The Black Mackerel

A Collaboration Between Makers.

The Black Mackerel

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In five words best describe your practice…

Graphic, minimal, female-centred (if you use a hyphen it counts as one word right?), multifaceted and maternal.

Is there a particular part of your practice you enjoy the most?

Pushing my abilities, whether it's my attempts to paint and draw or making silicon moulds. I have been very lucky to have opportunities to try and gain a variety of skills.

How did you discover your style?

This all came from having to defer in my last year of uni. I was desperate to find a way to keep making, so I started working with lino. My first print was based on the idiom ‘a red herring’ and was used for an exhibition poster. Everyone loved the fish as a print that I ended up selling them and that’s when negative space became an integral part of my print style. That was nearly three years ago, I think?

If this wasn’t your profession, what would be?

Sad to say it would probably be in hospitality, it’s my only experience… 

Best and worst things about being an artist?

I have had to return to hospitality, not just because having an irregular income is quite stressful but because I have found it quite isolating. That’s probably the worst part of working for myself and having my studio at home. The best bit for me is the freedom to manipulate my hours to fit around anything, However that can also lead me down a path that results in me doing absolutely bugger all… Swings and roundabouts though, right?

Who are your main influences?

There are a few from different artistic realms…Louise Bourgeois is my queen when it comes to fine art, she was a prolific maker until she died in 2010 aged 98. She made large scale sculptures and installations that were heavily influenced by her relationship with her parents and then her position as a mother. But in the world of illustration and graphics, Noma Bar, an Israeli graphic designer who redesigned the Murakami book covers and has done a fair amount of work for the Guardian too. He uses very simple block colours, stark lines and very clever placements of negative space.

Where did the inspiration for the collection come from?

We spoke about trying to make something that could be iconic, taking inspiration from the red herring but focusing on the idea of a fish. The Black Mackerel fitted perfectly as a bold design, especially the black ink against the Ash Studio Apron, but more so for the connection to Cornwall and fishing, even more so mackerels. 

What charity have you chosen, and why?

I found The Wave Project by chance, they use surfing therapy to help young people feel less anxious and more confident. I wanted to find something that had close connections to the sea and also attempt to find one based in Cornwall.

If you were a fish, what species and why?

Ummm… I love the idea of being a megalodon, yes very much extinct but pretty badass… However I know no-one would back me up on that. More likely to be closer to a Black Dragon fish. They are ugly as sin, think an eel and anglerfish procreated, but are bio-luminescent and the females can be 4x the size and much stronger than the males. So that’s probably more badass than an extinct shark.