Olivia Kemp is a Fine Artist specialising in drawing. She studied BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting at Winchester School of Art graduating in 2011. She now studies MA Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art (UAL).
Her work has been featured in Plog Magazine and shown at
Bargehouse (Oxo Tower Wharf), The National Gallery, Taplin Gallery, The Centre for Drawing (Wimbledon) , Southampton University Library, Winchester College and will also be on show at Hyde Park Corner tube station and The Other Art Fair as part of "The Art Below" in April.
The work that I do reproduces places that I have lived in or passed by throughout my life and I do this through drawing. The drawings for me are cathartic and often focus on the places more likely to be overlooked.
I have moved house an average of more than once every other year in my life so far and that is ultimately what prompted me to start recognising and putting these places down on paper. They're part of who I am and I didn't want to lose that.
In some ways when I create a drawing I am adding to the permanence of the image in my mind, forcing it down onto paper where it can't escape time and the transience of memory.
The way that I draw now was borne out an experiment I decided to try on myself a couple of years ago. I decided to try and draw a series of works without outlining in pencil first. I wanted to improve my confidence with drawing and really challenge myself. Since that point drawing has been my central focus, and this experiment has grown into more and more detailed work.
For me the process of drawing is very relaxed, I will take the work with me anywhere and I will take time over it. I reflect on it once it's finished and the best way for me to do this is to see them together. I see the process as almost no different from photoshopping a photograph after taking it, I feel like I'm adjusting the work until it looks like the image I had in my mind. For example people and cars get edited out if the drawings, they're not things I'd remember being there. I also feel they distract from you experiencing that landscape yourself. Instead you end up wondering what the person in the image is thinking or feeling.
I have struggled with ways to represent a landscape that shows my preoccupation with place and memory. I decided that filling the page with tiny marks and going right up to the edges, with only the blank white sky to rest the eye on might show that this isn't a celebration of nature or documentation of a pleasant holiday. Perhaps there is a deeper emotional attachment to them, places left behind and homes that cannot be returned to.
I think them being in black and white helps people to associate with the images more. You can't spot the regional and seasonal differences quite so well, things like brick colour and how sunny the day is are impossible to tell. I like to hope this means people are perhaps reminded of somewhere they've been themselves from looking at the drawing, and maybe prompt a memory of their own.
"We know ourselves through the art and act of remembering. Memories offer a world where there is no death, where we are sustained by rituals of regard and recollection"
Belonging, A Culture of Place, Bell Hooks