I live in Cleethorpes – a seaside town in North East Lincolnshire, UK, which holds a population of around 30,000 people. The best summary I can give you of my feelings towards my neighbourhood is this: I’m nearly 30, I live with my parents and I want to shoot my next door neighbours 11 noisy children with a pellet gun.
A short while ago, I decided that making spreadsheets and answering phone calls probably wasn’t going to aid my career as a painter, so I moved away from London and in with my parents to save money and time: the dreaded yet common plight of the ‘Y generation’. Cleethorpes is a ramshackled, run-down sort of place. It’s not where I’d have chosen to live, nor where I grew up; but it is, for now, my corner of the world.
The paintings I am working on currently are about this ‘corner’ I occupy. I paint/draw/make obsessively, therefore, my work often reflects what is happening in my life at that particular moment in time. My overwhelming sense of Cleethorpes is that it is poor but in a way where it’s more successful history is still very evident. Our house sits directly in-between docklands and seaside resort – both not what they were in their respective heydays. As the economic and technological climate of the UK changed over past decades, this small part of the country became a neglected space.
However, whilst Cleethorpes tells a sad story in part, there is also a sense of nostalgia and frivolity imbued into the aesthetic of the still existing amusement arcades, rock shops and theme park. The portrayal of life in Cleethorpes encapsulates part of UK heritage in a way that incorpoartes sadness, complexity and commercialism but also nostalgia, colour and fun in to one picture. In essence, I am just telling a story from part of my life but what my story, or experience might mean on a larger scale correlates to the state of the UK in general, if not the world.
In terms of aesthetics, I have been interested for a while in finding out whether there is a movement currently afoot that follows on from the Super Flat method of painting: using heightened colour and merging elements of graphic design, consumerism and infantile imagery into one piece of work; though differing from Super Flat art in terms of painterly technique and content. In my own work I use this same method of distracting from a serious, banal, sinister or sad (in other words, sober) subject matter by beautifying the work. I have always loved finding the colour in life, so this is also a part of what I do.
See more paintings by Jennifer Maidment