Wonderland.

ARTO LIFEWTR ARTISTS

Rave-influenced flower vases & neon sea creatures: meet the next wave of game-changing artists behind the brand’s unconventional bottle series.

Arto LIFEWTR artist Joy Miessi smiling

Joy Miessi

Arto LIFEWTR artist Joy Miessi smiling
Joy Miessi

Vivid illustrated chronicles of identity, imbued with themes of racism and sexism. Abstract collage-style vases influenced by 90s rave tracks. Hyper-realistic neon sea creature installations.

Arto LIFEWTR’s “unconventional bottle series” has been celebrating the most exciting disruptors in the art world, asking them to transplant their unique art onto everyday objects such as clothing, ceramics and furniture – and immortalise their work on three limited edition bottle designs.

At Frieze this year, Arto LIFEWTR gave visitors a sneak-peek into its next activation, showcasing the work of London-based illustrator, ceramicist and textile designer John Booth, digital artist and motion designer Rose Pilkington and multi-disciplinary non-binary artist Joy Miessi in the relaxing oasis of Arto LIFEWTR lounge.

We caught up with the artists below…

JOY MIESSI

Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019
Arto LIFEWTR artist Joy Miessi working

Joy Miessi

Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019
Joy Miessi
Arto LIFEWTR artist Joy Miessi working

Born in Britain to Congolese parents, Joy Miessi has been long making waves with their honest and raw depictions of racism and sexism through a diasporic lens. The result? Moments, conversations, intimate thoughts all relayed on vibrant mixed media works, categorised by anything from electrical tape to bold vibrant faces. For the activation Miessi etched their musings onto a selection of boxy garments.

How did you get involved with this collaboration?
It all started with an email from curator Monica Fernandez-Taranco about a potential project focusing on the theme of Unconventional Canvas. We spoke for a bit and then went to the pub. For me, it’s important to meet the people I could potentially be working with. In this case I really got on with Monica so that’s how it all began.

Do you think these kind of initiatives to champion emerging artists are important?
Yes, as they help expose the artist to new audiences which can lead to new projects.

Was this your first time at Frieze? What do you love about it and what it stands for?
Yes. I’ve never really imagined myself at Frieze. As an illustrator, I’ve always seen it as a world for fine artists, but taking part and I enjoyed seeing that there is a range of creative fields present.

How did you go about starting the process of creating your pieces?
My work is a form of storytelling and documenting my every day. The pieces from this display are a continuation from my last series ‘Blue Glass Fortunes’ which is a series of mixed media works (wood, card, fabrics) that retell memories of dreams that I’ve had. Often we look towards dreams for predictions of the future or revelations of ourselves and these pieces capture fragments of multiple dreams at once.

How did you go about choosing your unconventional material?
For me, this is what the foundation of my work has been built on. I started using ‘unconventional canvas’ materials because I didn’t have the funds or access to canvas. Playing around with cardboard, wood and clothing, and overall reusing those discarded materials helped me be more experimental and carefree. And those works have ended up being the pieces I am proudest of.

Where do you get your inspirations from?
From conversations with my mum, looking through old photo albums and from my dreams.

Why did you choose the medium of clothing? Do you like the fact that ultimately it can be worn day to day as an expression of personality?
It originally started off as an experiment and a way of taking art outside of a white cube and into new spaces, exposed to different audiences who don’t visit galleries. I usually use my old clothes, to bring a new life to them. I start by filling them with scrap card so that paint doesn’t leak through. I use fabric paints to paint directly onto the garments and use thoughts, happenings of my day or dreams as the inspiration for these paintings.

You’ve always championed your identity as a non-binary artist – how important is this to you and how much does it influence your work?
It’s important to me that across all fields, a voice is given to non-binary artists. Hire us, listen to us and show up for us.

JOHN BOOTH

Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019
Arto LIFEWTR artist John Booth plates
Arto LIFEWTR artist John Booth working

John Booth

Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019
John Booth
Arto LIFEWTR artist John Booth plates
Arto LIFEWTR artist John Booth working

Cumbria-born London-based illustrator, ceramicist and textile designer, John Booth, is known for his distinctive layered explosions of colour, with his latest efforts captured in luminous vases and prints. Smile-inducing vases? Coming right up. For the activation, Booth presented ceramic vases and a tapestry emblazoned with kitsch deadpan faces.

