NPA Lab | 2020
Oli Epp is a painter whose work circulates a number of themes to do with the tragicomic element of living in the 21st century society, dealing with the complexity of identity and anxieties living in the digital age. Recently, Epp’s work was featured in ‘Friends and Friends of Friends’, curated by Inga Kleinknecht at the Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria.
Emilie Fitzgerald is a contemporary artist, primarily focused on painting. She uses nostalgic and often kitsch imagery with reference to fairy tales and children’s stories. Emilie was shortlisted for the Clyde & Co Art Award in 2019 – 2020.
‘Dolls House’ (2020)
Oil and acrylic on canvas (122 x 92 cm)
“I think the question of how to sustain a practice as an artist today is one that most artists are being forced to ask themselves at the moment. As an emerging artist during a global pandemic it’s easy to think that only people finding their feet are struggling and that established artists must already have a routine and foundation strong enough to not be phased by what’s happening. But I think after talking to Oli it became clear that these are difficult and challenging times for everyone at the moment.
How do you make light-hearted and comical paintings when many of us are grieving, recovering from being sick or even just locked indoors and isolated? There are lots of ways that artists are managing to financially sustain their practices at the moment and for many, sales have increased. Initiatives like the Artist Support Pledge, started by Matthew Burrows on Instagram, has generated a huge amount of sales and contributed massively to keeping artists and the art market going. Making art accessible to people with smaller budgets is really important at the moment, as is giving back, and that’s why the idea of putting a percentage of your sales towards buying someone else’s work was such a brilliant one. I think as important as it is to think about how to sustain your practice economically, chatting to Oli as well as watching the development of the artists support pledge has shown me the importance of emotional sustainment.
The artist support pledge created a community of artists supporting each other that felt nurturing and uplifting and allowed artists to develop new connections and form support systems. This was a message that was also clear from Oli, that to become an established artist requires a whole team of other people who you can go to for advice and support, to have a mailing list of friends, colleagues, collectors, tutors etc. who you can continue to update and invite to events. It’s a particularly difficult time for the new graduates coming out who didn’t get to have a degree show and gain the contacts and opportunities that they would have gained through that. I think social media for them and most artists will continue to become more and more important, as the artist support pledge demonstrated, and I hope that some of the lost connections can be developed through virtual relationships.”
‘Into The Woods’ (2020)
Oil, acrylic and ink on canvs (40 x 30cm)
Emilie Fitzgerald is a contemporary artist born in Surrey, England and is based in London and East Sussex. Emilie is a recent Fine Art graduate of City and Guilds of London Art School, taking part in both interim shows at the Crypt Gallery and Downstairs at Mother. Primarily focused on painting, Emilie is interested in ideas around visual languages and representation. Since graduating, Emilie has had work chosen for the Clyde & Co Art Award and year-long exhibition as well the 2019 Collyer Bristow Graduate Art Award: Exceptional.
Oil and acrylic on canvas (200 x 160cm)
Oli Epp’s paintings circulate a number of themes to do with the tragicomic element of living in the 21st century society, dealing with the complexity of identity and anxieties living in the digital age; consumerism and consumption which leads to control and addiction, anxiety and conflict.