#SpotlightOn: Peckhamite Abstract Artist Katrina Adams

September’s #SpotlightOn is bought to you by Marcela from @SESussed

‘When South East London Blog got in touch about working together I jumped at the chance.  I was already a big fan of Rosanna’s work and her blog was hugely informative, especially when I first started writing about the area myself. So I am thrilled to be collaborating with such a strong supporter of our local community and help her shine a light on some of the fantastic people we share SE London with.

I first noticed Katrina Adams’ work outside All SProfileaints Church in Peckham.  I was drawn to her choice of colour and use of shapes. It was beautiful, playful and deceptively simple, and it immediately made me want to know more.

Then I discovered her ‘Shaping Peckham’ mural at the Copeland Park building. It was created as part of the Peckham Festival and inspired by the area’s history, architecture and landmarks and I knew I was hooked.  Meeting Katrina made me want to write about her even more. I am now the proud owner of some of her art and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Since meeting her, Katrina has gone from strength to strength – with a piece of work shortlisted to be displayed as part of an outdoor gallery on the south side of Blackfriars Station (the ‘Constructors Gallery’), a new mural painted at Goose Green Primary, and more recently working on a future collaboration for a window installation for Urban Outfitters.’

‘Build’ Constructors Gallery, Blackfriars Station

Tell us a bit about what you do and why you do it?

I create bold and bright abstract art by screen-printing, painting walls and creating moving sculpture. Following the birth of my second child and then pregnant with my third I needed something to lose myself in that wasn’t work or about being a mother, so I took a part-time adult learning course in silk screen printing.  Having discovered and evolved my creative outlet, now four years on I haven’t looked back. My art keeps me grounded and my mental health in check so I’m delighted that my hobby is turning in to something more.

What attracts you to geometric shapes? How about your choice of colours?

All my designs incorporate bold shapes and colours.  They are seemingly simple yet are all carefully thought out having taken inspiration from my surroundings, whether it be architecture, history or landmarks.  The colours I use are bright, noticeable and uplifting, it’s important to me that the designs are playful so the colour choice process is important.


Which artwork are you most proud of and why?

This is tricky to answer as for the first time in my life I feel confident to shout about my achievements; I’m particularly proud of my first abstract screen print ‘Broken Black’ as it was the first piece where I felt that I had found my style.

The ‘Shaping Peckham’ community installation that I collaborated over with fellow artist Benjamin Johansen was a labour of love as we spent all summer sourcing, cutting, sanding and painting wooden shapes and the final piece was different yet better than I had imagined.

Finally, I can’t help but look at my murals and be proud of them particularly ‘Shaping Peckham’ which was my first and largest mural to date. The inspiration of abstracted shapes from Peckham is close to my heart but also a thank you to Peckham Festival for providing me with a platform by setting the challenge to design something to help celebrate the event.  I set myself the challenge to find a permanent location for the design and at the start of this year, Copeland Park provided me with space.  The mural is 20m x 8m and took me and ten other willing festival volunteers ten days to complete.

Shaping Peckham Project Mural, Copeland Park

What has been a seminal experience in your life?

Without question taking part in the first year of the Peckham Festival in 2016.  I’d tested my artwork out on audiences with Artists Open House previously, however, that was with other exhibitors and while I was still finding my style.  Thanks to a nudge from a friend (that had more confidence in me than myself), I got involved with the festival early on and this was my first opportunity to go solo in showing my work.  I was taken back by the positive response from visitors and more so when I sold out of prints.  I enjoyed being with other creatives for the weekend, meeting people and making new friends.  I was also overwhelmed by the support given to me by the friends that helped me to prepare and set up for the event and to those that all came out in full for the opening night and helped me to take it all down at the end of the weekend.  Those friends are still here and still willing to give a helping hand.  Taking part in the festival boosted my confidence and creativity and has no doubt led me further down my path.

How do you think art can help communities today?

Brexit and Conservative government cuts have hit the arts in a bad way, the latter, particularly within education.  Therefore, it’s more important for art to be recognised as a community benefit so that individuals from all backgrounds can have access to creativity.

Community links are constantly being formed with artists and at present, those links are becoming stronger within Southwark.  Each week there seem to be more opportunities for artists, whether it is an open call for artists submissions for community collaborative projects or recognition of the benefits of accessible art such as outdoor murals or artworks, music or movement in public locations. Accessible art can grasp individuals’ attention, tap into their emotions and allow them to form opinions and discuss the effects of art.

Any south east London artists that have caught your eye?

So many.  I particularly admire the work of Colin & Steven at Electric Pedals, they create human-powered installations, workshops and activities such as cinemas and collaborative illuminated art pieces.  I admire their creativity and enthusiasm for what they do.  I’m also slightly envious of their workshop, I may have to branch out into metal work sculptures purely so I can go and play with a blow torch.

Favourite south east London spot

It has to be the Bussey Building in Copeland Park, Peckham which is the location of my ‘Shaping Peckham’ mural and also happens to be where my new studio is. I’ve moved from working alone at my kitchen table to having a place to go to work and a community of people to work alongside. Initially, I anticipated a space to keep all my tools and materials however the studio has become more than that as I now have a divide between work and home life (more or less) and I get to network and down tools with other people.  Copeland Park is great in the summer, other residents sit outside the studios for lunch, people stop and talk and there is always an interesting event taking place or being set up.  Not to mention the two rooftop bars where you can admire the views of London.  Plus, being just off the middle of Rye Lane the location is perfect.   I’m a big fan of the £1 punnet of strawberries from the grocer next to the train bridge.


Your future plans?

I’m delighted to have just learnt that a piece of artwork I submitted for an open call is going to be included in an outdoor gallery on the south side of Blackfriars Station, this should be happening mid-August.  I have a couple more mural designs I’m working on and am set to be the Autumn Artist in Residence at a school in North London. More imminently, I’m preparing for the Peckham Festival, specifically my Open Studio event that will take place over the festival weekend. Friday 14th – Sunday 16th September.

Katrina will be taking part in the Peckham Festival again this year, so if you are not yet familiar with her work then make sure you visit her studio at the Bussey Building on 15 & 16th September 11-6pm (B4Q).

Image credit – @photosbytomtom

You can join in the conversation on Twitter @SELondonBlog @SE_Sussed and @katrinaradams



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