"Painting has indescribable potential."
- Antonia Showering
Get to know Antonia Showering. A London-based painter who uses the canvas as a portal into her subconscious, gifting us with dreamy narratives that blur the line between fact and fiction. We spoke to Antonia about her artistic journey and ghostly characters...
How would you describe your artistic journey until now? Never being particularly articulate I found art as a magical mode of communication - it is a visual language. My love of creating characters and narratives through imagery has been rather constant. Growing up I was never content with the dolls I was given to play with, so I would draw specific individuals, cut round them and be much more satisfied. Today I continue playing with characters who are now inhabiting invented landscapes.
There is a ghostly element to many of the characters within your paintings. How did the idea for these characters arise? What inspired them? The people that populate my paintings are half remembered and half imagined. After loosely drawing the figures I let the paint take control. Sometimes I get strange happenings as I believe paint allows you to tap into your subconscious. Recently I was painting a family portrait called ‘Fam-A-Lee’, and in the composition there was space for another person. I painted somebody without thinking of anyone in particular. When I stood back my late Chinese Grandfather was standing there. Painting has indescribable potential.
The names of your paintings are always intriguing. When does the name for a work usually enter your mind? And how much time and importance do you place upon choosing the right name? It varies. Some titles come whilst painting or after it is finished. I have never enjoyed working to a brief so I am yet to title a work before I start! Titles can help the viewer gage a little more context. When I go to exhibitions I like seeing the work and having a personal reaction before engaging with what it has been named.
Have there ever been times when you were close to giving up the dream of being a painter? No! I learnt peaks and troughs in creativity were inevitable a few years ago, but this was useful. After enduring a creative low and then getting excited again about ‘what’ and ‘how’ you paint is honestly the best feeling out there. Using the canvas as a portal into your imagination and allowing others to look upon it, and have some form of an emotional reaction is something I want to do until my fingers are too frail with age to pick up a brush!
How do you see your work developing and evolving in the future? I’m excited to see. Through being in the studio your practice inevitably develops in ways you can’t foresee. Brushstrokes have become chunkier and less literal recently, perhaps this will evolve into something unexpected!
What are your unrealised projects…projects that you would love to complete one day? I always document the different stages my paintings go through. There are many layers and shifts undergone before they are finished: interiors morph into landscapes, figures come and go and new narratives arise. I have made crude videos animating these changes. One day I would like to push this further. Finally, any advice or words of wisdom for any young artists reading this? Appreciate every day in the studio, it is precious time. Reflect upon your work but don’t overanalyse! When I scrutinise my practice it loses an energy or excitement. Let your hands and materials take over and enjoy creating!
You can enjoy more of Antonia's work on her website: https://www.antoniashowering.co.uk/