Saffron-Rose offers viewers a glimpse into her mind, her imagination and the dreams that haunt her in her surreal paintings. Saffron opens up on how her art helps to support her mental health. She shares how she is gradually shedding the expectations put on artists to have a ‘niche’ and instead paints for herself: to maintain a clear mind and to enter a peaceful state of ignorant bliss.
My art isn’t meant to be understood, I don’t paint conceptually, instead I aim to provide the viewer with a little glimpse into my mind.
I like how your art interweaves figurative painting with abstract expressionism, can you talk us through the main concepts behind your work?
I only started painting again in March of this year after 3-4 years of the dreaded artist block. One day it just came back, and now I genuinely can’t stop painting. This is definitely the main reason why my art varies so much because I’ve not been creative in so long – I just need to get all of my ideas out of my head! I’m still trying to find my style; one minute I love painting portraits, the next abstracts – I think this can sometimes be confusing to the viewer though. I’m currently trying to find ways to intertwine the two. In terms of concepts, I’m definitely not a planner. My works stem from short bursts of creative energy and emotions I feel in the moment. I don’t really have much control over what I create or a particular reason behind it, it just kind of happens sporadically.
Your art is also heavily influenced by Surrealism, what draws you to look at surrealism?
The reason why I love Surrealism so much is that it questions reality, something I always find myself doing. Surrealism allows us to see art in its purest form, because it stems from the imaginative mind, as opposed to rational thoughts. I’m not really into the SuperReal art, SuperReal is personally something I’d rather see through photography or filmography. I find inspiration in all thought provokingly weird and uncanny things, that’s why my art mainly stems from emotions and imagination as opposed to reality.
In your art practice you delve deep into your subconscious thoughts, how has this exploration into your subconscious influenced your art? Would you say your art is a way of processing your emotions and thoughts?
Definitely! I used to have panic attacks when I was younger, and as I’m getting older they have thankfully started to fade away. In their place though I tend to have sleep paralysis, but I only get this now and then. In these lucid dreams I usually see strange (Pan’s Labyrinth like) figurative creatures. The more it happens the more I just use my art as therapy, and I’ve slowly begun to find the beauty in the horror. The idea for ‘Horse Girl’ came from one of my dreams.
I think we’ll all live much happier lives if we just stopped worrying about other people’s opinions
There are various contrasts depicted in your art, what do these contrasts mean for you?
Contrasts are something that have always fascinated me. In my abstracts I typically use dark and light paint to try and create more of a 3- Dimensional aesthetic. I think conceptually, the dark represents my past and how cloudy my mind used to be, and the lighter tones represent my current, happier and clearer state of mind. I’m really intrigued by textures too, and I tend to play with smooth vs rough mediums in my work. I think it just adds that extra bit of drama to a piece.
What messages and emotions do you hope to evoke within the viewer?
I enjoy the idea that my pieces can be interpreted in different ways. I find it fascinating that no two people in this universe are the same; we all have different opinions and find different things aesthetically pleasing. My art isn’t meant to be understood, I don’t paint conceptually, instead I aim to provide the viewer with a little glimpse into my mind. I just hope my work makes them feel something, whether that’s uneasy or at ease, I’d genuinely be happy with either!
Walk us through your creative process .. what are the different stages of your work? Do you have any art rituals?
I never plan out ideas anymore. When I used to do this, I always ended up hating my pieces. Now I just kind of go for it and I let the canvas tell me what it wants. Some of my paintings I’ve finished in less than an hour, others have taken me weeks. It totally depends on the piece and my mood. One thing I’ve learnt is not to rush it; if I’m not sure what to do I leave the piece in a corner in my room so I can look at it every day, then when it calls me I’ll go back to it . I also love to listen to classical music, it really helps me focus and makes me feel calm. I have been recently obsessed with ‘The Cinematic Orchestra’ – check them out on Spotify!
What are some of the challenges you typically face in your practise and how do you overcome these?
I think the main challenge for me would be trying to find my ‘style’. As you know I love abstracts and portraits, I’ve had many people tell me that to do well in the art world you need to find your ‘niche’. But to be totally honest, I enjoy both. Maybe one day I’ll find a way to incorporate the two, and that will be my ‘thing’. But I’m not going to get stuck on that any more. I just want to enjoy my work; enjoy what I am creating; and stop worrying about who likes it. I think we’ll all live much happier lives if we just stopped worrying about other people’s opinions. I’ve recently started meditating, and it’s really helping me to overcome certain challenges like this.
The more it happens the more I just use my art as therapy, and I’ve slowly begun to find the beauty in the horror
How does art and creativity affect your overall well-being? And how do you feel when you create?
I’ve suffered with anxiety most of my life, and I’ve tried many different solutions, without much luck. Now I’ve started creating again, I feel like my mind is less cloudy. When I paint I forget about the outside world, I forget about any troubles I have and I genuinely get lost. The world could probably end and I wouldn’t even notice, as ridiculous as that sounds! I can’t imagine my life without it now. It’s funny to think that all along this was all I needed to feel fulfilled and at peace, to just paint.
What are your hopes and dreams as an artist?
What a question! I have so many. I’m working on manifesting my own studio, as currently I’m just painting in my bedroom. I’d also love to focus on art 24/7 without the worries of a full time job, and to be able to have the space to paint on HUGE canvases.
What have you got coming up that we can look out for?
I’m taking part in It’s Liquid Groups ‘Out of balance’ exhibition at the Line Gallery London from October 22- November 20. I’ll also be at Roy’s Art Fair in the OXO Wharf from 4-7 March 2021. I’m hoping a solo exhibition will be on the cards for me in the near future. I have so many goals I want to tick off but I believe everything will happen exactly when it’s supposed to. So for now, I’m just going to trust the process!
To view more of Saffron’s work: