I met Robyn Woolston at Petersfield station last August on the way to the Dark Mountain festival: a young woman with a wide smile, a big heart and, as it turns out, a massive amount of talent. We have connected mainly through Twitter, yet like all good conversations (whether virtual or face-to-face) this has developed from a sensed connection into a mutual admiration for each others creativity and calling. She liked my ‘psycho-bubble’ writing and I have enjoyed discovered her amazing video and installation artworks. In short, she’s a very, very talented artist who recently won the 2012 Liverpool Arts Prize! Most of all, however, Robyn is one of the most honest, generous and open people I’ve come across. Her pieces are organic, provocative and evocative and I’m not at all surprised she won!
This is how she described her work in the online magazine, Open:
“I work with waste products and emotions; the physical detritus that the industrialised society, banking and brands for example, would rather reject. Sometimes such ‘waste’ comes in the form of a vulnerable emotion, like grief, at other times it’s literal, like plastic. My drivers are ecological and my perspective is culturally ‘situated’ so I’m always trying to understand the push-and-pull between the two. To ‘renegotiate’ the boundaries between what a brand sells me and what the earth teaches me”.
Grief is an emotion that Robyn has been particularly open to. Her mum died recently and we’ve shared some mutual moments (my own mum is ill with Alzheimer’s and this faces me with a very particular type of loss). So as well as her prize winners, I’d recommend her TEDx Merseyside talk in which she shares thoughts about her practice - and it is as if, in those 16 short minutes, she dedicates her life and work to unflinchingly coming face-to-face with the world’s grief - and love.