Glasgow artist Kirsty Lackie was born in 1989, and a sense of her fleeting existence looms large in her work. She enjoys using poetry, theatre and film to parse upon the quotidian and conjugate a sense of performance often with surreal interactions. Her recent work depicts somewhat dream-like scenes shot through with a sense of otherness and humour. Her degree in psychology (2011) from the University of Glasgow went some way to helping her understand the mechanics of a mind, and through her degree in Communication Design from the Glasgow School of Art (2018) she’s finding a mode of articulation and expression for these thoughts and observations. Her work often plays with the juxtaposition between our temporary existence and things like, the infrangibility of everyday objects, or the awkwardness in the minutiae of the everyday. But she isn’t morose or downbeat about any of this, instead she likes to set it free with humour and a healthy dose the absurd.
At its heart, my art is about story telling. Added onto that, I’m often trying to play with preconceived ideas and expectations to create an otherness, or sometimes an absurdity. I hear echoes of this otherness in all sorts of places, for example in conversations around gender and the plight of women throughout history, but also, on a more granular level, in overheard snippets of conversation.
I try not to get too bogged down with masses of research before starting a piece, but instead act on impulses I have to create something. I feel like the longer I take researching a subject, the less I create. I take my inspiration from films, poetry, fashion websites, everyday encounters or anything that I think is funny or interesting and just go from there. I try to let the drawing guide me - whether it’s the placement of an object, the position of a figure, or a specific colour interaction - one thing informs the next quite freely. I like not knowing where it’s going, but instead letting the story unfold from the initial idea and surprising even myself with the outcome!
With regards to my style, I feel like it has developed naturally. I have always drawn over the years, from when I was wee up until now. As I draw, I see hints of “my style”, but it is always changing, developing as I draw more and become more free. I honestly feel if you love painting and creating things out of your imagination, you should create! You will find meaning and purpose in it, even if it’s just in some of it. But if you don’t act on these impulses, then you won’t have anything to work with!
I’m attracted to art with an imperfect quality and a sense of freedom to it - loose lines, quick brushstrokes and human error. I love the way you can see rubbed out lines and mucky smudges in Swedish artist Jockum Nordstrom’s drawings. Similarly, I’m inspired by the way Danny Fox paints over small sections of his paintings creating different textures in the piece. It’s for this reason that I find outsider art so appealing, such as the work of Clementine Hunter, Lee Godie and Bill Traylor among many others. They created an abundance of beautiful work because they weren’t adhering to any teachings or rules. The outcomes and all the imperfections are what I find make the work so beautiful and interesting. There is an obvious freedom devoid of inhibitions and constraints, which I actually think is a more difficult position to be in than people think! It’s almost like you have to break through this barrier of feeling guarded.
I recently felt like my work was becoming too constrained. I was working on a large painting and came upon some issues! So I watched Barton Fink by the Cohen Brothers, a film about writer’s block. It took them only three weeks to write the script, during a break from making Miller’s Crossing. They came up with the initial idea, and then let the story happen organically. I feel like it was so successful because of the freedom of the story, and this was something they were able to accomplish because they didn’t feel the pressure as much. So, I took myself away from the large painting and made a number of tiny ones without thinking or worrying about anything. Some of them I loved and some of them I was indifferent about, but they all surprised me, and I find that exciting.