On The Grape Vine. Episode #2 - Artist in Residence, Ellen Bashford.
We are thrilled to welcome East London based painter Ellen Bashford to be our first artist in residence, exhibiting her works on the walls of Silver Lining.
We chatted with Ellen about what it is that inspires her incredible pieces;
Who are you and where are you from?
I grew up in South London with an English father and an American mother who absolutely loves London and always took me to see everything. My father loves art so between the two of them I spent a lot of time at the Tate growing up, particularly the Tate Modern where they have loads of activity packs for kids. That led to two formative moments in my relationship with art. One was lying on the floor at a super young age cutting out coloured bits of card and making Henri Matisse’s ‘The Snail’ and accepting that this here, was a snail. And one slightly later, I think in 2005 when I was 14, I saw Michael Craig-Martin’s ‘An Oak Tree’. After grappling with that one (which I’m still doing) and then studying history at university which gave me a sense of some of the cultural backstories to works I admired, I have ever since delighted in abstract art.
How long have you been painting for?
A very long time. But only recently coherently.
Who / where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot of modernism and a lot of nature. This is all probably ‘The Snail’s’ fault. I like following modernist artists and couples through their lives and always find the connectivity and relationships they forged whilst responding to the world around them fascinating – especially Anni and Josef Albers. Separately, shapes and forms in nature are mainly what I draw from and especially being British I feel an incredible connection to the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. I’m not particularly disciplined in what I find inspiring so day-to-day this mainly manifests itself in hoarding large collections of West German pottery, mid-century tables, interesting pieces of wood and an awful lot of stones from an awful lot of beaches.
You don’t just paint, tell us more about your work with sculpture?
I often sketch multiple biomorphic forms in miniature, randomly, like found objects, then arrange them later on a canvas on a much larger scale. Some of them are closer to nature than others in shape so to sculpt them out of clay allows me to draw more energy into a space by placing “living” pieces of these landscapes around as extensions of the canvas works. I think it creates an interesting environment.
What is the dream for your work and your career as an artist?
I like the idea of making things that will somehow outlast me. So I suppose my dream is to live in a house that doesn’t burn down.
What do the next 12 months look like for Ellen Bashford?
I’m very excited about the ability to travel again and to be in galleries again so I shall be pursuing both.
There is a long relationship between art and eating and drinking establishments. Why do you think it is important to have art on the walls in bars and restaurants?
Because what better excuse to stay and admire it.
Is there a bar or restaurant that is home to one of your favourite art pieces?
I’ve always loved Scarfes Bar in the Rosewood Hotel and The Coral Room at The Bloomsbury Hotel both by Martin Brudnizki who always selects the most amazing pieces. The Coral Room is filled with work by Luke Edward Hall who I’m a huge fan of. But any restaurant attached to any major art institution is a wonderful place - the courtyard in the V&A or the café at the RA are favourites along the Tate Modern, for the view.
And finally What is your favourite wine on Silver Lining’s List?
When I met the incredible Sarah Maddox for the first time she sent me home with a bottle of Slobodne Vronski which was absolutely delicious.
Ellen’s work will be on display at silver lining from Wednesday 9th June - 1st October 2021 and will be available to purchase via the artist.