Phoebe Boswell is an award-winning visual artist and animator who combines traditional draughtsmanship with digital technology to create charged, multi-sensory works which tell global, fragmented stories of what it means to be living now. Fascinated by the lives and belief systems of those around her, Phoebe’s work is rooted in the gathering and disseminating of other people’s narratives as a way of trying to understand her own position in the world. Phoebe was born in Kenya, grew up in the Middle East, studied Painting at the Slade, Animation at Central St Martins, and currently lives and works in London.
At Wilderness Festival (August 2014)
and Deptford Lounge (June 2014)
How We See Each Other – Hybrid Portraits of Strangers in a Crowd
I see portraiture purely as a means of enabling conversation. In this workshop, we will all take part in contributing to each other’s portraits. While drawing, conversation will be encouraged. Like speed-dating, after a set amount of time the drawers will switch partners, but not before writing down a sentence which defines something about the person they’ve been drawing. This could be a quote, an observation, a description.
The next drawer will then continue the portrait, adding to it visually (so, for instance, if the first person has drawn an eye, the second person could draw the nose and so on) and at the end at their sentence. In this way, the portraits will grow and morph and develop with each interaction. At the end of the workshop, we will be left with a series of hybrid portraits, and a rounded written description of who each person is – a family tree of strangers in a city.
2 Minute Interview:
How does your workshop relate to being in the NOW?
Being a Londoner is often associated with a certain anonymity and the ability to be lost in a crowd. This workshop gives us the opportunity to get to know one another and contribute to each other’s stories. In a big city where everyone is always rushing around in our own worlds, this simple act of looking and listening could be all we need to be ‘in the NOW’.
What are you most looking forward to doing within your slot at NOW?
I’m most looking forward to encouraging and witnessing that magic thing that happens when two people who don’t know each other connect and learn something new.
Any tips on how the audience can most benefit from your workshop?
Don’t be shy. We’re all in the same boat! It’s not about drawing perfectly or knowing what to say, so just be yourself and get involved.