Rebecca Mason's arresting neon works are worth much more than 1000 words. By layering impactful neon typography upon a backdropped stream of consciousness, she creates works that make observations about life, love, money and culture. See inside her glowing studio, browse her brand new release of original works and discover why she's one-to-watch right now.
Tell us about the artwork you make. What are the processes you use, and the concepts that lie behind it?
My work is text based. Each piece is a combination of a neon word or phrase embodying a theme atop a background brimming with text that I’ve written. I spend a lot of time drawing out spider diagrams of concepts to capture, from our assumptions, fears, double standards and flaws (particularly my own), to our egos and the desire to be “right”. Money, power and control are central to many of the works. I try to play around with these and include some whimsy. In my 'Flaws' piece for example, I deliberately incorporated some errors.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Never. I still have great difficulty calling myself an artist. I prefer to say “I do art”, followed by “art that doesn’t involve much painting or drawing”. I started doing this work for my own home as a cathartic output related to occurrences in my life. My pieces seemed to resonate with others so I pursued it further, but I am still embarrassed when anyone calls me an artist!
What's the biggest risk you've taken as an artist?
Leaving the comfort of a steady job with a salary to pursue my art, never knowing whether I would sell my works. It’s extremely difficult to get used to such sporadic income flows, and whatever I make is always ploughed back into new works. I would never have understood the struggles and the risk had I not lived through it.
What is it about language and typography that fascinates you?
The idea that one word or phrase can have so many different meanings, interpretations and angles.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful piece?
There are several I am particularly fond of and it does vary according to my mood (and when I am reminiscing about what gave rise to that piece) but right now it’s a new one: “When It Dawns On You” which says “it’s wonderful” in neon over an image of the earth. The earth is covered in small, hard to read, text about human atrocities. It’s a reaction to the demand for uplifting art, being commercial and human reactions. I am very pleased with it, although it took about a year to get right and was very hard to research. I’ll have prints within a couple of months (watch this space).
What motivates you to make new work?
It’s the only way I know how to say what I want to say; to have a voice (I can really struggle to articulate myself verbally); and to check my views. Each piece makes me question my own prejudices and analyse my thoughts and assessments about what I see around me. Also, if I don’t make new work, the fear that I will fall behind is huge motivator.
Where do you seek inspiration?
Through the human behaviour I perceive.
What’s playing in your studio right now?
An alternation between Nick Cave and Pulp.
Three artists (deceased or living) you’d most like to host a dinner party for?
I wouldn’t want 3 artists, I would want an artist, an author and a psychotherapist: Grayson Perry, Charles Dickens and Philippa Perry.
Favourite inspirational quote?
It’s not really an inspirational quote but just the mantra that we shouldn’t make assumptions about others and should alway try walking a mile in their shoes. I think we would all be a lot kinder to each other if we did this. Aside from that it would have to be: “you’re a long time dead”.
Escape to the Riviera | Browse the Collection
Flora and fauna have forever been an inspiration for art, but now more than ever artists are finding new and inventive ways to bring our world to life. Out are the days of hyper-realistic flower fields and seasonal still life studies, replaced by delicate sculpture, clashing colours and bold neon prints.
Inspired by the longer, brighter days, I've curated a spring inspired selection of five artists challenging the concept of beauty and the interpretation of the natural world, reimagining it in their own unique way through art. As spring shifts into summer, there really isn’t a more appropriate time to give the art in your abode a well-deserved spring clean…
1 Fantastical Fauna
I adore the otherworldly style of Sophie Iremonger’s art. She captures beautifully delicate illustrated flowers as if they are not part of this world at all but transporting you into an alternate magical cosmos. ‘Cherry Blossom Nostalgia’s’ plucky palette of yellows, pinks and purples is a great way breathe life and colour into a room. I personally think it would look great in an entrance hall - what a welcome for guests!
2 Neon Nature with Bluebell Wood Spring
I have to admit, I just can’t help but stare at Helen Brough’s work, trying to read it and figure it out. It just doesn’t fit into the ingrained traditional image of a bluebell wood for me…Which is exactly why I am so engaged by it. Her interpretation completely challenges my idea of what I perceive to be a springtime woodland, flooding my sight with unexpected electric colours and familiar but not quite formed shapes and textures of the woodland.
3 Blossoming Bliss
I love how Laura has transformed a symbol of spring that can tend to look prissy and fussy into a feminine and striking feature. Through bold oil paint brushstrokes and an alternate colour palette she has captured the movement and transient energy of blossoms in spring. I can imagine this being a real focal point in a living room, the large bloom pattern and sprinkling of white paint splashes give this piece multiple layers and textures that can be incorporated into furnishings.
