Each month we feature a different artist in our 3×3 Instagallery. This month, our artist in residence is Suzanne Moxhay, with her photomontage images. Her methodology is derived from matte painting, with backdrops painted on sheets of glass and integrated with photographs. The results are then digitally manipulated, an act of reprocessing which takes them further away from their original context and broadens the narrative potential.
We’re all about storytelling, is storytelling part your work?
In my work there is the suggestion of a narrative but one that is left open-ended. There are no people in the scenes, I want to create a sense of the viewer being on the threshold of entering the space with a sense of narrative potential that has yet to unfold. If there were people in the scenes it would change this dynamic with the viewer.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the sense of place in the locations I photograph and how this can trigger certain associations with other things that I have seen or experienced; from books, films, memories, things I have witnessed. I work very intuitively in this way and it tends to be that when I start making something it begins to follow it’s own path which might not be what I intended at the outset. For some time I have been visiting abandoned and ruined buildings as I am attracted to places that are falling apart, these places naturally lend themselves to being reconfigured into alternative imaginary environments. Recently I have been experimenting with using mirrors a lot, I like the possibilities they allow to be able to extend the scene and depict a space behind the position of the viewer.
What makes a great photomontage, and have your opinions changed since you first started?
This is a difficult question because I don’t believe there is anything in particular that makes a great photomontage. I do think that when you are working with preexisting material in photomontage or collage you need to follow the material to a certain extent and not try and make it fit an idea you had before you started working. Things emerge from making connections between elements in the material as you go along. For me light plays an important part. For example I find it interesting to connect a path of light through multiple images, letting the path of light determine which elements should be put together. This way I often create spaces that don’t make sense logically or architecturally.
What would you like to see more of in the creative industries?
I’m certainly no expert in the creative industries but I would like to see more fair pay for artists. There are too many unpaid internships and jobs where artists are expected to settle for ‘exposure’ rather than remuneration.
Got any winning tips for upcoming artists you wish someone had told you?
I think it’s important to put yourself out there; apply for residencies, enter competitions, make connections with other artists and galleries where you feel your work would fit. The big challenge is finding a balance between making a living and having the time and space to develop your work and the room to experiment with new ideas. It’s difficult but not impossible!
And last of all, what’s next?
I’m currently making work for a solo show at James Freeman Gallery in London later this year, a group show in Paris in June and also a museum show in France next year through Galerie Jean-Louis Ramand which is exciting. I have started making artist books and short animations and plan to continue to experiment with these new forms in my work.