In conversation with Pippa El-Kadhi Brown
We spoke to Pippa about her inspirations, art school and creating while quarantining.
Since graduating from the University of Brighton in 2018, Pippa has established herself as an artist-to-watch, with multiple exhibitions under her belt. She has collaborated with a range of young creatives and more recently completed an artist residency in China. Her paintings are deeply philosophical, with concerns being raised about the human experience. Using paint to interpret her environment, El-Kadhi creates tangible experiences of the concept of being.
Firstly, what inspires you to paint?
Pippa: I’m interested in human philosophies, particularly our relationship with the domestic environment. I find inspiration in the way we live in and fill space(s) both physical and psychological, and how these deeply personal spaces are suggestive of the self. This urges me to create works which explore these ideas, combining both original and existing responses to emotional human environments.
Talk to us about your process, what steps do you go through to create a painting?
Using initial sketches and paintings, I gather a rough idea for the final outcome, but it almost always changes as the painting progresses and my ideas develop. I enjoy this transitional process and I let the painting speak for itself, often painting over, rotating the canvas and/or scraping away the paint. I like to work on a few pieces at once, leaving time to come back to each piece before I can finally decide it’s finished.
Was art school a beneficial step for you in becoming an artist?
Yes, I would definitely say so. I think the main progression was in the way I learned to make sense of my ideas as it helped me to contextualise and understand the way I work. Unlike most Fine Art courses, mine was specifically a Painting course and I really enjoyed this focus on paint as a medium. I loved constantly being in the studio around other painters. Whilst we were all similar in the way we selected the specific Painting course, we all had very different approaches to the medium and it felt like an exciting and dynamic environment to be part of.
How have you found navigating yourself as an artist in the years after leaving art school?
I think directly after graduating it felt daunting to consider what the next step was, and at times it did feel tough to get back in the swing of creating new work and getting it out there and seen. I tried to apply myself to as many opportunities as possible and this led me to take part in artists residencies in South East-London, China and another coming up in Latvia. I’m looking forward to returning to education later this year for a Masters in Painting at The Royal College of Art.
And finally, how have you been continuing with your practice throughout quarantine?
When lockdown started, I didn’t have access to many of my materials and I hadn’t yet set up space to work at home, so I used methods that were accessible from home, like monoprints and smaller works on paper that reflected the strange climate. I started to use photoshop to create paintings, by chopping and merging parts from my older works and used these to create new pieces with fresh narratives. I have recently been using these as studies for larger paintings as I’ve now set up a home studio where I continue to work for the time being.
Find Pippa on her instagram @pippa.elkadhi.brown or at her website https://www.pippa-elkadhi-brown.com
Check out more of her work below!