4 Picturesque Planting
If you like the idea of furnishing your home with planting, but you’re not blessed with green fingers, Simon Job’s series of paintings ‘Trace’ will bring the natural beauty of flora into your home hassle free. His ethereal images draw attention to the beauty of the most common-place plants in our natural environment. These medium sized works would suit being hung as a series in a kitchen or dining room, the blue hue palette bringing a touch of calm to a typically busy room.
5 Spring into Sculpture
Claire Brewster’s beautiful paper cut outs are an utterly unique take on traditional depictions of nature. Using old maps, Claire creates delicate 3D paper collages that literally leap from the wall, the colours and print of the original map add layers of detail to draw the viewer in for a closer inspection. The warm summer colours and delicate design of the rose would look great in a living room or bedroom with touches of floral pattern woven through furnishings to bring the theme together without being overkill.
The Spring Catalogue | Browse the Collection
Trending Right Now
Viva Europa | A Selection of Our Top European Artists
Beat the Brexit Blues and celebrate ten of our favourite European artists at Rise Art. Some hail from the sunny climes of Greece and Spain, while others have their roots in the Hygge-loving Nordic regions. Each of these artists brings something unique to Rise Art, and we’re excited that they’re able to share with us the visual flavours and tastes of the Continent. Find the feature on the blog.
Out and About with Rise Art
This past weekend our Artist Champion, Izzy Proby, headed over to the Wimbledon Open Studios to catch up with our amazing Wimbledon Studios artists, Harriet and Aisling. Both are producing outstanding work and we encourage Rise Art followers to keep up to date with these talented young ladies.
Rise Art News
Workshop with Kristjana S Williams at Harrods
Get those creative juices flowing with the fabulous Kristjana S Williams, who will be holding mask-making workshops at her pop-up in Harrods on 19 and 20 May. The event is absolutely free, so channel that inner artist and get involved.
On a Roll | Stella Kapezanou
Stella is on fire! It seems nobody can get enough of her funky and vibrant contemporary paintings. To add to the list of her many accomplishments, the artist has been shortlisted for the 2017 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize as well as the Chiara Williams Contemporary Art 2017 SOLO Award. An exhibition for the former opened yesterday at Piano Nobile, King’s Place and an exhibition of the ten finalists for the SOLO Award, including Stella, will be opening on 31 May.
ArtSlant Winner | Michelle Hold
We are pleased to share the news that Michelle has won an ArtSlant Award for her extraordinary abstract painting called ‘Touched By Water’. Find the winning painting available for purchase here at Rise Art. Plus we have many more of Michelle's beautiful artworks to choose from…
Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival | Helen J Young
Our very own Helen J Young has just exhibited her magnificent paintings as part of the Oxfordshire Artweeks open studios. If you missed the show, keep up to date with Helen's latest activities and take a look at her abstract works here.
Paradise at Nelly Duff | Dave White
Next week sees the opening of Dave’s new show, ‘Paradise’, at Nelly Duff. The artist’s dynamic wildlife works are unmistakable and, quite frankly, irresistible! Take a look at his impressive collection on Rise Art here. The exhibition will run from 25 May to 4 June.
Art World Happenings
Photo London | Somerset House
2017 marks the third year of Photo London, one of the biggest photography events on the arts calendar. Leading galleries from around the world exhibit the brightest and best photographers from every region. Escape the rain this weekend and head to Somerset House for the exceptional show.
Mamma Mia! | Canaletto & Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery
Today an exciting exhibition opens at The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Lose yourself in 18th Century Venice and get up close and personal to spectacular works by Canaletto, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Rosalba Carriera, Pietro Longhi and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. We recommend grabbing a slice of pizza on your way home to round off the outing.
Viva Europa | Browse the Collection
Check out our exclusive studio visit and Q&A with Icelandic artist Kristjana Williams.
Art should be something that brings you joy when you look at it. With this in mind, I’ve chosen my favourite Rise Art photographers whose works really make me laugh. I’d love these works on my walls, to make me smile every day.
Edina's works are an explosion of energy, intrigue and passion. In an instant, they communicate big ideas and big moments from both world histories and personal histories, referred to in the titles of each work. Adriana Marques met with one of her favourite artists to discuss her journey to becoming a professional painter.
Brexit getting you down? Celebrate Europe Day with our edit of the top 10 artists from across the Continent.
From Documenta in Greece, to our latest artist open studios in Wimbledon, London, get the inside scoop on art world happenings in this month's roundup.
With a bit of research and careful consideration, an artwork will make a beautiful and unexpected gift that is guaranteed to last a lifetime. Discover our head curator’s 5 top tips for buying art as a gift, whatever the occasion.
(and how yours can too!)