For London-born artist Graceland, bold use of colour and subtle humour conceals a deeper need to explore our very human obsession with consumption, and with ourselves. Graceland studied Fine Art and History of Art at Hampstead Fine Arts, honing her skills in animation and digital design which heavily influence her work today.
Other influences, like her love of vivid colours, date back to her childhood when she developed an early love of art, while her works also feature religious symbols inspired by her studies of Italian Renaissance and Flemish art. These are joined by sly references to the complexities and contradictions of modern day life; in “Conflict” a Balenciaga handbag has blood dripping down the side and a desperate hand reaching out the top while in “Palm Springs” a woman sits astride a pool float bearing Donald Trump’s face.
Graceland skilfully combines these seemingly disparate elements into eye-catching paintings and illustrations which question the facades we construct both as a society and as individuals. Through bold, often clashing colours and powerful symbolism, the trappings of success and fame are provocatively contrasted with inner turmoil and true emotional feeling.
These darker narratives hold special significance for Graceland and are key to her artistic expression. “How often do you think about the way you think?” ponders the artist. “To me, mental health is one of the most important things in life, and I will never understand why they don’t teach kids about the signs in school.
Through my stresses of life I had to research and teach myself about my feelings until I got the hang of why I was feeling the way I did. And I can honestly say to this day my anxiety is minimal and under control.
Sometimes I help people who have experienced the same thing as me and I think everyone should do the same. If your brain is muddled and cloudy your life and interactions with people will be the same. If we want to change the world it begins with people’s mental health.”
Widely considered one of London’s most exciting emerging artists, over the past couple of years Graceland has exhibited widely in London and in the U.S.A. These showings include group exhibitions at Maddox Gallery and Bloomsbury Gallery in London in 2020, and 2019 Art Basel in Miami.