December 5, 2022

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Artist Interview: Ali Barker | Cass Art

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Ali Barker is a up to date summary artist centered in Liverpool.  She was the winner of Merseytravel’s ‘Art on the Network’ levels of competition in 2011, with two of her skyline murals of Liverpool and Wirral completely installed on the panelling at possibly conclusion of the Queensway (Birkenhead) Tunnel.  She held her to start with solo demonstrate ‘Four-Dimensional Colour’ in 2016, and accomplished her MA in Fine Artwork in 2019.

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Ali operates with a fixed palette of twelve colours to depict the colors she perceives via her ordeals of the phenomenon of audio-color synaesthesia – when listening to new music, she perceives each individual observe of the musical scale as a unique colour. She is inspired and determined by these ordeals, drawing upon them and her musical qualifications (she plays the violin and the viola) to make her paintings. Beginning from her perceptions while listening to distinct items and/or from the published music, her procedure interprets melodies and excerpts into colourful paintings, ranging from gestural is effective to geometric styles.

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Hello Ali, many thanks so much for taking the time to communicate to us, firstly could you tell us a minimal little bit about your journey as an artist?

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Certainly, of study course. My creative journey is a minor unconventional, as I did not study artwork at college – I experienced to choose possibly art or music to fit in with a few science topics, so I selected music! My initial degree and career have been science-centered, but, in my spare time, I continued to make artwork and go to galleries and exhibitions, as properly as participate in in community orchestras.

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In 2009 I resolved to study A-stage art component-time, which is when I started to take a look at the connections concerning music and art. A several decades later on, right after 20 years in my preceding career, I left that behind to focus on my artwork. I threw myself into learning Foundation Art and Structure for a year, which enabled me to experiment with connecting my synaesthesia, my musical history, and my artwork. After a few of yrs of creating my apply on my personal, I studied portion-time for a observe-centered MA in High-quality Artwork, which offered a framework to fully grasp what is most critical to me in my apply: my own activities of synaesthesia and of enjoying and listening to new music, and the procedures I use to make my work.

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Your work is closely tied to your practical experience of synaesthesia when listening to songs.  How do the appears translate into colors and styles, is it fairly literal to you or do you get some thing distinct from every single distinct piece of songs?

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The colors I perceive are often the same for specific notes of the musical scale and they are the starting up stage for my artworks. What I ‘see’ is complicated to describe in words (numerous synaesthetes obtain it challenging to explain their encounters) but could be explained as fleeting perceptions of vivid colours in my mind’s eye. I never contemplate my synaesthesia to be a ‘condition’, somewhat an ‘addition’ to my daily daily life. The patterns and shapes in my operate are not literal reproductions of my ordeals I attract on my musical track record and use the particular colors I perceive as the stimulus for my artworks in reaction to particular parts of new music. I am usually motivated by the audio I am rehearsing/performing, as very well as the broad range of music I listen to, or music picked by a consumer for a fee.

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The course of action I utilize to acquire and produce the function tends to include two methods of doing the job, which I refer to as expressive and geometric. The expressive operates are spontaneous, involving listening to the music and putting down paint in the colors perceived, layering the diverse colored marks and/or manipulating the paint on the surface area in response to the condition or truly feel of the songs. In contrast, the geometric functions can acquire weeks or months to build by means of drawings and sketches right before remaining executed as a ultimate painting. These translational paintings use the colors I understand in geometric designs representing excerpts or melodies from the written new music. Recently my geometric performs (these types of as the two Mahler paintings in my Cass Art exhibition) have been checking out the visual interweaving of two or more musical themes.

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You have claimed your work is very a great deal process-driven, but are there any artists or movements that you have located to be an influence on your artwork observe?

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It was a painting by Wassily Kandinsky (also considered to have been a synaesthete) that to start with sparked my desire in exploring the connections involving music and art: he painted Perception III (Concert) in 1911 as his reaction to listening to a concert of new music by the composer Arnold Schoenberg. It was this research through my A-degree scientific tests which aided me to realize that my activities were being synaesthesia, and to begin to put down the colors I understand in paint and determine my musical colour scale. I think in the early phases of creating my apply, lots of early 20th century artists affected my get the job done, including Kandinsky, Paul Klee (also a violinist), and the Australian artist Roy de Maistre (who experimented with translating overall pieces of songs into color from 1919 onwards). Pondering about far more modern day artists, Bridget Riley’s sequences of colored stripes, and the substantial, colourful paintings of the late John Hoyland (also born in Sheffield!) have extra normally motivated my paintings. Gerhard Richter’s geometric designs of colored squares, as effectively as his manipulation of paint on a surface, have also affected both of my techniques of doing the job – in the same way, I never experience I want to prohibit myself to only doing work in one way, I tend to change involving the two for periods of time.

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What types of components would you say are integral to your operate?

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I use precise paint colors, generally straight from the tube to keep them cleanse and vivid – my perceptions of colour are vibrant, so I try out to reproduce the colors as closely as probable and restrict utilizing the duller colours of blended paint. A single color I understand I would explain as a shimmering red-brown, so soon after considerably experimentation, I settled on utilizing copper paint to symbolize that observe. I mainly use Liquitex paints, as they can offer me with the array of precise colours I need to have – my go-to paint is Soft Overall body, but I have also made use of their Spray Paint, Acrylic Ink, and Acrylic Gouache, as effectively as a variety of their Professional mediums to make the regularity and translucency/opacity I want for different items. When doing work on canvas, durable stretcher bars are vital – the Cass Artwork stretcher bars get the job done effectively for me, appear in a vast range of measurements, are uncomplicated to set together and are solid plenty of not to warp, which is very important for my geometric function!

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Your murals for the Artwork on the Network competition are an iconic section of the Merseyside landscape.  What is it like to have your function as a everlasting general public artwork set up?

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I was a little bit confused when I gained the competition! It was all through my component-time A-amount scientific studies, right before I’d taken the plunge to depart my earlier job. My electronic types were made use of by the business who manufactured all the panels for the tunnel refurbishment project they display screen-printed and fired the colors in vitreous enamel onto the stainless-steel supports. They had been installed above 10 many years ago but really should previous a lengthy time. My original Liverpool Composition and Wirral Composition paintings are, understandably, not for sale, but are continue to available as minimal-edition prints. I are living on the Liverpool aspect of the Mersey, but have numerous connections to Wirral, significantly via new music, so I get to vacation previous my artwork quite consistently! 

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Last but not least, what is in retailer for you for the rest of 2022? Just about anything you can enable us in on?

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In Oct, I will be Artist in Home for the Wirral Arts Pageant 2022. I’ll be operating with an orchestra and some other musical groups who are accomplishing at the pageant, producing artwork in response to some of the parts they system to participate in in their live shows and then exhibiting the finished paintings at the live shows. In fact, some of the is effective on paper in my latest exhibition at Cass Artwork Liverpool were made in the course of last year’s festival.

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In any other case, I am written content to be mostly building new work this year, reflecting on and continuing from thoughts that arose from my 6-week solo exhibition and residency challenge in an artist-led place in Liverpool final summer. I am also setting up to glance to some probable exhibition possibilities in 2023 and 2024. There are constantly team exhibitions to use for throughout the yr, so I’ll see what else will come up!

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Emotion Motivated?

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Ali’s exhibition ‘Musicals to Mahler’ is at Cass Art Liverpool until 17th June 2022.  You can see extra of Ali’s perform on her website alibarker.com  Be confident to stick to her on Fb and Instagram @alibarkerart

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