To coincide with the launch of Kirsty Whiten’s beautiful book Wronger Rites, we’d like to share some of her insights and inspirations.
Tell us what got you into art – How you got started – What first excited you?
My upbringing – my dad is a Professor of Psychology and my mum taught anatomy to medical students. Both scientists and both so fascinated by their subjects, they also have a lot of artistic talent. They encouraged me and my sister (Amy runs RECOAT mural projects in Glasgow). I used to have a permanent little table in the kitchen for cutting out magazines and gluing obsessively.
Where do you make your work?
I built a house in Fife with my partner Ben Seal, who is a music producer. We both have studios there, so I paint upstairs with his music coming up through the floor.
What are your main influences and sources of inspiration?
I am into anything to do with humans; our evolution and culture, behaviour and psychology, ancient drives to create and decorate…I love looking at old artefacts from everywhere.
Is there some piece of advice / information / knowledge that you’d like to share?
I feel like it’s been important for me and my survival as an artist to accept the insecurity of this way of life. I don’t know what my work will be like next year, or what opportunities I’ll have, or where my money will come from. That can be terrifying but it’s also freeing and often a privilege. So I try not to fight it, but accept that insecurity.
Tell us about a project you are working on at present. This could be an exhibition, commission, public art or curatorial project, a residency, travel opportunity or an area of research.
I’ve started some work with some physical performers recently (clowns!), looking in more depth at masks, the archetypes and uncanny power in them. It feels like a rich seam for me…
SSA Webpage: www.s-s-a.org/member/kirstywhiten