Joy Pitts creates stunning artwork from clothes labels, each one individually, painstakingly, pinned to the canvas, the finished results are truly incredible.
We had the absolute pleasure of meeting this lovely talented artist at her solo exhibition at Erewash Museum last week. There really is nothing like seeing the work up close and hearing the concept and story behind each piece from the artist herself.
Read on as she tells us more ….
I am based in the East Midlands and studied for four years at Nottingham Trent, BA Fine Art and then straight into MA Fine Art in 2006. Continuing straight to Masters was the best decision I made, the tutor support was excellent and I was awarded distinction for investigation of site. I applied for every exhibition and opportunity available and in the third year BA I was Artist in Residence at The Surface Gallery, Nottingham. In 2003 I won a national competition that was offered to students at a lecture. I also instigated small exhibitions all the way through university, using non-gallery spaces on and off site. I have worked part time as a Civil Servant for 20 years but I am now practicing full time as a professional Artist.
WHAT DO YOU CREATE?
Creating a canvas involves re-using thousands of garment labels. My time is divided between gathering used labels and assembling the work and I would estimate that 50% of my time is spent sourcing and preparing materials.
WHAT METHODS DO YOU USE?
I have no set routine. I usually start a project by visiting site, which over the last ten years has included two farms and a cattle market. This research helps me to get closer to the subject, which gives the work context. The collection of used labels is on going and I usually make visits to charity shops once a week.
WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO UPCYCLE FOUND OBJECTS TO CREATE ART?
Used clothing labels always tell us something about the person and who wore the garments such as their age, their line of work and what style of clothing they prefer. Labels not only tell us about the person but also about the fashion industry, design and care of the fabric.
FIRST UPCYCLED PIECE.
At college I was always producing lots of work by experimenting with different media, clothing being one of them. The first piece of work that I made with labels won a national competition and this encourage me to continue. The piece is called ‘Shopping Bag’ and is a plastic carrier bag covered in used garment labels.
MY FAVOURITE PIECE.
My work is driven by the idea and all of the pieces assembled from used labels are developed though research. There is a connection to garments and animals with all the pieces. For example, stories of transformation associated with the swan and the ugly duckling. Even the Longhorn Bull is bred for his good looks and ability to win prizes in the show rink. Paul Smith is known for his love of Rabbits and he requested this Commission.
DO YOU UNDERTAKE COMMISSIONS?
Yes, recent Commissioms include Paul Smith, Liberty London, Nottinghamshire County Council and most recently a piece for Woolweek, Savile Row, London.
My work with used garment labels has won several awards, including the sculpture prize at Nottingham Castle for ‘Robe’ assembled from 10,000 Used Labels.
WHICH ARTISTS INSPIRE YOU?
In terms of inspiration Van Gogh has been a constant. Cornelia Parker has recently attracted my attention with her recent show at the Whitworth, Manchester. The best advice I received was from a tutor at a low point in my career which was to remember why I wanted to be an artist in the first place, and this was for the pure enjoyment of making.
WHERE CAN YOUR WORK BE SEEN AND PURCHASED?
My work has been showcased in two solo exhibitions during 2015 which has generated much interest and enquiries. The best way to keep up to date is to sign up to my news letter via my website contact page www.joypitts.co.uk or follow me on twitter @JoyPitts11.