Artist Interview - Dawn Langley

Artist interview between Shannon Skye Robinson and Lois Emma Harkin (Curating Futures Project Coordinator), and Dawn Langley (Curating Futures Artist).


* Warning, mature content- nudity *


Date of Interview: 20th of December 2021

Participants: Shannon Skye Robinson (SSR) and Lois Emma Harkin (LEH) and Dawn Langley (DL)


SSR/LEH: What is your background?


DL: I am based in south east England where I have a small studio and work across a wide range of disciplines including digital practice (machine learning), photography, painting,

printmaking and artists books. I have exhibited across England and online. I often create

installation based works and prefer exhibiting in non-gallery spaces where I can develop site

responsive approaches. I completed an MA in Fine Art in September 2021. My early creative

career began with teaching art (mainly photography), participatory practices and curating.

Alongside my creative practice I regularly provide organisational development support to

arts and cultural organisations.

 

SSR/LEH: How did you get into art/ creativity?

DL. I have always been interested in art/creativity; I remember constantly making as a child. I

was encouraged and supported by family members who were also artistic.


Artwork produced by Dawn Langley


 

SSR/LEH: What do you get out of producing work?

DL: It feeds my curiosity, my search for new ideas, and helps me express myself. It allows me to explore different perspectives and get to the essence of a theme or issue that is important

to me.

Artwork produced by Dawn Langley


 

SSR/LEH: How do you want your work to be perceived by an audience?

DL: I would like audiences to find the work aesthetically attractive, I am interested in the use of beauty as a provocation. Beauty became outmoded and old fashioned in 20 th Century art. However, arguments have now been made that beauty gives our world meaning and counters a growing sense of alienation felt in the modern era. Once engaged I would like the work to be perceived as thoughtful, thought provoking, and questioning. In some cases the work may involve a call to action or a request for deeper engagement. What I don’t want is for audiences to be indifferent to the work.

Artwork produced by Dawn Langley


 

SSR/LEH: Who are your biggest inspirations?

DL: My inspirations are many and varied and tend to span three areas of practice:

Still Life: Rachel Ruysch, Fede Galicia, Olivia Parker Abstract Expressionism: Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Alma Thomas Digital practice: Anna Ridler, Ashley Zelinskie


Artwork produced by Dawn Langley

 

SSR/LEH: What are the main concepts or themes you explore within your work?

DL: My work is concerned with how our increasingly digital lives are influencing our cultural and social practices. For the last four years I have been exploring the notion of digital afterlife; my practice is very much about questioning the digital arena and its continuing impact on human life and death. This work has led to an interest in the future of digital practice and the possibility of autonomous computational creativity. Through a recent residency I am currently focused on women’s voices and representation, and how digital practice can provide new platforms for women who have been previously ignored, disregarded, or marginalised.



SSR/LEH: What is the main thing you have learnt through your creative practice?

DL: To work through the creative process and not commit to a single idea too quickly. To be

mindful of the tyranny of perfection. To exercise patience and allow the work to unfold

without putting undue pressure on myself to produce an output. I have learnt that my

practice is deeply rooted in research and that research and making are deeply intertwined

for me.


Artwork produced by Dawn Langley


 

SSR/LEH: Who is your work for? Yourself? A small community? A specific sector of society? Or is it for everyone?

DL: My audience varies dependent on the work I am making and the issues I am exploring. In some cases, where I am deliberately experimenting the work is primarily for me to support

my learning. I have undertaken some recent online residencies and the work produced has

been for that small community in the first instance, although I generally hope to develop the

work further. The projects I have undertaken on digital afterlife are aimed at a wider

audience who may have an interest in or be affected by the issues raised including

ownership, appropriation, and degradation of data.


SSR/LEH: What is the best piece of advice you could give to another artist, or someone just starting out in the creative sector?

DL: Draw on the work of others for inspiration and not comparison. Whatever you do make

your own work.


SSR/LEH: Why did you decide to join the Curating Futures community?

DL: I am looking for new opportunities to develop my work and the theme chimed perfectly

with my practice. I also enjoy working collaboratively particularly with international artists

who can open up my cultural experiences and understanding. I saw it as a chance to engage

with new challenges at the same time as providing a support network for my creative

development.

 

You can find Dawn Langley via her Instagram