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Introducing our new Guest Blogger – Rachel Parry

Rachel Parry

Rachel ParryA belated welcome to our new Guest Blogger Rachel Parry, due to some technical problems (computer melt downs and the like) we’re a little later than usual but Rachel will be joining us for two weeks to give us her unique insight into the Nottingham fine art scene. We asked Rachel 10 questions to get to know her better :-

Who are you?
When I was first approached for this amazing blogging opportunity, I was told I couldn’t swear or rant. I am quite renown for my honest critique. “What?” I replied. “This isn’t f***ing Big Brother!”

Hello! I’m Rachel Parry, I’m a 27 year old Artist based in Nottingham.

Born in 1983, in North Nottinghamshire, I am an experimental artist and educator. Since graduating from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne in 2005, in Fine Art BA (hons), I have worked in the UK, Europe, USA and Mexico.

I am primarily a Live Artist but my practice is not bound to any constraints and I am a skilled printmaker, painter, sculptor and also work in new technologies. I have received various funding and awards for my projects, including Arts Council of England and I was selected for the Elevator Artist at The National Review of Live Art. My work has been profiled and reviewed in ‘Time Out’ magazine, ‘A-N’ magazine and several online and paper zines. I have worked with/been mentored by some established artists such as Stacy Makishi, Annette Foster, Sam Rose, Ernst Fisher & Helen Spackman of LEBNIZ  LAB, Brian Routh and  Guillermo Gomez Pena.

I have thus far exhibited in galleries such as The Arnolfini, Bristol, VIP, Belgrade, Serbia, and Experimentia festival/Tactile Bosh Gallery, Wales, theatre spaces such as in The Tramway, Glasgow, Contact Theatre Manchester, at university galleries such as Falmouth & Plymouth University, artist led studios such as Lime street studios, London and The Surface Gallery, Nottingham, alternative spaces like Duckie, Act Art and HATCH. I have also facilitated workshops and been on live art panels – Brisbane Australia. I have performed in renowned and respected events such as The National Review of Live Art in the Tramway, Glasgow and in the MOCA in Tucson, Arizona with cultural activist artists La Pocha Nostra. I’ve also taught Drama, Art & Design, Multimedia in FE Colleges and schools, lead community outreach projects and workshops.

What brought you to Nottingham?
I was born in North Nottinghamshire and I seem to have an in-built boomerang function….  I came back after studying in Newcastle and a couple more times after doing some exciting residencies around the world. In fact, I nearly didn’t come back after touring U.S.A and Mexico, because after working with La Pocha Nostra, I ended up living out there for longer than I anticipated, as new opportunities opened up from other artists and curators I met out there….but a Nottingham accent will only get a lady so far with immigration, so I came home.

What keeps you in Nottingham?
It’s ‘home’ – there’s nowhere quite like good ol Nottingham.

Currently, I work full time teaching Art and Graphics Design. Its not the be and end all, but I’m extremely lucky to have a job I can be so passionate about. Especially in this economically unstable climate. It can be really tough and highly demanding, on both my time and energy, but I get to introduce my students to this excitingly creative world of art of ours. Sharing my skills and experience in Fine Art, encouraging and nurturing their skills to watch them realise they can create something is very satisfying.

Also, I love the fact there’s so many exciting things in and around the city going on, whether  art, theatre, dance, comedy  or  music, there’s such a vibrant variety for a smaller city outside London. Plus it’s not as expensive to live here, compared to said Capital. Nottingham is central enough for the commute to other venues to exhibit work and this means I can afford to have a studio. My space is at Backlit studios. I feel it’s important to be  surrounded by different artistic practices, as another creative person’s world is usually very different to my own. Constructive and friendly feedback really helps develop work and most importantly I feel part of a community.

What makes you different to other creative people in Nottingham?
There are not many live artists still living in Nottingham and there’s little of the kind of live art I make being represented in this City. My practice lives in the realms of experimental ‘Queer Body Based Art’. I’ve never been afraid to explore the boundaries we set ourselves, examining socially forbidden etiquettes and the responsibilities between artist/audience. I sometimes feel like the ‘ginger kid’ of the art world here, though., as some people tend to worry about this term Live Art.

My practice has recently began to evolve to include traditional elements from my Fine Artist background; incorporating printmaking, electronics, casting, drawing, painting and new technologies. I really immerse myself in other worlds. I have Louis Theroux style adventures that feed and drive the kind of work I make. I could tell you the stories but I find it’s far more interesting re-articulated into a piece of art, otherwise I might as well be down the pub.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Um… I always hate this question. I’ve spent the last five years scamping around being self perpetuating art pixie, and have only recently settled down. The next five years…? I am eagerly awaiting the onset of the Singularity. I’ll finally be able to meld mind and machine into an all powerful Art Robot, conquering the masses with my uber-laser eyes!

Seriously though, I want to further my own education and raise my artistic profile. Have more international exhibitions and find more adventures. Also, it would be nice to actually make a profitable living from what I am passionate about.

What do you wish you had more time for?
To make my artist practice full time. I miss being able to forget the constraints of ‘time’ in my studio and look at my watch realising it’s 4am because I’m absorbed in my own world.  I have to be quite structured and precious with my time at the moment. I still make time for daydreaming though.

What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking that people miss the intellectual integrity of my art pieces.. That I’ll become pigeon holed. That people believe all thats written about me in the press. That I just come across as a mad woman. That I don’t have enough time to balance my teaching commitments alongside my artist life. That I’ll have to cover a maths class first thing tomorrow.

Ooh, and Zombies.

What do you think is Nottingham’s best kept secret?
Well Nottingham is one of those places where everyone states “I liked the secret venue before it was cool!” But it’s such a small, close knit cosy kind of City, that we all find out pretty quickly what’s great to go to.

What is horrid is that a lot of the lovely independent places prematurely close down or everyone finds out about the secret, it becomes over saturated and so popular my personal space is hijacked and it’s no fun any more because I have an armpit in my face.

….I find the most under rated and fun night is DirtyFilthySexy at the moment, it’s like a slice of underground cake, all glittery and tasty……….

What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?
More independent shopping, craft designers, artists, clothes, restaurants, more public art, more sculpture. I love it when art happens openly over the city but I reckon we could do with our own landmark type piece. Where’s our Angel of The Market Square?

I want to see more Live Art in Nottingham as well. At the moment Hatch is the only collaborator that regularly represents this side of the arts community.

What big thing are you currently working on?
I’m currently collaborating with my business facilitator to help build my artistic identity in the public realm. First mission is to archive my past work on the new web site, “Under Construction”,  and produce a place for people to see my existing projects. I’d like to keep my cards close to my chest for now, but I am working on several super things for next year.

We look forward to hearing more from Rachel over the next two weeks!