Zemni 2018 Personal Statement

I am an artist and illustrator aiming to make images and animations that encourage people – including myself – to think more deeply about the world and their place in it. Image-making is my way of discovering and exploring new experiences, finding new ways of seeing, thinking and living. Finding connections and contradictions, light and dark and transitions between. Exploring different emotions and my responses to the world around me.

As part of my professional work as a participatory facilitator of visioning and planning processes in Africa, Asia and Latin America I am also looking at ways of developing pictorial animated on-line interactive resources with and for communities that people anywhere can download and use for community-based trainings on a range of sustainable development topics.

But as I was born and brought up in Europe, specifically England, my starting point is the world at home. The more I travel, the more questions I have about everyday things I have taken for granted, seen as boring and unremarkable or ugly and unavoidable. I am interested in how image-making can raise awareness and promote communication between people from different backgrounds – gender, identity, poverty – and promote creativity in managing our physical environment.

My work does not follow any specific style or medium. More a working approach to set or self-identified briefs.

I work in a range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. Seeing how to exploit and extend the specific features of each, pushing them to the limit and layering them in combination. I am currently exploring how to convert my still images into different types of interactive experience using Adobe Animate, Photoshop and After Effects combined with video.

I enjoy working directly from life, sketching people and imagining the stories they might tell. Exploring different perspectives and moods. I am very interested in different cultural styles and meanings, how they use line, shape, colour and abstraction and the different meanings artists intend and viewers bring to the image.

I work with collage and photomontage to discover and explore connections and contradictions of meaning, particularly in my more political work.

I also work a lot with found images – doleful zebras in the woodgrain, monsters in the marble, dinosaurs in the clouds, faces in the sheet folds. I work with natural, mixed and print ‘accidental’ lines and  textures as a basis for ‘imaginings’, exploring the types of stories these suggest. Then I develop these images to clarify shapes, or as the basis for drawings and paintings, often combining these digitally in Photoshop or with Corel Painter.