MF: What is it that attracts you to the sky?
FW: I could write an essay on this, but in short, I am fascinated by so many aspects of the sky, the celestial sphere. Its omnipresence and ever-changing nature, coupled with its immeasurability makes the sky, to me, so magical and ‘wonder-full’. The sky contains endless beauty from optical and natural phenomena such as rainbows and clouds, and celestial bodies such as the Moon and stars, which encourage contemplation about their formation and our existence. Even the question ‘Why is the sky blue?’ opens up a world of science about light, which I find exciting and inspiring, and have explored in some of my installation work.
MF: Your work seems to have a spiritual context, can you tell me more about your beliefs and if they have changed through the making your art?
FW: My beliefs or ‘way of life’ stem from listening, learning and personal interpretation. As a child I was often taken to stone circles, ancient sites, forests and natural spaces. I learnt to observe and discover Mother Nature and the beauty that resonates from her. This connection to the ‘natural’ opens your mind to the duality or existence – the interplay between consciousness and nature, self and reality, the inner and external fact.
I wouldn’t say my beliefs have changed through making art, but certainly developed and matured to a point of contentment.
MF: Light is very prominent in your artwork which can have an ambient mood. Do you want people to feel or think something in particular when they view your light installations? And what is it?
FW: Personally I think that interpreting my light installations is all about the individual viewer and their own beliefs and understanding. I hope the environments I make offer a peaceful place for contemplation. I intentionally use limited or no sound in my installations and videos, allowing for meditation.
With Colure, one of my kinetic light installations, it was interesting to hear different feedback from people, as it shows just how diverse the mind and observation can be. Some said they felt as if they were far away in outer-space, observing natural phenomena and satellites, whereas others felt ‘hugged’ and more grounded. It has been described as cave-like or womb-like, which I really like.
MF: Does a space change how your light installations are read?
Still from To The Dawning © Freya Willett
© Freya Willett
FW: I find that the majority of my light installations work best in a dark, empty, white room with no other distractions. Colure was site specific and the area was built specifically according to my vision, so any other space may not have had the intended result. I like to ‘openly enclose’ the viewer, whether that be with four walls, or projecting light or moving image in to a corner, as I feel it draws them more in to the space and allows them to become part of the experience, which a flat wall or busy room may not.
MF: Both with your light installations and your satellite series you use photo manipulation and seem to be drawn to the symmetry. Can you tell me why you use symmetry in your work?
FW: I have always visually appreciated the harmonious proportion and balance of symmetry. Sacred Geometry is often symmetrical with universal constants, representative of life and capable of taking you into a transcendent reality, which is something I welcome into my artwork.
I use symmetry and reflection as it helps me explore the aforementioned duality of existence –opposites and pairs. Symmetry can make something even more beautiful, even more questionable, even more intriguing.
MF: It seems like your creative thought process takes the form of collage. Why is this?
© Freya Willett
© Freya Willett
FW: A lot of my work is produced through experimentation with the materials, so I use a lot of collage, both ‘physically’ and digitally. I enjoy how you can make collaging a quick process or detailed lengthy process, depending on whether you are simply releasing an idea or using it as the final process. For me, it is a good way to get ideas down, out of my head. When making a film for example, I prefer collaging rather than sketching ideas, as I tend to use found footage in my films, so it makes sense to use similar found imagery, enabling me to be both optically and mentally stimulated. Colure in fact stemmed from a series of collages and a happy accident when playing with reflective materials and light.
I think it is acceptable to say that I see some of my light installations as collages too, as the layering and alignment of tangible and intangible materials create a ‘new whole’, just like the assemblage of paper images does.
MF: Your most current work fits around the theme of star constellations. Do you believe working at a Space Centre influences your practice?
FW: Absolutely. I have learnt a lot there and it was
when sitting in on a ‘Tour of the Night Sky’ in our Planetarium that my initial digital drawings came to mind. The Sun and the Moon have been a big influence in a lot of my work, as well as the sky, so to start looking at constellations and developing my own was quite natural.
My constellation series’ were more visions that I had for a while and felt needed to be made and released from my head, but every week, things I learn through the Space Centre help with further ideas. For example, I recently went to talk about the formation of Galaxies, which was amazing, so I have been thinking more about artwork relating to the chance of existence, suspension and form and void.
MF: Do you have any upcoming projects you are working towards?
FW: I have a few personal art projects planned based on sacred geometry and space, but for the next couple of months I will be concentrating on my Young Ambassador work for The Mighty Creatives, establishing a peer community of both young people and young creative business leaders. Also, I have a few promising opportunities coming up in the New Year, which I should hopefully be blogging about in the near future.
Article written by Mel Fletcher
Text by Mel Fletcher 2014
Images © Freya Willett
Freya Willett is a contemporary artist living and working in Leicester, UK. Her work explores light with its associations and spiritual meanings through collage, installation and video. Willett since graduating with a First Class Honours in Fine Art has been awarded an Ingenious Media Prize, is a Young Ambassador for The Mighty Creatives and works at The National Space Centre, influencing her current work.
Words by Mel Fletcher