Posted: 07.04.20 at 09:23 by The Editor
An artist from Frome has been shortlisted as Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020: by creating art in a form she has only recently taken up - for piece she calls "Not sweet."
Frome artist Violet Von Riot has found acclaim in an unusual way with a collage she herself describes as " Not nice and fluffy.. but intimidating."
Violet used to paint portraits, mainly of people, sometimes animals, but then got to thinking about how to represent the relationship between those people and their pets.
Violet explained: " I kept thinking how it would be just incredible to find a way to show an artistic interpretation of the relationship between whoever had requested the portrait, and the subject. It struck me that for people wanting a pet portrait, it was more than an image they were after.
Remarkably she had never even tried collage and so made an online appeal for a couple of images to try.
Violet said: " I was inundated with hundreds, I explained they might turn out just terribly and picked my favourite two, and from that point I've barely had a day where I've not been collaging."
Now her work, specifically her representation of a wasp, has been shortlisted for the award.
Since leaving her day job in October 2019, Violet has collaged full time,with commissioned pieces of much-loved family pets, dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, even ferrets and chickens.
The entry to the wildlife competition came about by accident.
Violet explained: "A very talented photographer, Allan Jackson had taken a series of nature images, and I contacted him to ask if I could use one of his photographs as a reference, which is when he sent me his image of the wasp.
"Initially, I was interested in a woodland creature, such as a squirrel, but this photo, so out of the blue, so bold and so striking just couldn't be ignored. It was my first piece that wasn't fluffy or sweet. I toyed with the idea of a plain background, but it became clear I should create the background with faces, I don't know why, it was something that just felt right and seemed to fit, and was another of those ideas that just wouldn't go away.
"I went through hundreds of magazines, getting the right faces, putting them next to others and thinking how strange that they would never know these other people in which they were linked to for always. Some pictures I tore and separated groups up, because there is something quite menacing about the image. It isn't nice, its not that its NOT nice, it just isn't nice, its intimidating, there is an element of threat and unease to it, which didn't hold itself to smiling groups. "
The shortlisted pieces are set to be exhibited in the Mall Galleries, London, from May 26 until May 31 - although that might be affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
As Violet said: " It is my first piece that people have commented on online to say frightened them, or gave them a cold shiver, and I really love that it can create that reaction of being both beautiful and unpleasant in a very natural, yet unnatural way."