Artist and Glyndwr University lecturer lends her skills to help boost positivity with Arts At Home project
An artist and lecturer has lent her skills to an innovate online series she hopes will help boost people’s positivity – with art projects they can carry out at home.
Rhi Moxon, from Wrexham, is one of a series of artists who are taking part in the Tŷ Pawb At Home series – which has been put together by the Wrexham-based cultural community resource and arts space to help encourage people to discover and develop their artistic side during lockdown.
Rhi, who also lectures in graphics at Wrexham Glyndwr University, is one of six artists chosen from a longlist more than 40 who answered an open call for contributions. Each has shared their work and ideas online during the time that Tŷ Pawb has been closed in response to the current crisis.
She said: “I responded to the open call that Tŷ Pawb put out at the start of lockdown, for artists to come forward with online art assignments.
“I’d just started mucking around with timelapse videos and filming myself making collages and bookbinding and all the other stuff I play around with if I don’t feel like actual drawing – and that’s how I was feeling, a lot, at the beginning of lockdown.
“The anxieties around the pandemic were a bit overwhelming and my creativity was zapped. When I feel like that I try to do more physical, mechanical processes like bookbinding and cutting paper – they seem to calm my mind!”
As she thought about the work she would produce for her videos, Rhi began to draw inspiration from the art she saw being made by members of the public in response to the crisis.
She added: “I was inspired by all the little creative responses I was seeing pop up everywhere, messages of positivity and resilience both online and off.
“Every day, on my morning run, I was seeing more and more rainbows and WE LOVE THE NHS posters and all sorts of bright and colourful adornments on people’s windows that made me smile.
“They reminded me of the bold colourful screen-prints of Sister Corita Kent in the 1960s, intended to get people feeling positively about social issues and to make them feel empowered and emboldened to keep going.
“I loved that idea – that something so simple and immediate and democratic as putting a message or a picture in your window could literally change somebody’s mood. And I already loved the grassroots history of printmaking in its modern form.
“So I had this idea for the ‘Positivity Press’ project, encouraging people to take up printing at home and spread some cheer and solidarity with their community. I’m really enjoying seeing how people make these projects their own and take inspiration from their lockdown habitats!”
As she designed her project, Rhi consciously strove to ensure that the techniques she used were ones anyone who wanted to have a go at home could follow easily – and without needing elaborate equipment.
She added: “It was important to me that it could be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or prior knowledge of print. Printmaking can seem really daunting and technical when you first start out – well it did to me – but in its simplest form it’s just about reproducing marks on paper.
“Also, I felt it was important that people could have a go using just what they have at home or could easily source. Printmaking doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. My hope is that people have a go at these projects and it inspires them to find out more about printmaking and developing their own visual language!”
The changes brought about by lockdown – while unexpected – have proved to have had both positives and negatives for Rhi’s artwork.
She said: “Lockdown has brought with it space and time to play and experiment and that’s been an unexpected positive of such a stressful time.
“The slowing down of life has reminded me of the long, slow summer holidays when I was a kid and that feeling of having to make your own fun and entertainment. Making for making sake rather than for a deadline or exhibition.
“I think you have to carve space in your mind for creativity and sometimes with the hustle and bustle of daily life, that space gets filled up with all sorts of other things but having this somewhat monotonous time at home has actually helped the creative mind.”
To find out more about the Tŷ Pawb Art At Home project, visit: https://www.typawb.wales/artsathome Artwork created by those taking part in the project at home is set to be displayed at the Tŷ Pawb Open in October.
And to find out more about the wide range of courses at Wrexham Glyndwr University – whether Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Part Time, Professional and more – visit: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/A-Z/
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