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”.