Bex Ilsley (@bexilsley) is an incredibly expressive artist from Manchester, UK. Her work is based around ideals and beliefs including self, technology, body, and many more relevant issues to present day time into future. KOIQOUISE got to ask Bex about her process, her work, and her life.
Read the Interview Below…
KQ: First question, for anyone new or viewing your artistry for the first time what message or concept do you want them to take away from your work?
BEX: My work is intended to be an exploration of how far my own persona is performative, using the lens of social media and the virtual plane to investigate that. I hope that there is something about living self-consciously under the gaze of others that is relatable to an audience, as well as something about feeling alien and protecting yourself under a flamboyant disguise, which turns out to be more authentic behaviour than trying to suppress those urges.
KQ: Is the creative process or the actual artistic process more difficult than the other? (Specifically to your art.)
BEX: I would say that, for me, actual manufacture is more difficult than finding inspiration and coming up with ideas. My ideas for images seem to spring up fully-formed in my mind more often than not, and from there, the labour is in trying to fund those ideas, to find locations, costume, equipment, to work out how to use new software… those things take time and money. Ideas don’t always come easily, but I think it is easier to put yourself in a place where inspiration is forthcoming – ie. making sure I’m always looking at other work, always reading and conversing and thinking – than it is to manifest something beautiful in your mind in a way that does it justice.
KQ: Who in your past or present has inspired you to be an artist and/or to accomplish the goals you have accomplished so far?
BEX: There are so many. I could list every creator I’ve ever had a great conversation with, to be honest! Each one reminds me why this is my passion. I have known since I could hold a pen that I wanted to be an artist, but the people who gave me the courage to pursue it would be my parents and friends, my tutors at university – particularly Jo Lansley – and my peers on that degree course that inspired me (Timothy Hodkinson and Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton in particular). My recent successes would not have happened without The Flaming Lips and the artists I’ve met through them – Oliver Hibert, Brooke Kelty and Natalie Wetzel deserve a big mention, as well as other favourite creatives of mine that I’ve had to pleasure of talking to in the last year – Nixi Killick, Corie Denby McGowan and Erik H Zepka just for starters.
KQ: You travel sometimes in your line of work, what is your favorite place you have ever been to?
BEX: By far my favourite experience was the week I spent in April on The Moon in Grand Rapids, Michigan with Natalie Wetzel, Mark Andrus and Bokeh Monster. The Moon is the most amazing creative space – they have everything there for video, photography, sculpture, music performance, events – it’s a dream for collaborative work and event-based transdisciplinary art. We spent the week doing photoshoots and collaborative video, we made sculpture, I performed for a life-drawing class… it was a life changing time and I can’t wait for the projects to be released. I want to spend my life in places like that.
KQ: What is your personal favorite piece of your own art you have created?
BEX: I’m very proud of my series Telepresences, because I had the visual ideas incubating for so long and the planning and learning it took to make them move in the way they do was probably the hardest I’ve worked on something. The same goes for my most recent work – Your Cities Will Shine Forever – because it contains virtual reality elements that I had to learn how to make as a beginner. My favourite pieces are the ones that took the most effort.
KQ: Last question, do you have any words for the viewers at KOIQOUISE?
BEX: Love yourself in the same way you love your friends. Remember we are our own worst critics. Find ways to pursue what you love on a daily basis – however small. Keep going.