Between working as Brainchild's Art Director and writing, Lily Bonesso is also a curator set to launch the first show from her new collective, STITCH this month at Cock 'n' Bull Gallery. An idea which came about two years ago "When everyone was organising spontaneous first year exhibitions in old warehouses and run-down spaces", this debut exhibition fuses photography, illustration and installation art courtesy of Catherine Scivener, Silva + Cemin, Heidi Andreasen, Fiona Osborne, Ting Cheng and Toni Hollowood. Highlights include Brazilian duo Silva + Cemin's playful, abstract hand shapes to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it perversity of Ting Cheng's "Yoga", clashing childlike dinosaur stickers with eyeball ice creams.
Dazed Digital: Tell us a bit about your own art background - how did you get into curating?
Lily Bonesso: Doing an Art Foundation at Kingston University gave me a very solid group of artistic friends. It's definitely through them I've kept in the creative loop, despite studying English for my degree. I have been working as the Art Director for Brainchild Festival, which is an incredible project. What I was doing for that was essentially curating an exhibition but on a large scale in a field. Writing for Dazed was also important because I was spending a lot of time sourcing young artists to write about and some of these are the artists in the exhibition. To top it off Rhiannon Butler and Rebecca Lidert from Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery have been my mentors over the past six months.
DD: What is STITCH all about?
Lily Bonesso: STITCH is basically an amalgamation of all of these things. I wanted to take all of this talent that I've come into contact with and put it in a professional space therefore making it available for the public. STITCH is supposed to be a linking name, a sort of curatorial brand, which will eventually bring together a bunch of creative projects and a whole network of creatives.
DD: Do you prefer curating to producing your own art?
Lily Bonesso: I’m still not at all sure, you have to spend a lot of time alone if you want to perfect your craft and I don’t think I like that. Curating is the opposite of introverted; it’s about linking people together through their art. There is definitely something creative about it too because the exhibition is a kind of composition.
DD: You've said that the show focuses on the 'unconventional', do you think that's becoming a harder feat? Is the shock and surprise factor still possible?
Lily Bonesso: Actually, I don't think 'unconventional' needs to be about shock or surprise. I see it on a much smaller level, like just seeing the world in a unique way and a sense of things being not so ordinary. Every one of the artists in the show have made work that has that odd angle, but it's subtle. As for shock and surprise I can imagine it's pretty tricky to achieve as an artist because there isn't really much that hasn't been done already. I don't think this is a bad thing though because that means artists now have to reinvent the art of the past and that's actually a really amazing job.
DD: Is there a unifying theme linking all of these artists and their work for you?
Lily Bonesso: Definitely all that stuff that I said about being ‘unconventional’ links their work. Another linking feature in the show is print. It's actually really exciting working with photography and illustration because it is about making something digital, that doesn't really exist, into something you can hold and put on your wall. Josie Tucker is also making printed publications for the show, using artwork from all of the artists. This consideration of paper and ink and the effect the paper has on the tones of the ink and so on brings art down to a tiny macro scale which is really cool.
Another link is that the majority of the work also uses the body as sculpture, giving it a very physical quality that translates beautifully when you see it all together. Me and Amy Webster are working on an installation which links into all of this too but we have yet to test it out!
DD: Stitch is also clearly about giving new talent a platform - who are some artists that you'll be keeping an eye on over the coming months that are tipped for a big 2014?
Lily Bonesso: I am really hoping to curate an illustration exhibition as the next project. Real old school illustration; just ink on paper. So I'd say look out for Chris Gharibi and Andrew Werdna, I'll definitely be asking them to be part of it. Of course there’s Josie, who I mentioned above, and I'm very in love with Andrew Khosravani's work, so him too. I could go on for a really long time listing names! There might be a fashion installation collaboration with my best friend Marie Cunliffe in the pipeline as well and she's definitely a designer to watch.
Follow Sian Dolding on Twitter here @SianDolding