Hi!!! I’m so well, I’m back from South Africa and have been blessed with the company of my perfect nephew for the next few days! He’s two.
What an adorable way to be greeted back home. I’m beating myself up for not coming with. It looked wonderful.
So let’s start with an introduction, where do you call home?
Home is currently my boat in London, it may not be in a permanent location but it always feels like home.
When did you begin creating visuals on social media? I distinctly remember seeing your photos online when we were, say, fourteen.
I began creating visuals on social media at around 13, I was consumed completely by Tumblr and its concept of creating an online world that could be as visually pleasing as you desired. (Once you come to terms with the coding of course) it all spiraled from that in a way, one picture trending online lead to another posted and so on.
So you never truly had a plan for this to occur. “One thing led to another” of sorts. I honestly believe that’s how so many people find their way. We may all possess these big ideas, but what is it we pursue without being asked to? I never truly planned on taking photos in this manner. I just started clicking away, and somehow this happened. Although there are so many critiques to be made about the digital age, we’d be doing it a disservice in denying the countless beautiful qualities of it. As a young, introverted kid that had a difficult time connecting with peers in real life, I can honestly say the internet helped me in many ways. It’s a means of expression; a way to make concepts tangible, well, tangible-adjacent. We connect with what someone else is putting out there, and suddenly we feel like we have a friend, or are part of a community. Has your online presence affected you in any way?
I don’t think so, I’m still the humble teen I was leaving Nottingham and moving to London, although I always did take pride in my presentability not in an aesthetically obsessed way more because I found myself fascinated by cultures, subcultures, trends, style and religion at a young age. I would dress up making sure it was believable that I had just discoed out of the 70s or rocked up to a pearl jam gig or was mid-set gory horror film. My point is: no pressure, the leap almost came naturally.
It truly can be educational in that way. I just read an article about the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation; how the internet can often jump to see the worst without considering something may have been based in the former. This online world you’ve curated has had so many positive effects on your life, like introducing you to the world of fashion, as you got scouted and begun modeling from there. On the flipside, though, was there any sort of pressure added to your adolescence due to a need of presentability? Were you ever bullied online?
Actually, I use to get so much abuse on my Facebook pictures, even death threats but I have thick skin so never really gave it a thought.
Sorry to hear that. Under all this pink, there is tough skin! Haha. I’m sure you handled yourself with poise in the face of that miserable behavior. How would you recommend handling the situation?
I think just know if you are being bullied online, it’s going to be a lowlife who has nothing better to do!
What’s the term, “troll?” — You’re now in uni, what are you studying?
Haha, I’m studying fine art, actually.
Your art, like yourself, is the perfect amount of creepy and cute. It’s almost reminiscent of Mark Ryden. In your practice, where do you seek inspiration?
Ahh I love Mark Ryden! Honestly, my art, like my physical appearance, bares no inspiration (I hate to be that girl). My most recent art is simply a development. Within each series I hope to improve something in search of perfection. A satisfactory depiction of the chosen individual. Ok I think I’m slightly OCD…
The pursuit of perfection. Would you consider using your platform to sell online? A dear friend of mine and her sister begun selling their work through Instagram after realizing that, as twins, they were being sexualized left and right, so they decided to take control of this objectification and capitalize on it. It’s slightly genius in my opinion.
Maybe when I am creating what I’m happy with I will sell online.
Can I call dibs, possibly on the piece you made of Twigs? If not necessarily in relation to art, what inspires you as a human?
I love traveling, discovering new things, cooking, spending time with friends, making new friends, making music. I feel alive a lot of the time.
I try to live by the rule that if I don’t feel what I’m doing is making me come alive, if my heartbeat isn’t in it, I should run far, far away. I actually just went to this talk about quantum physics, focused on the heart and it’s omnipresence in life. I’ll send you my notes; really powerful advice. Speaking of which, if you could give one piece of advice to the youth of today, what would it be?
Make sure you live before you die. Do not count your Instagram likes. Always follow advice that rhymes.
And to young artists specifically?
Never listen to advice
Charlie Barker photographed and interviewed by David-Simon Dayan