Naomi Ryder: Art that inspires

Naomi Ryder: Art that inspires

Illustrator and textile designer Naomi Ryder uses freehand machine embroideryprint and ‘drawing with stitch’ to create exquisite pieces of contemporary textile art reflecting everyday life. She is currently working on two new card and bone china ranges for sale in shops next year. 2016 also sees the opening of Naomi and her partner’s new homewares store called ‘Depot’ selling Naomi’s work in Deptford.

‘Art that inspires’ is a brand new series for, in which established textile practitioners discuss artists and pieces that have been influential in their own creative journey. Here Naomi Ryder talks about some of her favourite pieces and tells us why they are so special to her.

Purple Velvet Bathrobes, Beverly Semmes, 1991

Purple Velvet Bathrobes, Beverly Semmes, 1991

Purple Velvet Bathrobes

Artist: Beverly Semmes
Year: 1991

Naomi Ryder: I first discovered the work of Beverly Semmes in Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990’s. Her work was being shown at the Museum of Modern Art at the time but the piece I mostly remember were robes made of purple velvet. The colour purple was similar to the inner packet of a bar of Cadburys chocolate (conjures up good feelings for me) and also has a luxurious feel about it. The lengths of the robes flowed down onto the floor and the velvet dripped onto the floor looking like a Shar- Pei dogs face. It looked like silk/ velvet, which is a fabric that would be super soft to touch, enhancing the feeling of luxury.

I studied embroidery for my BA textiles degree and was always conscious of the subject having a label attached to it of being called traditionally ‘feminine’, which at times I had inner turmoil about.  I think the fact that they were ordinary dresses turned into surreal pieces by the sheer length of the gowns was what was extremely relatable yet compelling. It wasn’t the first time I had seen fabric/ textiles in an Art setting but seeing Beverly Semmes’s work was one of the first times for me that a piece of work could feel so strong, feminist yet sexual combined with being aesthetically beautiful.

I hold the same feelings of excitement when I see images of her work today. It has been many years since I have seen her work live and I would love to see it live again.

If I can take anything from her work that has inspired me I would say it is the simplicity of idea and my desire for symmetrical composition.

The Red Scarf (Ada in Polo coat), Alex Katz, 1976

The Red Scarf (Ada in Polo coat), Alex Katz, 1976

The Red Scarf (Ada in Polo Coat)

Artist: Alex Katz
Year: 1976

Alex Katz came along in my life at the right time for me. I was beginning to realize that I loved looking at people, observing what they were doing, their body position, what they were wearing and think about how I would sketch them.

I find Alex Katz’s work eternally fascinating because he manages to paint friends/sitters and manages to capture their character, clothing and mood in a simple and graphic fashion. Katz’s work may appear graphic and simple but to me they don’t seem stylized, I feel they just give as much information as is needed. They are large in scale and painted in oils. The backgrounds vary from blocks of colour to pattern and backgrounds that are full of life.

Alex’s work has made me consider my own portraits about scale, using more colour in my work as well as varying my backgrounds more.

It is also the style of the people he paints that I find fascinating. I have a great love of clothes and his sitters are very stylish, some from the late 60’s and 70’s look like they walked straight out of a Pulp video or an architects office. Most importantly he manages to capture his life around him and very much a moment in time or capturing social history. This is what I would like to consider more when I am sketching people; capture the style and mood of the time.

Untitled Film Still No.3, Cindy Sherman, 1977, black and white photograph 40.6 x 50.8 cm

Untitled Film Still No.3, Cindy Sherman, 1977

Untitled Film Still No.3

Artist: Cindy Sherman
Year: 1977
Size of Piece: 40.6 x 50.8 cm

I failed all O Levels at school apart from Art and went to do well at a new college at age 16 in Photography. My photography teacher was most passionate and gave me a great introduction into the medium. I knew at the time that I loved dressing up and trying different styles and loved playing with this in photography with pattern, shape and composition. Cindy Sherman being a woman in what felt like a mans art world at the time (early 1990’s) stood out for me as not only unique but her being so determined and clear in her vision as an artist felt new and inspiring to me. I still think she stands alone in her medium/ vision.  Her portraits can be disturbing, beautiful and occasionally humorous but what I love is her ability to create characters that feels like you recognize, it is her film stills, which appeal to me the most. Sherman hasn’t directly inspired my work but without her feminist art history would not be the same.

No Returns, George Shaw, 2009, humbrol enamel on board

No Returns, George Shaw, 2009

No Returns

Artist: George Shaw
Year: 2009
Materials used: Humbrol enamel on board

It is the familiarity of George Shaw’s work that means something very personal to me. I get the same familiar feeling with Shaw’s painting when I am watching Shane Meadows ‘This is England’, possibly because we are of similar age and growing up in the Midlands (Shaw is from Coventry and Meadows work is based in Nottingham). It is a confusing feeling as it’s a combination of feeling depressed at the reality of the past/ how we live/ where I am from but mostly the reality of them just makes me smile.

I first came into contact with George Shaw’s work when he was nominated for the Turner prize in 2011. George Shaw’s paintings can be realistic in nature but it was the subject matter, a garage, bus stops or some sheds for which I enjoyed the normality of. As a visual artist sometimes we omit the broken windows and mud on the ground and I the realism and the fact he doesn’t hide these things I find enjoyable to a certain extent. It may have been around the same time that I began to give my own work more detail.

Colours of his works can be greys, browns but some of the paintings can have beautiful light as well as a stunning aqua or blue colour as part of the composition. To paint with he uses enamel paints that are used to paint airfix planes which made me laugh because it feels very old fashioned and also very English and it makes me feel sweetly sentimental.

Woldgate, 6–7 February, from The Arrival of Spring in 2013, David Hockney

Woldgate, 6–7 February, from The Arrival of Spring in 2013, David Hockney. Photo Richard Schmit.

Woldgate, 6–7 February

Artist: David Hockney
Name of Piece: Woldgate, 6–7 February, from The Arrival of Spring in 2013
Year: 2013
Materials used: Charcoal on paper.
Size of piece: 22 5/8 x 30 1/4 cm
Notable exhibitions: ‘A Bigger Picture’ at the Royal Academy

There are a large number of David Hockney’s pieces that have affected my work in a positive way but most recently it was his woods series at Woldgate. The piece that struck me was placed in the centerfold of the Guardian newspaper in the same year as his ‘A Bigger Picture’ exhibition at the Royal Academy. I took it out and have had it on my wall at work ever since. It has no colour to distract and I think this is why I absolutely love the mark making in this piece. I feel that the lack of colour helps the viewer to really see what is happening in the picture and allows you to see it more clearly.

In this image Hockney uses charcoal as a medium. It was part of a collection of 25 drawings about ‘the arrival of spring in 2013’. Hockney so cleverly and beautifully sketches the woods and you really feel like you know each and every one of the trees or feel like have been there yourself. With these he enlarged them to four times their original size on the digital printer. I also love the fact that at this time he was also doing drawings on the ipad. I myself enjoy playing with technology combining them with traditional techniques therefore I can relate to this experimentation.

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Saturday 09th, December 2023 / 02:04

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One comment on “Naomi Ryder: Art that inspires”

  1. Vicki says:

    I’m so glad I found my soltoiun online.

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