Interview by Mia Kingsley
For this weeks ‘Mia Meets…’ I will be talking to Sasha Cresdee a 19 year old from the South of England now studying Fine art and living in London. She’s into textures & making collages, uses many methods of ‘craft’ and explores the possibilities of integrating these methods into her ‘Fine Art’. Sasha is also part of two female run art collectives ‘The Coven’ & ‘The Bunny Collective’. We talk about these groups, her amazing embroidered selfies, what knitting symbolises in her work and her inspirations. Meet the super talented Miss Sasha Cresdee…
Your currently studying BA Fine Art at university, tell us a little bit about your course…
One of the main things that separates Chelsea from the other UAL Fine Art courses is that they don’t divide the Fine Art students into subjects like painting, photography etc. It’s just completely open with no briefs or set projects, you have to be pretty independent which suits me perfectly. I tend to use all sorts of media in my work from more sculptural works, to photography/collage. I let the ideas lead the work not the material so the course is great for me.
What made you take that path? Have you always been creative?
I have always been creative yes. When I was younger I mainly used to focus on photography, using various film cameras to document my day to day life, and I did a lot of boring paintings at college. But it wasn’t till I completed my art foundation last year that I really fell in love with art. I had the best, most open minded tutor ever and that really gave me confidence and enabled me to produce art I wouldn’t imagine myself making. I learnt that it’s really important to take risks with your work to help it progress.
At the moment you are making a lot of collages, what’s your style? How do you go about creating them?
At the moment I’m interested in collage in its simplest form, just a juxtaposition of playful images, texture and colour. I love cut outs of bodies and legs, I suppose this is partially inspired by Cindy Sherman’s ‘Doll Clothes’ video from 1975 where she is a cut out in her underwear trying on cut out clothes. Anyway, I like to reference collage within collage, so I use cut out shapes, or the bits that people don’t usually use in collage like the leftovers/scraps. I think these pieces have just as much visual value as the part you were actually going to cut out. I’m quite interested in the really literal artistic intent in collage, like ‘I’m going to choose to cut this bit out and you are going to look at it like this’.
You use a mixture of materials in your work but you focus a lot on the fabric, clothing, different textures. Tell us about your relationship with sewing and knitting..
I am fascinated by looking at sewing, knitting and clothes from conceptual perspectives. Particularly psychoanalytical theories like Lacan’s ‘lack’ theory for example. In its simplest form, knitting is essentially making one yarn into this ‘whole’ thing just by looping the yarn through holes and I think that’s a really neat concept. I see knit as a metaphor for skin, our bodies, both simultaneously vulnerable – comprised of holes or pores, but also protective. As for sewing, I’ve not always sewn, but took a serious interest in it last year. I like that there are conflicting feminist arguments surrounding using a traditionally feminine act like embroidery or knitting in your art. I guess I’m just on a journey to figure out exactly what it means to me.
Knitting & embroidery are very traditional forms of creating, do you feel its important to keep to tradition in a world full of modern practices & evolving methods of creating?
This is a hard question to answer because knitting and embroidery are technically considered by some as ‘craft’ not ‘fine art’. I am interested in dissecting and breaking down this distinction. I don’t necessarily think it’s important to keep traditional methods of creation. I just think that these are incredibly interesting mediums that are often looked over as just ‘traditional’ and I guess it’s looking at them from different modern perspectives that kind of re-enlivens them into something new. I suppose it is very important to use your hands and make interesting objects, but I’m very open to conceptualised thinking so it’s not essential.
An interesting project of yours involves you embroidering your ‘selfies’. Extremely cool to transfer a very modern obsession in our society into a very traditional craft. Tell us about it…
Well I have always been interested in the way in which we present ourselves online as opposed to in real life. I like the quick, disposable nature of selfies, contrasted with the time consuming, delicate process of embroidery. I turn online things like webcam pictures or web pages into tactile physical objects, as a sort of protest against our world becoming more technological, objects are very important things.
‘Selfies’ are a new craze within the young female generation, do you feel as a young female that these new ways of exposing ourselves on the internet is affecting the way we view ourselves & what it means to be a woman…
Well I see this craze as a very positive thing. We are controlling the way we are being seen, we are proud and promoting self love and care. It’s nice. I wouldn’t say that what it means to be a woman could be encapsulated by a selfie but collectively, our selfies contain a lot of power I think.
Another project of yours involves self portraits with embroidery stitched in to wrap around your body, the fabric almost looks as if its protecting you, a second skin, your positions portray vulnerability. Whats the meaning behind these pieces?
When I made these I was going through a bit of a personal journey I suppose, I was learning a lot about relationships, my body, self-confidence etc. The main word for that project was ‘cocoon’, I never fully understood why I was making them but they just kind of felt right as a representation of what I was feeling. If all art could be expressed by words art wouldn’t exist right? You could view them as really personal objects about me or in a broader sense a representation of the way our society ‘wraps’ up women, traps or objectifies them. I kind of like how their meaning changes over time the more I think about them
What inspires you? Which artists do you admire?
Wow I could go on forever with this question. So many things. I’m gonna keep this really short and just say Martin Creed. I just love cheeky, simple art which is simultaneously really complicated in thought.
How would you describe your current style?
The Coven is comprised of a selection of female artists worldwide and Bunny is just focused on UK and Ireland. They are both absolutely great, ran by amazingly pro-active, determined women who make zines, get us shows and we just all inspire and support each other. There are a few impending exhibitions in 2014 coming up including London, Ireland, San Francisco. I am very privileged to be a part of both and am very excited about the future.
Whats next for you Sasha? Any exciting projects for us to look forward to?
I’m just at a really nice stage in my practice where I’m combining all my interests together in a really relaxed way which makes sense to me. I plan on filling a sketchbook of sorts with new collages and generally trying to be more prolific and proactive with my work.
Thank you so much Sasha! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you 🙂 For more of Miss Cresdee check out these links:
Until next week for more ‘Mia Meets…’ or more Mia Kingsley: