ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: NAOMI FERNE

Hey! Tell us a little about yourself, what's your name? what do you do? Where are you from?

Hey my names Naomi. Im a dancer, photographer and multidisciplinary artist born in Cardiff, Wales, living and working in London for the past 6 years. 

Some people stick to one discipline and excel at it, but I’ve found that having many outputs of creativity works in my favour, and keeps things exciting.

 

What have you been up to during lockdown?

I’d love to give a huge list of amazing things but honestly, not much.

My lockdown started with me re doing my dance showreel, re-editing old shoots, revamping my website and making lists of things to get done, but that list haha.. didn’t quite happen.

Lockdown for me has been mostly lots of cooking, relaxing, research, watching documentaries and probably way too much Netflix. Ive found it quite difficult to stay creative and inspired during this time, but I’ve also also allowed myself to not feel guilty for that. Last year was a pretty busy and hectic year for me so the break has been nice!

Ive still been able to do some freelance graphic design work from my laptop which has been great!

Do you think it's important to be multidisciplinary? What are the benefits of being involved in more than one art form?

For me yeah! But I don’t think its necessary for everyone. Whatever’s gonna feel most fulfilling and help you be most creative.

Some people stick to one discipline and excel at it, but I’ve found that having many outputs of creativity works in my favour, and keeps things exciting.

I stumbled into photography quite organically whilst studying graphic communication design at Central Saint Martins.
In my second year I was set a self directed brief, and it was at this point I was able to completely tune into who I was as an artist, what I love to do and how I want to communicate my ideas.

My subjects for almost all of my personal projects were dancers, and I decided the best way to present my projects at the time was photography and film. This was the first time I let my art forms cross over and I finally understood I could bring both of my passions together – my love for capturing others began then.

The course I was on was all about communication and figuring out how to properly present an idea to an audience. My processes across 4 years involved printmaking, publication, illustration, moving image, web design and more.

The benefits of learning multiple art forms definitely helped my work excel and helped me understand the unlimited choices I have when approaching an idea.

Now when I shoot I always have audience in mind, my subject, what I’m trying to communicate and how I want to make people feel when they see my work. I think my approach to shooting would be a lot different if I hadn’t been on this course learning a wide range of skills.

What do you shoot on? And why do you prefer film to digital?

I own a silly amount of film cameras and tend to switch between them depending on the shoot im doing and how I want the images to turn out. For the best part of a year I only shot on film, this was during my studies at CSM.

 I had unlimited access to the darkroom and a really cool tutor, who helped me understand how to work with film properly. I experimented a lot, failed a lot and got to play around with having complete control over how I wanted my images to look and feel. I started shooting on digital when I left uni and wanted to practice this art form more.

 Shooting film all the time was expensive so I knew I needed to figure out the whole digital world too. It also gave me a lot more freedom to play and experiment, without having to be so precious about each frame. I still prefer to shoot film over digital, I prefer the process and the look of film. I also love that shooting film makes me treat each shot I take with the utmost care. 

Have you got any exciting plans/projects coming up?

I’ve had a personal project in mind for a while now, spent some time before lockdown planning it all out and I’m excited to bring it to life some time soon. It fuses all passions together, my upbringing, issues I feel strongly about and ideas for the future. 

It’s a project that will mean a lot to me and I plan on having the work showcased in a whole range of formats and presented in an exhibition setting.

Most of my work at the moment is viewed online and through a phone, so I’m really looking forward to producing work that can be seen in person.

As someone who crossed over into a different art form, what advice would you give others wanting to do the same?

Do what makes you feel most alive! Don’t force anything, let things happen naturally, and be kind to yourself when starting new journeys of self expression. 

I found my true self through dance first, then discovered I had a voice through other forms of communication like photography. And honestly I believe both are working well because my focus gets to shift between both and I don’t put any pressure on either, I just do what makes me most happy.

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