Artist Interview - Lottie Reay

Artist interview between Shannon Skye Robinson and Lois Emma Harkin (Curating Futures Project Coordinator), and Lottie Reay (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 Lottie Reay (LR)

SSR/LEH: What is your background?

LR: I studied BA (hons) Embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University (graduating in 2006) where I specialised in knit and sculpture. I then trained to be a secondary school teacher and taught in a fantastic school in Surrey for 13 years until I did my MA Fine Art at City & Guilds London School of Art this past year. The MA was incredible and has reinvigorated my practice. I’m now beginning to balance teaching

and producing work.


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

LR. I had amazing art and textile teachers at school that were a huge inspiration. They taught me to understand the potential of materials and to take risks.

Artwork produced by Lottie Reay


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

LR: My work has certainly become a crucial tool for healing, self-acceptance and a site for play and humour. It has helped me process grief, loss, love… all the big stuff!

Artwork produced by Lottie Reay


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

LR: I use the banal and commonplace, materials such as glass, Blancmange, shower curtains, Monster Munch, lubricant and verruca socks. I want to play with the audience’s expectations, objects aren’t always what they seem. The familiar and bizarre play hide and seek within flaccid frameworks; a pom pom dipped in hair gel hangs from a floppy balloon grid, close by, a tangle of Silly String hints to a party, yet unbeknown to many Silly String is used in the

military to detect trip wires. There is a seriousness and silliness, a sense of celebration and


Artwork produced by Lottie Reay


SSR/LEH: Who are your biggest inspirations?

LR: Prem Sahib and Felix Gonzalez-Torres explore queerness with such economy and clarity, Jes Fan for their intriguing mix of materials and use of glass and Helen Marten for her incredible installations and ability to manipulate language. Marten expertly deconstructs material and object hierarchies by arranging seemingly disconnected objects together. Things are not always as they seem, she keeps you guessing and never gives you the answer. I could spend days looking at her work.

Artwork produced by Lottie Reay


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

LR: I am interested in the volatile and mischievous nature of materiality and language. I disrupt, switch and manipulate objects and materials to raise questions about the unstable and often intangible nature of identity, desire and sexuality. Repurposed found ephemera is placed alongside made objects to pose questions about how and why we assign meaning and value to the plethora of stuff that surrounds us. I am interested in the capacity materials have to quickly generate associations of people, places, sounds, smells, and time. By examining materiality and the domestic through a queer lens I raise questions about acceptance and the inherent power structures within heteronormativity.


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

LR: To trust my instincts and to be receptive to the unexpected. My studio is full of stuff, little experiments, nick nacks that I’ve found. I love it when you arrive at your desk and you feel like the objects and materials are already having a conversation and you just need to join in.

Artwork produced by Lottie Reay


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

LR: Gosh what a question, at times I feel it is just for me and other times everyone. Materiality underpins all that I do, and everyone has an understanding of that to some degree. It is important to investigate texture, surface, smell, taste, the whole sensory experience, especially when we spend much of our lives tied to technology.

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

LR: When stuck just make, even if it is small and silly it will open up something.

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

LR: It’s great to be part of a community, especially as creating work can be a lonely place. To be able to share ideas and ask for help when you need it is so important.


You can find Lottie Reay via her Instagram