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Allegory of the Artist

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In this standalone self-portrait, I have explored my artistic process to create an artwork that represents myself as an embroidery artist. By creating a piece of such fine, layered details, I continue my aim of highlighting the importance of embroidery art within Fine Art, rather than associating it with decorative craft. Imbued with minuscule three-dimensional stitches and delicate balances of colour and textural features, the tactility of this medium allows me to express more. It is the medium that I feel the strongest relationship with when making art. A medium that allows me, through countless hours of physical exertion, to control unruly materials that are eager to warp the canvas and entangle themselves, and create beautiful things. A joyful challenge that so many people, before and after me, engage in.


As in the 1740 painting, 'Allegory of the Arts' by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, that this piece started life from, I too have situated the artist as the central personified allegory. In my reimagined positioning, I have drawn on five interplaying aspects of my artist personality: creation, inspiration, preparation, pleasure and procrastination. Procrastination letting her mind wander to subconscious thoughts; Pleasure feeling and enjoying; Preparation guiding through meticulously planned work; Inspiration imbuing the others with energy and excitement. At the centre, Creation sits, able to elicit the help required from the others, to put thread to canvas, and perform the act of making something new. As is always the case when embroidering characters, a distinct expressive quality has formed for each of the girls, and in this piece I particularly love how they commune together. In each, I see aspects of my personality, my flaws and charms, and my experiences of making art everyday. 

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