Make catches up with Stephanie Burnley, a multimedia fine artist, known intriguingly as Bonnie and Clyde to find out what makes her tick.
Q. First things first, can you tell us the story behind your pseudonym?
A. I started using the pseudonym when I started a small street fashion label and it stuck. For me, it was less about the film and more about Serge Gainsbourg and his song of the same title. I saw the name as romantic and also somehow genderless, which seemed to fit because I wanted my work to be viewed with an open mind.
Q. What are your earliest memories of being creative or artistic?
A. My first painting at junior school was of two fighters in a boxing ring. The point of view was from above, looking down on the ring with the stage lit up and the backs of people’s heads illuminated. There was a little blood, but not too much, but it was pretty dark I suppose! My teachers must have been worried, Haha!
Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. I get inspired by people and places, society, politics, everyday humour, colour, architecture, music, the arts, but also by hanging around and observing: I’d like to do more of that! I suppose I can be inspired by the big or the small, the mundane or the monumental, as long as it really moves me in some way.
Q. Who or what would you say influences or informs your work the most?
A. I love to go travelling to new places and absorbing my surroundings. I love to travel. I was agoraphobic and anxious for some time so travelling became very special to me and it must have heightened my focus. The photos I use in my work are almost always from trips I have taken unless I am working on a commission.
Q. You live in Brighton, Where else would you like to live it wasn’t there?
A. I’d like to live in a Slim Aarons photograph, the California coast with a swimming pool and a modernist house.
Q. Your working process looks quite layered and complicated! Is it?
A. I work mainly with mixed media originals and limited edition prints. I used to screen print: that was my starting and endpoint. Now I use a lot of my own photographs and work with paint, collage, and the computer, taking the images on a journey and then collaging them. Once the originals are created I take it back to Photoshop and adjust it, creating a Giclée and Silkscreen, which I then have printed as an edition.
My university background was with 3D design, furniture and product, so I also work with box art and three-dimensional media, which I am aiming to explore in more depth this year. I work with people as subjects and models more these days. I like to work elements of their personal journey into the piece.
Q. If you could own one piece of artwork what would it be?
A. I’d love to own a Basquiat, a Hamilton or a Hockney – I’m from Bradford in Yorkshire (like Hockney) so he was very much part of my youth, but until the Tate Britain retrospective last year I’d never seen his 1964 painting ‘Arizona’, which I thought was incredible. I’d also be quite happy with ‘A Bigger Splash’ in my living room!
Q. The theme of this issue is obsession, what would you say you obsessed with?
A.I’m obsessed with music, especially with finding my favourite new sound or new record. I like to uncover gems and do a bit of research to find them. I love Jehnny Beth from Savages’ radio program, ‘Start Making Sense’. I don’t know if I’m obsessed, but I listen without fail, her show is always full of fantastic themes and artists. I’m also obsessed with the work of Dr Joe Dispenza, a neuroscientist: his lectures and meditations are awesome.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future
A. Make better work, always. Have adventures and fun and love. Make music and eat chocolate bars.