A proud Mancunian like us, this November’s Manc of The Month is Nancy Collantine, an artist who delivers work that’s full of colour, full of texture, full of life. Her work takes the processes of layering, taking away and adding some more; a culmination of unpredictability transformed into eye catching art works. Her work is different to anything we have seen before, that is why Nancy is this month’s featured artist.
Read on to find out more about Nancy, how she create her art and her views on Manchester’s art scene and what needs changing.
Cotton On MCR: Please introduce yourself and your work to the viewers.
Nancy Collantine: ‘Hello I’m Nancy Collantine, and I make site specific artworks that responds to a place. I paint, draw, collage in varying scale, to occupy different spaces. I’ve been commissioned to make a floor-to-ceiling painting for a staircase and painted huge figures to hang in the swimming pool at Victoria Bath. I am now making new work in my studio at Goyt Mill in Marple, and this month I start my first year on the Turps School of Painting correspondence course.’
CO: Your work varies with some pieces being very abstract and others displaying some form, which do you prefer and why?
NC: ‘When I am painting, I don’t start with an idea and paint that. I usually begin with a subject I have drawn, using the marks and forms that have become their own entity, because they are free, removed and independent from the original idea and they become their own thing. If I am working with these in oil paint, in space and against other forms, they become something else, they form relationships and sometimes figures, or parts of figures might emerge, and sometimes not.’
CO: Colour is very prominent and striking, how did you come to present colour in this way?
NC: ‘Colour and light is everything, it makes painting exciting to look at and challenging to make. I’m not sure I ever learned formally how to use colour, but I have looked at lots of paintings, perhaps that’s my education.’
CO: Your work can include layers and texture and lots of different mark makings, why and how do you do this?
NC: ‘The layers are part of the process, I am erasing, editing and adding more as the painting leads me. I sometimes use collage or simply paper as something to work against and I like that it adds texture. I want to make a piece of work that I’ve not seen before, and to do that requires a strong visual vocabulary, so I draw a lot to see.’
CO: What is your favourite piece of work/one you are most proud of?
NC: ‘The work I produced during my residency at Victoria Baths was a first for me in many respects. I was producing it with a collective of artists from the Islington Mill Art Academy, and it felt like I had a lot to do. To pull off an exciting multiple installation in such a collaborative way was a proud moment and all of the artists involved felt that it was pivotal experience for them. We had such a fantastic response from the public and I loved that it inspired lots of visitors to do their own micro-residency whilst they were there. I’ve since gone on to make more work about Victoria Baths because the residency embedded a lot of visual information into my memory.’
CO: What do you think of the Manchester art scene?
NC: ‘I would love to see artists taking a proper role in developing the social fabric of our city rather than having pockets of creative endeavour in cold, draughty, impermanent spaces. Difficult funding models that only just gets the work made on a shoestring and seen only by an inner circle and the impact of them not felt by the wider community. Manchester is one of the most deprived areas in the country, we are supposed to be the original modern city and it feels so much less than that at times.’
CO: How do you find art residencies you’ve been a part of?
NC: ‘Intense, satisfying, revelatory. I’m in the process of reviewing past work as I currently involved with the MDP Studio Book programme and I can certainly see shifts in my practice from doing residencies. Being at Islington Mill in 2018/19 was an amazing experience; I was one of 13 artists invited to form a peer-led alternative art school. I think everything comes into play, residencies, projects, every single piece of work, all the rubbish, it all crops up again and again and it feels like a building up of understanding.’
CO: Away from art then, what’s your ideal holiday?
NC: ‘Any holiday is my ideal holiday.’
CO: Who is your favourite celebrity and why?
NC: ‘I don’t have a favourite celebrity. I do however think what Marcus Rashford is doing is incredible and a true account of what someone in the public eye can achieve for good and is putting the government to shame.’
CO: If you could live in art artwork, what would it be and why?
NC: ‘Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series. The palimpsest of previous attempts, the economy and I just want to jump into those West Coast colours.’
If you think you should be considered for Manc of the Month, or want to nominate someone else, drop us a message via our Contact Page.