What do you love about illustration and what it evokes?
I love the freedom of drawing onto paper, because as a medium, there are very few limitations compared to other mediums I work with, such as ceramics. Illustration is the starting point to all my work, so it’s very important to me.

How did you get involved with this collaboration?
I was put forward for this directly from people from the Frieze team, who were already aware of the type of work I create, and I think they thought it would be a good fit for the project. I also believe in what Arto LIFEWTR is trying to achieve by supporting emerging artists using its bottle as a canvas. It was exciting to see my artwork previewed on the bottles at Frieze.

How did you go about starting the process of creating your pieces?
All the pieces in the Arto LIFEWTR lounge were from my personal archive and represent a mixture of things I’ve worked on over the past few years.

Where did you get your inspirations from?
The illustrations on my Arto LIFEWTR bottle are a mixture of old illustrations I have done over the years, so the bottle almost acts like a mini retrospective of my work.

Do you think these kind of initiatives to champion emerging artists are important?
Projects like this are really important as they allow my work to reach people that it wouldn’t normally reach and in a new context. That’s why the concept of different design series from Arto LIFEWTR works as they shine a light on different topics and themes, which in turn allows a variety of emerging artists to be showcased. I’m really looking forward to doing more with Unconventional Canvas as part of the collaboration.

Why did you choose the medium of ceramics? 
I chose to start working in ceramics as a new surface to illustrate onto. My ceramics are a three dimensional version of my illustrations.

Was this your first time at Frieze? What do you love about it and what it stands for?
This wasn’t the first time. I have sold my work at Frieze the last few years. It’s a really good place for people to be introduced to new artwork and to get inspired.

ROSE PILKINGTON

Arto LIFEWTR artist Rose Pilkington working
Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019

Rose Pilkington

Arto LIFEWTR artist Rose Pilkington working
Rose Pilkington
Arto LIFEWTR x Frieze London: 2019

The future is now, the future is integrating technology into art, and no one understands this better than digital artist and motion designer Rose Pilkington. Her fascination with nature and science is evident in her outlandish, vibrant pieces that have even seen the artist crafting humongous globule-like neon sea creatures. For this iteration Pilkington transplanted her digital art onto comfy beanbags in the Arto LIFEWTR lounge.

What do you love about digital and motion art?
I think there’s an instant gratification working within a digital medium. Imagery can be created quite quickly sometimes, unlike more analog mediums. 

How did you get involved with this collaboration? 
I was directly approached by Monica Fernandez-Taranco via Frieze for the partnership. I was given a lot of freedom when it came to making the artwork itself. The ‘Unconventional Canvas’ brief was very much open to interpretation which I always love. It was a nice opportunity for me to create a bespoke piece of work that also represented my work. It’s rare that I’m able to translate a digital piece of work and place onto a physical object. It’s something I always love to be able to see in my work, because it gives it a whole new context of tangibility. 

How did you go about starting the process of creating your pieces? Why beanbags?
The way I go about starting the process of creating my artwork, is much like taking a pen to paper, but instead I use a digital canvas. I will start mapping out the first ideas that come to mind, sometimes as an actual drawing, then I’ll go straight into 3D software which is where I have infinite possibilities for the outcome. It’s a really lovely opportunity for people to physically interact with my work. Both the bottle, and the actual space that was created at Frieze was very much an interactive experience. The beanbags with the artwork invited guests to sit, and look around the room. I feel it very much reflected the feeling of the playful and colourful artwork. 

Where did you get your inspirations from? 
I draw inspiration from nature, which is where I source most of my textural and colour reference from. 

Do you think these kind of initiatives to champion emerging artists are important?
I do think the opportunities that Arto LIFEWTR provides for emerging artists can be hugely beneficial for exposure. Recognition from a brand through its packaging, as well as the opportunity to have your work displayed at Frieze is a very gratifying experience for an emerging artist. 

Was this your first time at Frieze? What do you love about it and what it stands for? 
I sadly was travelling while Frieze was on, so I missed the exhibition. I’ve actually never been before, but I do think it is a fantastic way for emerging artists to gain exposure, just as I have had the opportunity to do. It’s an amazing chance for a whole new audience to see my work. I heard the Arto LIFEWTR lounge was popular with visitors, especially as good place to relax on a beanbag! I do feel people are drawn to colourful, immersive spaces.  

Find out more at artolifewtr.co.uk

ARTO LIFEWTR ARTISTS

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