Interview: 5.18 Magazine

 
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what inspired this project?

IM: Last year, I was living in Barcelona, and for the first time in my life I was experiencing total freedom with my body and nudity. I had a few photographer friends who were taking nude images, and through them I was learning to see the human body as art – rather than something to be constantly criticised and sexualised. The project is a way of having my own voice about the current wave of ideas regarding gender, femininity, and sex.

You use a lot of different medians in this project and your work in general…

IM: Yes. I love to use a variety of medians and am always experimenting, studying, and learning. Especially with this project, one of my main goals was to bring together many different artists, all contributing something towards one eclectic piece. Through this collaboration I’ve learnt how to find the balance between people – and how important it is to trust and honour each artist’s individual process.

Tell us more about your evolution as an artist.

IM: I have been dancing all my life, since taking my first ballet class at the age of three, continuing my studies at one of the best dance schools in the country, graduating into a contemporary company, and having the opportunity to dance professionally for a variety of choreographers throughout Europe. It is a huge part of me and my work, although the lines have blurred a little. I do not call myself a dancer. I do not call myself a photographer, filmmaker, choreographer, writer, or designer – through these are all parts of what I do and create. In my education, I was told to box myself into one role only, and so, naturally, I ultimately found myself contradicting that rule. I stopped taking things too seriously and started creating however I wanted. Some people might disagree and call it a risky idea, but for me, that moment was when the magic happened.

 
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What are some current influences in your work?

IM: I am very influenced by the art movement of 1970’s New York City (if only I could time travel…). I am constantly studying and immersing myself within the work of Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jean Michel Basquiat, Ziggy Stardust, Bob Dylan… I don’t always like their work, but I admire their unapologetic rebellious nature. Just getting on with it, not a care about what people would think or say about them. I always have old recordings of their interviews playing whilst I work. However, my main source of inspiration comes from characters on the streets. Here in Berlin, everyone has wild and wonderful stories to tell and ideas to express. There are so many underground artist communities, sharing their work in such a raw, honest, and ‘no-bullshit’ way. I love it.

What thoughts have been going around in your mind recently?

IM: The way in which I become my work. Especially with this series. Each one has such a distinct visual concept, and it’s as if I find myself moulding into each scene. I spent the past couple of months surrounded in pastel colours of pink and blue whilst creating SIX Part III. A perfect pair of pastel pink flare trousers and a light blue oversized denim jacket found in Mauerpark Flea Market one hot Sunday. Moving into my new apartment in Berlin and looking out of the window, greeted by a peachy pink building against a clear blue sky. It’s a very private thing, how I arrange my environment, the items I collect, the jewellery I choose to wear, the people I notice in the street…

 
 
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So, what’s next?

IM: I have two more parts to complete the year long series of SIX, which will be released in the following months. I’m also working on a book for the project, as well as a live installation performance in 2020. Lots of plans and big dreams! Continuing to travel, dance, create, and share my work. Drinking good coffee, collecting art magazines, reading books, delighting in the small moments.

(Full article here…)

 
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Imogen Mansfield