Tinsel Edwards is a London based artist and co-founder of A-side B-side, a new gallery, artist studios and project space in Hackney Downs.
Her work comments on a wide variety of contemporary social and political issues. Often using text, her paintings are littered with action statements, personal mottos, questions and anecdotes.
She has exhibited widely across the UK and beyond, solo and duo shows include The Pure Evil Gallery in London, Steal from Work in Bristol, and Artport in Berlin. Selected group shows include FLAGSTOP Art Fair and Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art in LA, Banksy’s Santas Ghetto, The Stella Dore Gallery, Multiplied Christie’s Artfair, Printclub London, Momac Gloucester, Jenaer Kunstverein in Gerrmany, The Pursuit of Happiness in Poland, and Light Sentence in Augsberg Germany. Tinsel’s curatorial projects include ‘Punk’, a large scale group show which toured to Hamburg and ‘Here Today’, and ‘Something Borrowed’, exhibitions co-curated with long time friend and art collaborator Twinkle Troughton.
Tinsel’s art has been featured by Metro Newspaper, Dazed and Confused, Pop, Amelia’s, Zeitgeist magazine, Art Rebels and El Pais in Spain amongst others.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I love painting. I can’t think of anything I would rather do, than spend a day in my studio working on a piece. I also really enjoy exhibiting my work, the different places you discover and people you meet through doing so. There are many different aspects to my work as an artist, curating shows, running creative workshops, teaching art classes. I really enjoy all of them but the thing I love most is the painting process and creating the work.
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
There are so many, and I often go through phases of being inspired by different artists at different times. Billy Childish for his prolific and unwavering creative soul, Bob and Roberta Smith for his humour, wit and simplicity, and for the fact he’s so straight to the point and honest. Tracey Emin for her brutal honesty, Frida Kahlo for her exquisite and intimate painting style. Grayson Perry for his integrity and depth, Alice Neel because her beautiful paintings have so much emotion and humanity, and because she stuck to her guns as a portrait artist whilst everyone around her became pop artists. There are loads more…at the moment I am really inspired by a handful of painters and fascinated with different painting techniques.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Before I left art school, I was expecting that things would all fall into place: I would start selling work, a gallery would represent me and I would be painting everyday in a lovely studio somewhere. It was quite a shock when things didn’t turn out that way. It is really tough, but over time I’ve learnt to be resourceful, juggling different jobs to pay the bills but always ensuring that I have some time to paint. I learnt quickly that Doing It Yourself is the best attitude to have, if established galleries don’t want to represent your work then create and curate your own exhibitions. Its not about fitting into the established order of things but about making your own way. A piece of advice that would have really helped me would be being told that it wasn’t going to be easy, but be true to yourself and your ideas, find your own way to make things happen and enjoy the process.
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
For me it helps to be aware that creative blocks come and go, if I hit one I remind myself that I will come through it. If I really start hating my work I tell myself it means its time for a change. My top tips are to keep working, experiment, don’t be too precious (the bad paintings can go in the bin). Absorb everything, go to exhibitions, read, find new inspiration. Being an artist is like being on a journey, productive periods and creative blocks are all part of a bigger process of discovery.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I would always go for the orange suede stiletto with the 6 inch heel…or something similarly glamorous but completely impractical. Not sure if thats the type of shoe I would be, but its definitely the type of shoe that I like!