Arts + Entertainment

Kent Artist Profile: Ruth Dent

Ruth Dent creates. She creates art, she creates worlds, she creates characters. This month, insideKENT’s Lisamarie Lamb asked her about what she does, and what the inspiration is behind it all.

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How would you describe your art? What is it that you do?

I’m an artist-printmaker expressing my emotional response to music, literature and live performance through colourful and gestural abstracts. Working on an interpretation, I endeavour to capture its essence in visual form, taking into account its purpose, meaning, history, location and connections with places and/or people associated with the piece.

What is your background?

Being an artist is a second career for me. I started in 2003 by taking an Adult Education course and then progressed via West Kent College to UCA Maidstone where I gained a BA (Hons) Printmaking (1st) in 2010.

What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever undertaken?

That would have to be ‘Art for Evensong’ where I took my series of 16 prints interpreting choral evensong (each measuring 25cm x 50cm) and turned them into painted banners measuring 1.35m x 2.5m!

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These were hung in the choir transepts of Rochester Cathedral from October 2012 to January 2013, and after being shown in Rochester Cathedral, I took the banners on tour to the Isle of Man (St Germain, Peel) in 2013, then Worcester and Bradford Cathedrals in 2014.

What is your favourite piece?

That’s really tricky! It’s probably my scarves, as by appropriating my own work, digitally printing the images onto silk to create limited edition silk scarves (Made in Britain), I have created new art (which doesn’t need any wall space – though I do have collectors who have hung my scarves on their walls). This enables me to share my art with a wider audience, who can connect with the story behind the art, bring it alive, travel with it, continue the story and make their own memories.  Hence ‘Travels with my Scarf ’.

What is the inspiration behind Augusta? Can you tell us more about her?

Yes! At the beginning of the summer, I had a series of photos taken with models and the photos came out so well I wanted to use them in a special way to show everyone how the scarves look on real ladies and how they can transform your outfit/mood.

That’s when Augusta arrived! I had the idea that all of my models, now and in the future, could be ‘Augusta’, and that she would be a character containing elements of all of us, and someone we could all relate to in our own way.

I encourage my collectors to take photographs of their scarves wherever they are, and these photos are interspersed with those of Augusta, with a sentence or two about the location or with a comment from Augusta. I am encouraging people to get to know and to interact with Augusta as she shares her adventures, thoughts and ideas and as her personality develops.

As well as my model photos, I also have an illustrated Augusta drawn by Jane Spencer (http://sight-hound.co.uk/illustration).

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What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?

Winning the John Purcell Paper Prize at the National Open Print Exhibition in 2015 for Dies irae l, from my Britten War Requiem series of 8 prints.

Where can we see your work?

At Nucleus Arts in Rochester – the only location where my scarves are available to see and buy, as well as other pieces of my art.

Moulin de Larroque, Couze, 23150, France – five pieces remain following my exhibition there earlier this year. Displayed in a room above the millstream alongside work from two French artists who also use their handmade paper.

www.ruthdent.com
Instagram: ruthdentart

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