Andrea Blood of The Girls Pt 2November 29, 2015
Andrea Blood is half of the fantastic artist duo The Girls. Here she talks feminism and lobsters! See Part One of our interview here:
Andrea Blood – Talking feminism and lobsters!
About making the work
Genevieve Jones: Do you hand make your costumes and props or use existing objects or a combination of the two? Do you collect objects and materials with the feeling that they’ll come in handy one day for a project?
Andrea Blood: A combination of the two usually. Zerelda is very good at sourcing base garments and fabrics and I’m good at putting them together, embellishing them and making them work for our needs. Some costumes are completely made from scratch, like the ‘Care Bear’ costumes. Those were completely freestyle, even the belly pictures.
But since it’s become quite easy to source unique stuff via the internet I’ve stopped hoarding stuff on the basis that it might one day be useful. It’s freed up a lot of my time plus wardrobe and head space!
GJ: Do you have a very specific look in mind or does it change as you go along?
AB: I start with a very strong idea of what I want to create. Once that is completed I live with it for a few days to reflect and add further elements if necessary. Some costumes have been worked on again and again after each performance. What can I say? I’m a tweaker.
GJ: Do you keep costumes and props or do they get recycled into new projects? Is your home full of wonderful details from your work you couldn’t bear to part with?
We have a lock up, plus lofts, and parents/siblings lofts. Actually we’re having a clear out soon which will be a big relief.
GJ: How do you feel about Photoshop in your photographic works, do you add things in and touch things up by computer?
AB: We use Photoshop sometimes if we think it helps make the image more readable. But all the important elements are in camera. I’m a bit low-tech when it comes to computer skills, I’d always much rather cut and paste pictures. Our 1980’s inspired photo-story magazine The PaperEaters, developed as part of our residency in Selfridges in 2010 and in collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, was completely created by hand, hence the limited run!
About Diamonds and Toads
GJ: My interpretation, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that it’s quite a feminist work about idealized women both in fairy-tales and in art. Although as a viewer you are invited to assume the male gaze and peer at the details of your tableaux, it’s quite hard to do this when the female model in the picture stares back at you! Can you tell me about the work?
AB: It is a feminist piece, we are exploring the ever-present notion of ideal femininity as this utterly passive & mute thing; valued and worshiped for physical beauty alone. It’s a visual statement on how society and the media regulate women. Our only challenge to the viewer’s scrutiny is our piercing gaze right back at them. I hope the piece evokes other feelings in people too, but I don’t want to be too prescriptive as to what people should think. Part of the enjoyment for me is to hear and see the range of people reactions. We performed the piece at the 2013 Venice Biennial, and the crowd were very emotional and some very vocal. They couldn’t read any of the blurb in English telling them what it was about; they were just responding on an instinctual level. Great!!
GJ: I bet everyone asks you this, but is it hard to stay still for so long? And do you pick out people in the crowd to stare at particularly?
AB: If someone is really taking the time to engage with the work then I like to catch their eye and follow them around the piece and hopefully make a connection with them. If I get that time with someone I really try and give a lot of myself through my eyes alone. It can be a very intimate moment. I had some really moving experiences during our last show in London at the Chelsea Arts Theatre as part of the Sacred performance festival, this again was curated by the Live Art Development Agency (London) as part of the Just Like a Woman programme. They were a very thoughtful and respectful crowd who really seemed to get the piece on many levels.
About The Future
GJ: In the past you have done live performances, on site residencies, community pageants and photography, and have worked closely with your artistic partner, Zerelda Sinclair. Where do you see your future practice headed towards?
AB: The world is our lobster! We have known each other since we were 16 years old and have worked exclusively together since 20…that’s almost 20 years! Albeit with a few gaps in between. As we have aged the need to make work exclusively together has lessened, in that we want to be open to explore whatever possibilities come our way. Be that together or apart. So I see the future as continuing to work together on new projects but also developing our own artistic works independently and with other collaborators too. Exciting times!
GJ: What is your favourite colour?
AB: Obviously that has to be red. The colour of Blood!
You can find The Girls website, with details of upcoming shows and more images and videos at www.thegirls.co.uk
You can read part 1 here: