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  • Writer's pictureVisual Space

Artist Spotlight - Manon Steyaert

Steyaert’s practice is predominantly based around the mediums of painting and sculpture, she aims to change the viewers perceived notions of each medium by bridging them close together, creating a blur or a sense of limbo between mediums, her paintings act as sculptures and sculptures as paintings. Using non-traditional materials, such as silicone, latex and cellophane, with painting, she is currently focused on pouring it herself, enabling her to be able to create a material from scratch to alter it from its beginning. ​She uses brightly coloured layers to create a sort of interruption in the space where the work is shown, enticing the viewer to analyse the surface of the works and become confused on how their gaze is “stolen” away from them through curiosity. Wanting to originally work in Fashion, Steyaert finds inspiration from fabrics and their possibilities to create forms, relating this to the canvas on a stretcher and the relationship between form and structure, wanting to see her materials live on their own, standing on their own “feet” away from the canvas frame, Steyaert has been exploring this through the medium of instillation with larger silicone works.

What’s your background? I moved over to England from France when I was 7 years old and been here ever since, I then went on to study an Art foundation and Fine Art Undergrad at Central Saint Martins (2014-2018) and finished my Masters in Fine art at Chelsea College of Arts last December and finally out of education now. I now have just moved into a new studio based in South Bermondsey, London.

What does art mean to you? To me, it means opening your mind to discover something new, taking the time to look at something and really take in the message being put across. I think art should be accessible to anyone who is interested to find out more about it, yes there are some concepts that aren’t for everyone but they’re the ones that make you think the most and challenge your own thinking.

How did you start making art/Why do you make art? I originally wanted to go into fashion and tried for an undergrad at Central Saint Martins and didn’t get in, looking back now I am very glad that I didn’t. I was very lucky to be introduced to museums and galleries from a very young age and even though I felt like I was being dragged through the gallery, it did make me curious on how to change a “normal viewing” of art. I make art because I want to challenge peoples perceptions on what they think about certain types of art, for example painting and sculpture, I also make it cause I love working with my hands.

What inspires you? What are your biggest influences? Inspiration does come from everything I think, spotting things around me that steal my gaze tend to inspire me, I become curious as to why I am so drawn to those things (colours/forms/architectures). I have recently started being very drawn to design magazines, or photos where coloured interior design is so aesthetically pleasing to look at. In terms of artists that have inspired me, have been Anne Truitt, Dan Graham, Justin Morrin and Ron Gorchov, all for different reasons, but I feel relate to my practice somehow. I like to take inspiration from a little of everything to broaden my perspectives, for example, at the moment I am in Portugal on a residency with PADA and have been very influenced by natural colours around me on my daily trip to the studio.

What’s the best thing about being an artist? Telling people I am an artist and seeing their reaction or ask whether I have another “real job”, but mostly I think it’s the ability to satisfy my curiosities and do what I love everyday.

What is your dream project/collaboration? My dream project would be to be able to fill a room with works that left people smiling or really questioning their own thoughts as to what they were looking at, I don’t think I am far enough in my career to think about these things just yet, I am just focusing on developing my practice and trying to get exhibitions.

How has your practice changed over time? I think my practice has changed a lot over time, tackling topics about painting and how it can progress as a medium. I have used various mediums in my practice to communicate a form of painting, I started with photography, then painting, sculpture and instillation, I like that I can use various mediums to communicate my practice over to the viewer.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given? I don’t think there is a perfect piece of advise that is suited to a particular artist, but I think the best I received was from my parents, “be bold and confident in what you do and you’ll get there”.

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