this work looks at sightings on \unidentified Marine Objects or UMO’s and how they are linked to kelp. A pilot performance will be held on Saturday 20th May at Kindred Studios Open Studios in Shepherd’s Bush.
In the future I hope to continue achieving what I have always strived to do – which is highlight environmental issues in a proactive and positive way – including calls to action and other useful information. Also work to facilitate positive change to people’s lives through inclusive and accessible arts events and workshops.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
My biggest artistic influences are Jean Claude & Christo, Cy Twombly, Hugh Locke and Phyllidia Barlow.
Does creating art help you in other areas of your life?
I need to be creative somehow. I think creating art makes me calmer and a kinder person to be around. There have been a few occasions where I haven’t had a studio or much access to art and I have found myself cooking.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Tomorrow is a new day.