I caught up with Becky Davies the girl behind Grumpy Girl Graphics to talk words, Blackpool as a creative space, being a woman and her forthcoming exhibition at Blott Studios.
Q. Tell us a bit about you.
A. Hi, my name is Becky Davies also known as a grumpy girl (graphics). I’m an interior design graduate working as a freelance designer/ artist. The majority of my works are very graphic and or spatial orientated and reflect my life experiences so far.
Q. What or who inspires you?
A. Being from Blackpool inspires me, being a woman inspires me, having had mental health problems inspires me, my family, my friends, my mentors pretty much everything. But I think my two main focuses and consistencies within my work at the moment are language and colour. I’ve been obsessed with colour theory ever since I started studying art in high school, colours represent different things from signs to genders, to emotions and I have always found that fascinating. Words are a new love of mine, I’m dyslexic and always had a huge fear of reading out loud so English wasn’t always my favourite subject, but I fell in love with slang when I moved away from home for two months when I was working as an intern in Amsterdam and I realised how informal my English was and the people that I worked with picked up on it all the time and would ask what I meant when somebody was walking with “10 to 2 feet” or asking what I mean when I said I was ” cured ” or asking what a “sket” was.
I think most artists try and express their own lived experience through their art form. Some of my art comes from sad places, some pieces are made out of anger and others come from really joyous times in my life. I know its cliché to say but art has always been my escape from the real world ever since I was young.
Q. Your text and image pieces feel like Blackpool as a place is important to you?
A. I think when it comes to art so much of it can be very conceptual of which some will be in the exhibition. But my passion is the typography where I get to speak my mind by simply putting, Its perhaps why it features so much, I feel that I can literally get everything that I need to say out of my system. I can turn Blackpool into Vegas or Hollywood, talk about mental health or make a visual statement about how I hate the word slut, making that word look appealing through the art of typeface. I think with my “OME IS Where the art is” series I get to depict Blackpool in a way that I see it. Blackpool has always been compared to Vegas of the north and I thought it felt like the right time to make work that depicted that.
Q. I think Blackpool tends to find its creative talent goes elsewhere. It’s refreshing to see artists such as yourself making work about their home and who they are as a female. Do you think you will stay here and make more feminist-based work – like the piece challenging the word “slut”?
A. I think when you live here its easy to get sick of Blackpool you can get drawn to the excitement of city life elsewhere away from the town. I was one of these people, I wanted something new so I went to university in Manchester and I worked away for a while but I think the time away made me realise how much I loved home and how special it was to me. Also, the creative community here is massively underrated, it’s amazing and that’s not just the arts either we have a great music scene, big photography and film culture here and there are so many events and publications that are here to support one another.
I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if it wasn’t for the help of the community. I’ve got to give a huge thank you to Blott Artist Studios and to Dirty Blondes they have both helped me out massively with my exhibition. I don’t have any plans for moving out of Blackpool my home is my muse! And there will 110% be more feminist based works coming from me, a lot of the works I’ve been creating for the exhibition started as slang pieces but have slowly evolved into more feminist pieces so I think I will be tuning to that side of myself and I’ll keep asking questions and keep educating myself.
Q. Interestingly, you mentioned your distaste for words, yet you use words in your artwork. Do you think you are tackling your mental health demons through your work and what sort of advice would you give to other creatives who might face similar barriers?
A. wouldn’t say it is a distaste, I’d say there is a love-hate relationship. With some words I’m obsessed and there are others words I hate and I question their existence. Using words in my work is a very new thing for me it’s taking off and I do enjoy it because I get to speak my mind. I think when I went to counselling it became more apparent how much I wrote. especially when I have bad spells and I’ll just stay up and write in my notes and get everything out of my system. So yes my art is a form of therapy for me for sure and words have a huge role to play in that.
Q. Any advice for other creatives?
A. My advice to any artist or creative would be.
- Listen to your body: overworking yourself will kill you in the long run so rest and come back to it.
- Tell your inner critic to shut up: I have a rule, if I wouldn’t say it to a friend then I shouldn’t say it to yourself. Self-doubt is the killer of creativity
- Think “Fuck it” ALL of the time: If you wanna do something just do it, what’s the worst that could possibly happen.
- Fail: Failing is the best thing you could do so when something goes wrong, remember you’ve learnt something and you’re a step closer to getting it right.
- Listen to your gut: The gut is right ALWAYS!
- Bad days happen: this is just a fact don’t beat yourself up about it nobody can be great all of the time.
Q. Would you describe yourself as a feminist? Why?/ Why not?
Oh yeah for sure! I’m a woman why wouldn’t I be? I’ve never been asked why it’s a bit of a weird one really when I think about it because I wasn’t raised as one. Maybe it was a form of teenage rebellion and it’s just stuck haha. I think I got sick of being told what to do and what was and wasn’t acceptable. I was told I just had to put up with this large accumulation of shit because “that’s just the way it is”. And I think I got to stage where I was just really angry about it and I didn’t know what to do with it so I just did what all artists do and just let it out.
Q. How can we find out more about your work?
Well I’m millennial so you can find me on Instagram and Facebook, I should have a website up at some point shortly and I will be having my first ever solo exhibition in September the opening night will be on Friday the 25th of September the exhibition will be running until the 30th of October. Find out more details here.
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