By Meg Fatharly
BA Drawing student Meg Fatharly speaks to second year illustration student Scarlett Butters about her process, influences and how she wants to push herself with new mediums this year.
When I first came across Scarlett’s work I was struck at her ability to combine colour with mark making to create work that evokes a strong sense of calm through rhythmic application. We spoke about the importance of drawing and the meaning of mark making, as an artist who works in a similar way it was really rewarding to meet someone who sees its importance within artistic practice.
Her sketchbooks are beautifully crafted; full of energy and life which echoes in the way she talks about her work. We both agreed that coming to Falmouth has opened our eyes to new ways of seeing but also meeting like-minded people who see the world in similar ways.
What does drawing do for you as an artist?
Drawing allows me to have contentment that is difficult to find in anything else; in this way it provides an escape and a muddled sense of what I experience day to day.
Describe your work space in 4 words?
Erratic, ink-splattered, tea-stained and green.
What is your go to medium for drawing?
I seem to fluctuate between having phases of being obsessed with different mediums. At the moment I am fixated with using blue lead in my mechanical pencil, it seems to have a livelier depth to it in tonal drawings. Actually anything that is blue or green. Sometimes it can be the simple relationship between paper and a heavy graphite pencil that makes me want to draw. I love to push how media can be combined, for example using washes of watercolours or inks overlaid with scratchy graphite layers with flecks of gold and white paint.
How important is it to push illustration in contemporary society? I feel that particularly in our increasingly technological society, illustration needs to emulate the way we perceive the world in terms of the other senses as well as visual, for example smells and the way something feels against your skin. In this way, we should hold on to hand drawn ways of illustrating, as it is raw and relates to how we interpret the world with our whole bodies, not through a static blue screen.
What other ways of observing do you find essential in your practice?
Photography and collecting broken pottery, chipped old bottles, leaf skeletons, animal teeth, mermaid’s purses and other ephemera help to satisfy my fascination with being outdoors. It provides a tactile whisper of the experience of being in a stunning place with treasured people or stumbling across something on a solitary walk to university.
Ahh there are so many! Mellissa Castrillon, Barbara Hepworth, Phoebe Wahl, Lizzy Stewart, Chris Hagan, Laura Carlin, Sophie Lecuyer, Klimt, Matisse and Willian Santiago… to name but a few!
Your work evokes a strong sense of spontaneity through subject matter, capturing ethereal creatures through mark making. What does mark making mean to you when it comes to drawing?Mark making provides a lyrical sense of energy, movement and sequence in a drawing or illustration, it helps suggest that the drawing could continue to evolve or leap out at you. It also breaks up and allows flat areas of empty space to dance.
How has coming to art school changed you as a person?
As a person it has heightened my awareness of the otherwise overlooked or ordinary that could be used to influence my work, as I am surrounded my so many talented and visually aware people. There is such an overwhelming sense of positivity and passion here, art school definitely brings out the best in you.
You spoke about wanting to push collage and writing in your work, how do you think you’ll experiment with this?
I would like to experiment more with mono-printing from found objects and frottage when out in the landscape, to generate textures to produce papers for practicing collage. Also to become even more of a hoarder of discarded paper! For writing, I would like to subtly weave words like fragmented thoughts somehow into my work.
You can follow her work on Instagram at @scarletto