I hope it will bring me new insights and ways of working and that the resulting artworks will form evidence of what else might be possible.
Could you please describe your alter egos? Who are these personalities that are guiding you on the artistic journey?
Donna is an angry, physical (and occasionally violent,) coercive, loyal and funny 19yr old. Doris is in her 70's, a German speaking artist, she's fluid, fearless, opportunistic, reflective, a bon-viver with many intimate friends and lovers. Little D is my child-self, playful and naughty, clumsy and curious.
My other alter-ego Tatiana Bogdanova is less developed, and I am keeping her firmly in the cupboard now! She's a Russian rhythmic gymnast, a perfectionist who is controlled and determined – but also a people pleaser which is a tough contradiction. Her head is a scary place of judgment.
That sounds very intriguing. Could you please say a few words about the show? What is the idea behind your artwork?
Dazwischen – the between. In this series of work, my alter-ego Doris is in the driving seat. She encourages me to throw paint as a way to explore ideas of release and control, it's really energising. She also challenges me to let go of the idea of what the final artwork should look like. This is both tricky and illuminating, I want to feel free but keep discovering ways in choice, constraints or safety barriers are present. As I've made more work with this method, the physicality and gesture of throwing and the way the paint moves has become more important. I see the possibilities of painting in the sky and there's a performance element which I haven't understood yet.
It's still a work in progress so it felt important to show a film of the process. The video is a sketchbook that documents what I've been doing but also acts as a map for where I go next. And looking at it now, I see how my other alter-egos are in the work, making their marks. I don't know what will happen next, that's the exciting bit.
You mentioned that you were involved in the feministic movement in the UK. How do you use a feministic lens in your artistic practice? What does it bring into your life in general?
I see the world through a feminist lens. It's a part of my identity that is rock solid since I was a teenager in the 1980's wave of feminism. It's bought me great solidarity with other women and pro-feminist men, a critical perspective that helps me to see and challenge power relations and a confidence that it's not all about me, the society and culture matters and the personal is still political. That point of view is always in my art practice, my alter-egos are feminists of diverse kinds (some I disagree with!)
I'm currently collaborating on a feminist tv writing project that asks, "what is a feminist life now?" Patriarchal societies are hard to live in, navigate and change. As someone who's white western middle-class (she/her), I know I'm fortunate but I'm constantly checking where I'm at. There aren't any easy answers but I'm active in the debates, trying to keep my thinking open and relevant as discrimination and oppression evolve and the backlash against women's self-determination continues. I see wider solidarity, intersectionality and progressive commonality as ways forward.
What do you try to achieve as an artist? Do you consider "being an artist" as your next career or an element of self-therapy or a tool of self-development in your main profession?
Big question! I don't know yet what exactly I want to achieve as an artist. The idea is that engaging in an artistic practice can help me access better versions of myself so in that sense it is a tool of self-development. It has a potentially therapeutic outcome but isn't not explicitly an art therapy process I am working on. And I don't really know what my main profession will be in the future. I plan to make more art and see what emerges.
Dawn, many thanks for such a great conversation! I would love to see how your alter egos will continue to reveal themselves and to interact with each other and the environment. All the best!
Thanks again. I'm going to interview my alter-egos and see what they come up with.