Katie Woods wears many hats. She’s an interior design enthusiast, a successful blogger, a dentist and a mum of four. In 2016 Katie started her blog Come Down to the Woods to document the renovation of her new family pad, the Peach Palace - so named because peach-heavy 60s decor dominated its interior. Katie has spent the last two years transforming the house into a stylish home bursting with character, colour and art. Lots of art.
Katie’s eclectic collection of portraits, neons, prints and sculptural pieces have given the Peach Palace of the past a whole new personality. We ask Katie about what inspires her art choices and how she goes about finding the next piece. Plus, we find out which are her favourite picks on Rise Art.
When did you start collecting art and why is it important to you?
I spent my 20s and early 30s thinking that art wasn't affordable. I would pass galleries and avoid art websites just presuming it would be too expensive. It's not until relatively recently that I've realised this just isn't the case. Some of my favourite pieces have been the less expensive ones. I wish that I'd started collecting earlier.
You have an eclectic collection of artwork at the Peach Palace. How would you describe your taste in art?
Unpredictable! I was lucky enough to be given a voucher for a piece of art and most of what I had saved as favourites took me by surprise. Art is like that, you think you know yourself and then something that you don't expect to love comes along and you can't stop thinking about it.
What are two of your favourite pieces in your collection and why?
I am literally obsessed with Andrew Millar. I adore the delicate gold leaf. His pieces are just mesmerising. I also love a canvas by @houseoffiv5 that I've had framed. She's a Dutch artist who I commissioned to produce this piece. It's a bit cheeky but perfect for our home.
When you're looking for your next piece, where do you start? Do you think about the space first or do you find an artwork you like and then decide later where you'll place it?
I always look for pieces that make me happy before I look at where they will fit. You have to LOVE what you choose.
What's more important when choosing a work of art, its potential investment value or how much you like it?
I've never once thought about investment. William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." I always look for beauty first. If it happens to become useful by increasing in value then that's just a bonus.
What are your ambitions for the Peach Palace going forward?
This house is like the Forth Road Bridge. It's so lived in (what with 4 young kids and a big hairy dog) that as soon as one room is finished another needs doing. I put so much time and thought into the design of this place though that I just want to enjoy what we have. Saying that, there is another floor that we haven't touched. I can't wait to get my hands on that (just need the money tree to flower first).
What are your 5 favourite works on Rise Art at the moment, and why?
Because pink and green should always be seen.
This work is monochrome perfection. Simple and captivating.
3. Mr Treat by Anna Marrow
These colours and this composition are guaranteed to brighten your mood.
There isn't a piece of Miguel's that I don't adore. Forever fun.
I don't even know how I feel when I see this, but it makes me feel and that's why I love it.
"Art is longing. You never arrive but you keep going in the hope that you will.”
- Anselm Kiefer, German painter and sculptor
Gina Parr and Ian Hoskin met as Fine Art postgrads at Middlesex Polytechnic in North London. Gina originally practised as a Painter and Performance Artist before going on to have a successful 25-year career in TV Production Set Design. Ian developed his career in Photography as a freelancer for the BBC Picture Publicity Department and worked on his own photographic projects in parallel, originally working exclusively with film and print in the darkroom before bringing digital techniques into his practice. In 2007, Gina left her Set Design days behind and returned to Painting and Photography full-time.
Today the artist couple live in Devon and enjoy backpacking around the globe. Gina's work is informed by landscape; she produces painted pieces in the studio and on her travels she photographs marks, decay and texture. Ian, meanwhile, focuses on capturing human subjects - and the traces they leave behind.
Gina, you worked for 25 years as a Set Designer in television. What made you return to being a Fine Artist full-time?
When I started designing for television, budgets, client expectations and opportunity for creativity were great. But as the years progressed, budgets shrank, expectations grew unreasonable and there were less opportunities for pure creativity.
The role of the Set Designer became that of an accountant, facilitator and organiser. I originally trained as a Fine Artist and after 25 years of Television Design it was time to return to my roots. The skills I employed as a designer, like spatial design, visualisation and project management, have all been invaluable to my work as an artist.
What is it about the Devon landscape that inspires your paintings?
As a child I spent time mackerel fishing with my father, and these trips formed my emotional bond with the landscape and seascape of the South West: beautiful, wild open spaces, changes in the weather and terrain and the freedom of natural space.
Counter to this, my life at home was very chaotic and cramped as my mother, a hoarder, filled every available space with possessions and was obsessed with collecting. My father died when I was 17, leading to my mother’s hoarding escalating to extreme levels. My work is a combination of the joy and sadness of these memories and present day reactions to beauty in the natural world, both here in Devon and as I travel.
Does your background in Performance Art come into your current work at all?
I started out as a painter and moved into Performance Art, drawing on the collaborations of Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. My approach to performance was always as a painter working in space. I’ve always been interested in exploring confinement and open space, and this continues in my work today: I create space in my work in order to control it.
Tell us about your photography. What references are you drawing on in this work?
