MEET THE ARTIST - KIRSTY BROOKS
This weekend will see local artists exhibiting their work as part of the Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail. The purpose of the trail is to promote high quality visual arts in the area. Artists are delighted to meet with the public and this is an informal and convivial way for artist and public to meet. Here's a glimpse into the work of Kirsty Brooks who will be exhibiting from 13 Oaken Grove, Maidenhead SL6 6HL.
I create large-scale commissioned artworks for buildings and landscapes. These are site-specific and often in public spaces. I spend a lot of time carrying out research in archives to refer to the history of a location, exploring narratives which reinforce a sense of place. I work mostly with glass but have recently designed some sculptural concrete benches and often combine glass with other materials such as metal and wood. Most projects start with a collage process and photography - both my own and found images. I layer images together digitally before they are screen-printed and fired onto flat sheets of glass using a specialist enamel.
I helped set the trail up six years ago and have exhibited every year since then. This will be our sixth year.
I enjoy sharing my work with other people and hearing their responses. They often tell me stories about interesting artworks they've seen around the world or share insights concerning their own work. It's also a chance to demystify the creative process for people and show them where ideas come from and what artists do in their studios. The side effect of clearing your studio out for the public is you can also take stock of what you've done in the last year and make connections and discoveries about your work that you might not have noticed before. We set the trail up to provide an interesting event which enables people to explore art according to their interests and to connect artists and the public directly. I enjoy that connection and I get a local perspective from my home town on work I do in different parts of Britain. A conversation about the Maidenhead's regeneration often crops up and it's interesting to connect with the people around you through art and passionate opinions.
I've been creating some design proposals for The Landing development in Maidenhead and I was able to draw on the history of Cooper's Brickworks in Pinkneys Green. Through my walks on the old site and through archive research, I created a series of metal grid designs and colour palettes which are directly inspired by the products made and sold at the brickworks.
I created a 15m long glass and metal sculpture for St John's College Oxford which responded to the first two hundred years' history of the college. The corridor artwork took two years to complete and is internally lit with carefully embedded LEDs. Given the uninterrupted time and budget to develop this artwork, I was able to properly immerse myself in the creative process and respond to the multiple challenges that cropped up. Given the exacting clients, I enjoyed the discipline of getting all the details right and creating something that was designed to last for hundreds of years and be viewed by thousands of people.
I will be showing samples and preparatory work for recent commissions I have been undertaking around Britain: glass balustrades outside a Plymouth cinema based on Hollywood stars related to Mayflower pilgrims; designs for glass screens next to the Bargate in Southampton; an evolving series of artworks for a new village on a disused American airbase North of Oxford.
You'll have the chance to meet Kirsty and view her work during the Cookham & Maidenhead Art Trail taking place 14 & 15 September. Kirsty is exhibiting from 13 Oaken Grove, Maidenhead SL6 6HL.
Download your trail map here