Manc of the Month: Tina Dempsey

I don’t know if I have liked anyone’s images on Instagram as much as I like Tina Dempsey’s. Her work is literally everything I love in art – collage, colour, sculpture, abstract… So if anyone needs any ideas of what to get me for my birthday or Christmas, one of Tina’s collages would look lovely up on my wall! Please and thank you!

So, of course I was uber excited when Tina agreed to be our June Manc of the Month. This also coincides with her future exhibition at Paper Gallery, ‘Tracing Paper’ which features other artists such as Ruby Tingle, Ruth Murray and Oliver Binnian. So read our interview below to find out more about Tina, her upcoming exhibition and hear some  great advice for new artists and creatives alike.

Cotton On MCR: How would you summarise your style of work? 

Tina Dempsey: ‘My work examines the way we look at spaces; social, physical and emotional. Exploring how structure, colour, form and language affects our perception and judgement and sets our cultural landscapes.

The dismantling, constructing and re-assembling of information via collage, sculpture and photography, aims to interrupt the semiotic landscape via a series of creative interventions, generating an opportunity for imagery, colour and language to develop new identities and meaning.

In terms of how I use collage I feel that my work is exploring new ways of using collage and expanding the field of what collage can be, particularly with the larger site-specific pieces.’

Tina’s sculpture/collage/installations have recently been on display in Preston, Bolton, and right here in Manchester’s Sloe Gallery.

TD: ‘I feel very pleased with my recent site-specific installations, they are something I’m very proud of as they are often created spontaneously within a day, sometimes two. Having no preconceived plan of what I’m going to create is both exhilarating and terrifying!’

CO: On your website you say that ‘popular culture and media’ are an inspiration to your work. How do you use that inspiration? 

TD: ‘I have a kind of mental scrapbook where I note things of interest to me, spaces, colours, patterns, textures etc. Some of these elements then surface when I’m playing with materials and processes.’

CO: How has your work developed over the years? 

TD: ‘Paper, paint and drawing have always been central to my practice but more recently I’m exploring the crossovers between collage, painting and drawing in both 2D and 3D forms.’

I think this is why I love her work so much. It’s like no other collage/painting I have seen before. It’s unique, innovative and imaginative. And now with Tina exploring more 3D and sculptural work, it totally flips the idea of a collage on its head. Her work is like a children’s pick and mix shop, colours, textures, flavours all mixed together to make the perfect selection.

CO: How would you describe your studio and the way you work? 

TD: ‘I always start with a very tidy, ordered space but, as I tend to work on a number of paintings and collages at once, things always end up pretty messy and a little chaotic, a crescendo of paper and paint!’

As mentioned earlier, Tina has work featured in an exhibition later this month.

TD: ‘I’m currently on the ‘Tracing PAPER’ Scheme with PAPER Gallery in Manchester which culminates in a group show this summer which I’m really excited about.’

(The exhibition starts 29th June. Keep an eye on the blog as a review of the exhibition)

The Tracing Paper scheme is a programme led by Paper Gallery which mentors nine, north-west based artists, whose work involves paper. There are mentoring sessions and talks where fellow artists (as well as guest artists) give feedback and advice. 

CO: So what do you think of Manchester’s art scene?

TD: ‘There is such a creative buzz in Manchester; the studios & artist led spaces, the variety of shows and exhibitions, opportunities like Tracing PAPER and so many inspiring contemporary artists.’

CO: What was the best exhibition you have been to? 

TD: ‘Heather Phillipson ‘Yes, Surprising is existence in the post-vegetal cosmorama’ at the Grundy Gallery, Blackpool. I went back four times.’

CO: Who is your favourite artist?

TD: ‘It’s not really about favourites for me, more of whom I find inspiring at the time but artists I always return to are;

Imi Knoebel

Jessica Stockholder

Sarah Cain

Dan Perfect

Hans-Peter Feldman

Charline von Heyl’

CO: What advice would you give to budding artists? 

TD: ‘Always a tricky question as I think everyone’s path is different but what’s worked for me so far is;

* Work hard! Being an artist can be tough at times but it’s so worth the effort.

* When you get rejections (absolutely everyone does), don’t take it personally, move on and apply for something else.

* Try wherever possible to meet people face to face rather than relying on emails etc

* Have more than one string to your bow – most of the creatives I know supplement their income by running workshops, selling prints, private commissions, commercial work etc

* Volunteer – if there are specific organisations, galleries etc you would like to work with look for opportunities to volunteer with them.’

CO: Outside of art, what are your hobbies/interests? 

TD: ‘Art & creativity are pretty much part of everything I do but my other passions are my dog, friends & family and food!’

CO: If you could go back in time and meet one person, who would it be and why? 

TD: ‘Sir Peter Ustinov. I could listen to his hilarious stories forever.’

CO: If you could live in any painting/artwork, which would it be? 

TD: ‘I think it would be something like Archologies by Dan Perfect. I would have to be very small though so I could spend my life exploring it.’

You can purchase some of Tina Dempsey’s work on the Cotton On MCR shop!

‘Tracing Paper’ opens 29th June and is on till 11th August. Find out more about Tina Dempsey on her site.

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