Wren Dennis was one of the first artists to participate in our Leeds canvas project, she painted her canvas live in store along with her partner in crime, Bobbie Gastall. We caught up with Wren to find about her work.
Tell us about what you have created for our canvas project?
I decided to paint a hand of Buddha for my canvas, my work generally contains a hand or two, so I thought it was fitting. The hand of Buddha is something I have never tried before so wanted to give it a go, I guess I kind of winged it.
Which materials did you use and why?
I used Posca paint markers, acrylic and gouache on my canvas, I generally work loosely with ink so this was something new, I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and thought the large size of the canvas would be the perfect opportunity.
Where do you make most of your work?
I have a little studio at home, it’s the box room so it’s really cosy. I don’t have to move far to get to the stuff I need and my desk takes up the whole width of it, it’s compact like me. I spend most of my time making there or at university in the huge studios we have there, it’s nice to go from solitude to somewhere that is always busy and there is always an opinion if you need it.
What are your favourite creative tools?
I love Quink, it’s a calligraphy ink meant for fountain pens, but when you water it down you get a multitude of different tones out of one colour. I also love using Pigma Micron fineliner’s as the black is really really black. When I’m feeling a bit outrageous I use Brusho powdered inks, but I end up staining myself for days with all the stray pigment that gets everywhere. For paintings that I aim to sell I always use Khadi handmade paper, it’s really nice to paint on and has such a lovely feel.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
These change a lot, I have recently got an apprenticeship in tattooing so I’m gaining new influences in new fields every day. I’d say my all time illustration heroes are: Richey Beckett, Eleni Kalorkoti, Stacey Rozich and Karl Kwasny to name a few.
If you could only use one material in your work, what would it be and why?
Ink for definite, you can do so much with it. I went through a stage of dry brushing everything and that gives some nice effects, or you can be clean and crisp, or you can do what I normally do which is attempt to be neat and go wrong and then everything gets a bit splashy. That’s okay too though.
What was the best exhibition or art event you went to last year?
The most recent exhibition I’ve been to is the Kaws exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture park, and that really stands out, possibly because of the scale and craft that has gone into it. I always always check out the exhibitions at my Uni (Leeds College of Art) and the Off The Page exhibition at Colours May Vary (Made by 2nd year Illustration students) was amazing, everything was made using traditional print processes such as Lino or Screenprint and the craft that went into it was really great to see.
If you had a tip for artists starting out, what would it be?
Always keep your originals, try keep organised, make what you love and make in a way that feels natural to you. I spent a long time trying to create work that wasn’t how I would draw and it ended up feeling flat and soulless. Stay True.