Autumn has its benefits don’t get me wrong, pumpkin spices lattes, an extra hour in bed. Still, those dark mornings and pending winter can have us all feeling the need for some sunshine. Discovering Belinda’s work in an eclectic studio of Chelsea felt synchronic. Beautiful chaos demands attention. Belinda refuses to manipulate her work for the sake of commercialism, giving it free spirited power that truly reflects her as an artist. I had to reach out to her. Influential art makes me curious for the story. The breath of fresh air behind the dots does not disappoint. Her work has been influenced from every corner of the world from India to Cornwall featuring on popular TV shows and studio’s around the world. Get comfy and enjoy a brutally honest, inspiring interview with an artist guaranteed to brighten you up this winter.
How did you discover your inner artist?
Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t relate to the term ‘Inner Artist’. Just being truthful. I was born with art in my bones. I’ve been creative since a child, having free reign with my creativity and ability to express myself. So, it wasn’t a case of discovery at all it was always there! All around me as a child there were pattern, shapes and unusual artefacts from foreign lands. That was essentially me discovering the outer artist in a sense, not the other way around.
What does art mean to you?
My perception of art is going to be different from the next person. I think I look at colour and pattern as a feast to my eyes and get excited when I see an absolute riot of kaleidoscopic shapes. That is what I really get a buzz from. If you can express your feelings through art and see that it is coming from the heart, then you can appreciate the detail and the love.
How do you describe your style?
Dot ology, Dotonomics, Indigi Hindi. A Kaleidoscopic mix of uniquely placed dots or spots. NOT Aboriginal as people often describe it, but an image of collective dots culminating in whole subject matter. Whether it be life drawing, insect life, or abstract art. The dots connect if you will, the viewer connects, and the eyes connect the dots creating shapes within shapes.
What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Receiving balanced praise for my art in such a way so as to eliminate negative thoughts and perceptions, one being my work is some kind of mass produced Australian commercial art. It is definitely not that, and I would like to be hauled out of being placed in that category. There are many dot artists on social media, such as mandalas, pebble art, etc that I find too prosaic, commercial, neat and mechanical. I would like my art to be recognised as an intricate, freestyle and free flowing expression of my character and personality.
Tell me about the most personal challenging piece you have worked on
The most challenging piece I have worked on is probably the metre square Chromatophore Bug which was entered into the Ironstone Art Prize, winning the people’s choice award. It was voted for by the public rather than by a panel of art critics. I had never painted such a big canvas before, with such miniscule dots, on such a large scale. I’ve always had an interest in insect life, and I wanted this bug to be a giant jewel on the canvas.
What were you trying to represent with that piece?
In Chromatophore Bug I subconsciously represented metamorphosis. If you stand back from the painting, you can also see an owl in the centre of the symmetry, and on closer inspection the viewers own interpretation of birds, fish, dragons. Eyes also jump out. Everyone’s perspective is different. Initially I wanted to create symmetrical patterns and what appeared, (because I paint on a horizontal surface), were these unusual shapes when the canvas was placed vertically.
What do you find most challenging as a woman in the industry?
I have always been fiercely independent, so the challenge as a woman is staying that way. Not allowing any outside factors to mislead or manipulate how I should interpret or carry out my work for the sake of commercialism. Think, Grace Jones and Corporate Cannibal and you get the gist. It’s not just the field of art but all aspects of creativity. The creator needs to have freedom of expression and their flow of ideas, thoughts and approaches to new situations. Luckily, I am a member of The Cult house and The New Artist Fair. Both art collectives based in London, who are most encouraging to all their artists and have given me a confidence boost in my work. I have in the past become very aware that not all galleries are to be trusted. Some are not fully and wholly interested in the representation of artists. They take your money or submission fee and wave you goodbye.
How and where do you find inspiration for your work?
For many years as a child, I was lucky to have travelled to many exotic countries with my family. My mother was in the travel trade. I was able to visit many unique creative settings at an early stage in my life. All these memories have had a huge impact on my inspiration and influence. Whether it be the detailed carpets on looms in Turkey, Indian marble designs of the Taj Mahal, highly patterned tents in Cairo, Egypt, and Moroccan painted furniture in the Medina of Marrakech. All of these and more, have given me a rich background reference library that I can interweave into my work. I’m pattern mad, basically and if it’s not nailed down, I will paint it.
What do you love most about your work?
My work has been applied to all sort of surfaces, furniture, guitars and violins, murals, VW camper vans, cars, ceramics, shoes, clothes, mannequins, decorative boxes cricket bats, welding masks, menus, cancer radiotherapy masks for Royal Marsden Hospital, head and neck cancer charity, the list is endless. My degree was in Textile design, go figure!
My style is definitely decorative to the extreme, and that’s what I love about it. It’s totally unique in that respect, it’s mesmeric and does not have a mass -produced look. No two designs are ever the same.
How would you like to see the industry change for women in the future?
I think it is getting better than it had been in the past, there are more women graffiti artists for example leading the way in a field that has predominantly been mainly guys. I think with recent events, over the past few years more women are getting recognised for spearheading all different aspects of the creative world, and the environmental world. It would be great to have more women taken seriously for the strong goddesses that they are. I always believe that women are strong in business, I saw that with my mother. As she would say to me “I am my own Empress” …….. We need more Empresses!
What is the best advice you have had?
Be yourself, express yourself, and never give up. Quite simple really.
What advice would you give any women looking to unleash their inner artist?
Look to your passions, and push the boundaries, express how you feel in your work, and go big.
Who is feeling ready to go big? From the moment I started chatting to Belinda, she lit me up like the mesmerising piece of art that drew me to her. Her voice is powerful, reminiscent of the incredible women that inspire her, Grace Jones, Corporate Cannibal and her Mother. And in her words, ‘we need more Empresses’
My best friend pipped me to the post with the kaleidoscope of colour now hanging in her living room, though I have been scouring Belinda’s Instagram since, for something to light up my own. I think with everything we have faced so far in 2020, everyone could do with a little Belinda on their walls, so where do you find her?