I started photographing abstract marks on walls and surfaces in late 2010 whilst traveling in France, then Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. This was my way of painting with my camera whilst backpacking and on the move.
Subsequently when I travelled to Southern India in 2013, I found that the subject matter I photographed was influenced by the liminal abstract landscape/seascape themes that had been driving my studio painting work.
How do your paintings and photographs function differently, and how do they work together?
I have seen a developing symbiosis between my photography and my painting. I discover fantastical worlds when I photograph surfaces as I travel, and the same goes for my explorations in paint.
While photographing, I find colour palettes that I would not usually be drawn to when painting. This then has an influence on the direction I take with my painted studio work. And similarly, my painting process plays a part in my photography after I’ve spent a long stint in the studio.
Ian, what is it about Photography that appeals to you as a medium?
My introduction to photography was as a small boy in a makeshift darkroom my grandfather had. The process seemed magical and alchemaic. I was immediately hooked and over 50 years later that transmogrification from light into fixed image still fascinates me.
Are people your primary subject of interest?
Yes, people are my primary focus - either by their presence as individuals or as part of a group they form. I’m also interested in the traces people leave behind over time.
What are the ideas behind your Defaced series?
I’m intrigued by the idea that an image of a person can elevate them temporarily. After that, fame or notoriety can fade. These images of degraded and defaced posters on walls in Southern India of politicians, movie stars, celebrities, obituary notices and people wanted for crimes are my way of illustrating Warhol’s notion of ‘15 minutes of fame’.
Sometimes you shoot in black and white, and other times in colour. What informs these choices?
I haven’t used colour film since I worked freelance for the BBC’s Picture Publicity Department 20 years ago. I can’t develop it in my darkroom and I like to be in control of the image processing at every stage. The translation from colour to tones of grey is important for some subjects and not others.
My Defaced series would be very dull in Black and White, but the series I’m currently working on about the buildings that some Christian congregations use as their churches would (for me) become a simple record of architecture if it were in colour [see an example from this series above]. There is also a timeless element to Black and White.
Posted by Aimee Morris on 03rd September 2018
Earlier this year Rise Art held a global competition to uncover exciting contemporary artists working around the world. The winner of the Rise Art Prize Global Artist of the Year title, South African artist Lebohang Kganye, moved the judges with her theatrical photography. Lebohang’s work, which incorporates sculpture and performance, explores the artist’s family history - and by extension, the history of South Africa.
Since the Rise Art Prize Lebohang has exhibited at the Marrakech and New York editions of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. For Touria El Glaoui, Founder of 1-54 and Rise Art Prize judge, Lebohang’s work has an “undeniable presence”. “She distorts the linearity of time,” says Touria, “by exploring how history, memory and nostalgia can be altered, reshaped and rewritten - in a sense she is time-travelling through her work.”
Works from Lebohang’s Ke Lefa Laka (‘Her Story’) series are currently on show in a group exhibition, L’Afrique n’est pas une île (‘Africa Is No Island’), at the new Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech. In her Ke Lefa Laka series, Lebohang inserts herself into lifesize photographic scenes constructed from family photos and archive images.
You’ll spot the artist on the far right in Pied Piper above, dressed as her grandfather. By superimposing her present onto her family’s past, Lebohang investigates her personal history while also exposing, and questioning, the wider national narrative that this familial history fits into.
Meet Miguel Vallinas Prieto, the Spanish artist using surreal photography to explore themes of identity and human nature. Miguel discovered photography in his teens and began developing prints in a homemade laboratory built by his father. Now his photographs are held in private collections around the world and his images are featured in the likes of Vogue, Vanity Fair and the Guardian.
Andy Gotts is one of only a handful of British photographers to have been recognised by HM the Queen. In 2012, Andy was awarded an MBE for services to Photography and Charity. The Norfolk-born artist has captured some of the biggest screen stars of our generation. But it’s not just the celebrity subjects themselves that make Andy’s portraits stand out - it’s the stories behind the shoots that give his works their character.
Scott Phillips and Marcos Steverlynck started Rise Art in 2011 with a mission to revolutionise the way people find and buy art. Today Rise Art represents over 1,000 artists, with 16,000 incredible works, and it’s grown from a small, UK focused business to a company shipping art to over 60 countries worldwide. Our CEO Scott Phillips offers his 6 secrets to start up success.
For Vinterior Founder and CEO Sandrine Zhang Ferron, it’s all about vintage. Sandrine’s sense of style isn’t just limited to her choice in furniture, and like her taste for interiors, Sandrine’s taste in art is eclectic. Find out what kind of works she collects and discover her top pieces on Rise Art.
We're launching our second crowdfunding campaign and you can get in on the action.
Marleen Pauwels’s paintings are hauntingly beautiful. Her semi-transparent figures embody the fragility of human life, their ghostly bodies set in isolation and silence against stark backdrops and empty spaces.
Rise Art Prize 2018 finalist Maria Magenta tells about her journey into art and why she loves painting from life.