The Formation of Creation: We Enter the Textural World of Ebony Manderson's Imagined Landscapes

The Formation of Mountains, 2016 | Mixed media on wood | 129 x 57 cm | £600

Focus LDN Director meets South London artist Ebony Manderson to discuss her artwork, techniques and inspirations in the build up to the Spring Collection. 

When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in art, cartoons and drawings. I did my A Level in Art and would do oil paintings and still life’s, I was too young at the time to do a foundation so I did craft and I mixed my techniques with craft and print. Then I went on to do a BA in surface design which is like decoration really, plate decoration, textiles, and paper decoration for wrapping.

What have you been up to since the BA?

It has been up and down with my art; I started to go down the design route, then tried working freelance and I slowly came back to art as a hobby and started painting again.

Let’s talk about your paintings.

The subject matter is the formation of creation. When I did my degree I had to look at textures and patterns and I found inspiration in landscape textures. I became really obsessed with Iceland, even though I had never been, and I used to buy loads of books and look at the ice. This is where I get my inspiration from, I like to daydream a lot and imagine that I am flying over and see these landscapes.

I can very much see that! How do you go about creating these surfaces, they are very textured aren’t they?

I don’t really have a technique as such and I don’t really use sketchbooks. My progression is through practice and trying things out, trial and error, so that is my technique I suppose. I tend to look at pictures and work from memory, working each section as I progress.

The Rising Magma, 2016

Mixed media on wood | 107 x 107 cm | £800

Why create art?

I have always created it and I wanted to follow on a career in art at first, but I was advised to go more on the design route. Now I see that art has become more of a possibility and more ingrained, because everyone likes to buy art for their homes to look at and appreciate, which has made it a bit easier.

So you think culturally there has been a shift in the way that people think about buying art so that has made the career more possible?

Yes, people are looking at art as an investment or art to beautify their home. I think because of digital media people are also coming back to a more traditional senses of aesthetics.

What would you say was the most pivotal moment in your art career so far?

When I was going through the design route, I was using the same techniques to create my work - I was doing the art then scanning it and developing it for fashion and textiles. I had a lot of interest in textiles and a few designers were quite keen. Though I think just to have the opportunity for people to look at my work and enjoy it is an achievement to me.

What do you hope for the future?

I would like to open a small art gallery, that has always been my dream to do in the back of my mind which is burning me.

Are you excited to be in the spring collection?

I am very happy, and very excited.

Any tips for new graduates?

You have to be resilient, that is number one. If you get a few negatives you have to override them, you have to look at the criticism and see where you can improve, and always be at the top of your game.

Ebony will be exhibiting paintings from her series The Formation of Creation in our Spring Collection at The Menier Gallery 28th Feb - 4th March.

For a ticket to our private view click here.