Charlotte Whiston

Kent / London

‘Charlotte specializes in Silkscreen Printing, often employing collaged photographic elements of architectural interiors and spaces. She is an artist interested in the reduction of form, the ambiguity of space and perception.’

What themes are you exploring at the moment in your work?

I’m working on a piece that is very different to any previous work in terms of its theme, the work is about a mental struggle that I was dealing with last year after a series of unexpected and unfortunate events that happened to me in a very short space of time. I made the plans for the work when I was in the situation and it’s taken me six months to get round to printing it, now out of the situation and in a much better place I feel really glad that I developed this work when I did. It allows me to see the struggle from another perspective and it may help other people who may be in a similar position than I was.  
This is the first time that I have explored a subjective experience within my practice, as opposed to my previous works that deal largely with the breaking down/reduction of external forms and elements.

How does architecture influence your practice?

Whilst studying for my MA at CSM I developed my screen printing practice, incorporating architecture and spacial forms which have formed the key elements to my work. This specific imagery can work as visual metaphor to a wider idea or it can be a literal representation of form, space and interior on a two dimensional plane. The process of translating a three dimensional image/interior/space onto something two dimensional enables me to explore the ways in which we read the image. The ambiguity of space is ever present in my work. Sometimes I do something as simple as turning a found image upside down, adding forms that fit with the idea and composition of the piece – like Falling Blocks and Yellow Sticks where I have simply turned the architectural image on its head, resulting in an entirely new way in which one visually receives the image. A space or interior can be the glue that holds other components together; the way one reads an image is dependent on how all of the components work together. Architectural elements combined with geometric forms allow me to create movement, static and three dimensionality in a two dimensional space.

What qualities does the screen print process offer you when working with photo images as you seem to blend photo collage with graphic elements really well.

The reduction of form plays a key role within my work. My work often tries to reduce the form of external objects through geometric abstraction by screen printed methods to portray an idea such as movement, the ambiguity of space or the illusion of perception. Therefore the halftone and spot color used within the screen print process are a fundamental aspect within my work, these printing methods are where I draw meaning from when representing visual reduction. The bitmap creates the illusion of tone and spot color is flat (or blended) color. These two aesthetics can be used when depicting an idea surrounding visual reduction as they are in themselves reductive forms of art making. I realized that the process of silkscreen print can not only produce works that represent an idea surrounding visual reduction of form, but the aesthetic of screen printed imagery can also literally be the reduction of form itself.

How do you title your work?

When I start a new edition I rarely have a title in mind, this usually comes during the printing process when i’ve got time to mull things over, or at the end of printing. Sometimes I find it helps when I talk to people about the work, another person’s interpretation or opinion can can sometimes trigger ideas for a title, one which I may have never come to on my own. I’m not one to chop and change titles, when it works I know it straightaway.

I was quite interested that you appeared to be using the same imagery for one of your pieces but reworking and changing colours over time. Were these separate editions or were you actually testing and developing the print process for best results?

I don’t like to make an edition in a single colour/s, I tend to split the edition into three or four separate colour combinations. I don’t tend to work away in the print room testing colours before I commit to printing the edition, rather I find what works as I print. I suppose in an ideal world I would test colours before printing the edition, however having said this, I have discovered good techniques and a keen eye for colour matching which has come from colour testing whilst I print. I do like this way of working as it means I’m not set on colour combinations before printing. I may end up using a colour that I wouldn’t have considered if I preselected my colours.