Daisy Parris is an artist who finds her voice smeared across city pavements. A violent crescendo of filth and blood, fine-tuned by the silence of existential exploration. Daisy takes the violence of the world and tames it, transforming it into something sublime, something screaming
I LIKE MYSELF
Disquiet is tangible in her work, and Daisy aims to tell a generation trapped in a prism of anxiety that it’s okay not to be okay. “I want to give the message that it’s alright to express emotions and be struggling and to remember to check that people are ok.” The authentic sense of clarity that Daisy’s work offers stems from an artist who uses art like therapy. “I feel like starting from my own experience is key for some of my work, especially my text-based pieces but really I’m most interested in the human condition and relating to other people. No matter where my work is coming from I would hope that some people could see it and relate to something. Making work helps me process my daily experiences and have an outlet for them. If I didn't paint I would be so overwhelmed; everything I had ever felt or seen would just be floating round my head.” In using her art as a method for absorbing her experiences, she creates a symbiosis of repugnance and beauty which can only be replicated in human existence.
“If I didn't paint I would be so overwhelmed; everything I had ever felt or seen would just be floating round my head.”
Experimental confidence facilitates the fusion of silence and noise in Daisy’s work. “Mostly I use oil paint because it’s so luscious and thick. You can be so heavy handed with it or completely gentle. I use raw unprimed canvas because it creates friction with the oil paint. Lately I’ve been using a lot of mixed media and experimenting. I use emulsion paint for fast coverage of surfaces. When mixed with oil paint the two repel each other and the oil seeps out into the emulsion paint which makes the painting look super dirty which I’m into. I like the material and practical quality of paint to be inherent in my work. I use oil pastels for softer hints of colour and oil stick for bold mark making. I’ve figured out ways of using paint to get a contrast and balance of extremes within my work. Sometimes I use brush strokes with as little paint as possible, dragging the paint across the canvas as far as it will go, creating a soft blurred effect. I contrast that with thick, bold, saturated brush strokes, creating a jarring energy between textures.”
In her paintings, Daisy assaults language with the same disregard for convention that inspires her to mingle oils with emulsion on canvas. Words play a vital role in her work, giving the paintings a sense of aggravated poetry. “Language and handwriting has always interested me. I used to be really interested in handwriting in films and wonder how they decide what a character’s handwriting is gonna look like. I remember changing my handwriting every week at school, as though it had some effect on the way I was perceived as a person. Like as you’re finding yourself you change your handwriting to suit the mood. The way something is written can sway how the words are received. Music and film have always inspired my work a lot.”
A sense of the existential is a tone that has flavored Daisy’s work, and has been refined and matured through life experience. When Daisy talks about her time studying at Goldsmiths University, a sense of an artist raring to break free of the restraints that education provides emerges. “My education helped me realise I wanna make art every day. The best part was having access to a studio at college and university every day. I’m not very good at speaking about my work in front of people, so I struggled with that a lot and it made me very wary of the institution’s aggressive, or impatient way of dealing with this; often in a way that hinders creativity rather than encouraging it. I worry about all the students who may listen to their tutors counterproductive criticisms. But you just gotta keep making what you need to make. It helped me realise what I like and what I don’t like. I feel like I’m in my element now; working in my own time, alone in my studio.”
“When mixed with oil paint the two repel each other and the oil seeps out into the emulsion paint which makes the painting look super dirty which I’m into.”
To experience Daisy’s artwork is to experience a moment caught in time. A moment of existing in the fragile space that is an artist exploring her own place in the world. “In painting I can channel emotion from days or even years ago. So there’s always a specific place I can go to. I don’t really plan anything. Even if I have words or a vision in mind of what I want the painting to be, it’s always an organic process where each brush stroke and colour used informs the next move I make. The process of painting is really cathartic for me.”
A prominent influence in Daisy’s paintings is the violence which surrounds her living in London. She hones this focus down to a preoccupation with blood left on the street, weaving haunting narrations which form the backbone of her work. “When I moved to London I definitely saw blood on the street a lot. I started to notice it more and decided to photograph blood every time I saw it and began to make work about it. I’m always intrigued by who the blood belongs to, how the blood got there, (was it through violence, an accident or maybe just a nose bleed), how long it’s been there for, has anyone else noticed it? All of these things go through my head because blood is really precious and seeing it on the streets is really scary actually; it conjures up this fear in me but at the same time I’m completely fascinated. And nowadays it’s quite normal to see blood and violence on the streets in everyday life so I’m sort of interested in the desensitisation of violence and how it doesn’t really affect people anymore cos we’re exposed to it all the time.”
Daisy is the kind of artist fierce enough to fabricate the kind of gal gang you wish could be your feminist #squadgoals. “Ugly Bitch Club started as a fantasy punk band reclaiming the fact that I am an ugly bitch and so what. But now it’s more of a DIY feminist fantasy club or a state of mind where you support your friends and local artists. If you’re feminist and hardworking and are putting out good energy then you can join the club. It’s really important for girls to stick together and to do it ourselves. DIY attitude is really important to me, cos no one else is gonna do it for ya.” Daisy doesn’t only strive to pave the way for her peers in her own fantasy space, but also addresses a very real imbalance in the industry, which leaves a void in the representations of life that we see framed in comfortable galleries. “I do feel one step behind my male contemporaries in art sometimes. I really support them of course but it just makes me determined to work twice as hard to get to where I need to be. It’s like that everywhere unfortunately; in art, music, science, tattooing, film, sport. In my job as a chef I was experiencing this a lot so that was a big influence on my work at the time. Things are slowly changing but there’s a long way to go. I wanna see girls and queers everywhere in every gallery but it’s all male dominated. The number of girls getting shows and solo shows is minimal compared to the boys. I’m really doing this for the girls and the queers.”
“I’m really doing this for the girls and the queers.”
Moosey Art are stocking a limited edition print of her piece ‘I LIKE MYSELF’, which boldly shouts the underused sentiment into the subconscious. The smeared oil is a hopeful declaration: the winning side of a battle. “This print originally started off as a diptych, oil paint on paper. On one side of the work it said ‘I like myself’ and the other it said ‘I hate myself’. I think everyone is going through this push and pull of liking yourself one minute and hating yourself the next. I struggle with that a lot. I’m tryna put out some positive energy this year so it seemed fitting to go with ‘I like myself’ for the print. The way I paint text is almost impulsive, as though I had to capture this in the moment because the feeling of liking myself isn’t gonna last long. And even though it’s written so bold and aggressively, it still has some doubt behind it. The screen prints are hand finished with my signature aggressive scribbles to bring some colour back in.”
Catch this piece hanging on the Moosey site and give your inner Ugly Bitch space to hang.
Words By Meg Ellis