CNB Gallery, presents an exhibition of new works by British artist K-tee.
K-tee has long used weaponry in her work, and in this show she takes the distinctive American army MK II hand grenade, known colloquially as the ‘pineapple’, to create a series of small and medium-scale sculptures.
I had the chance to speak with K-tee about her artistic practice and upcoming exhibition.
How did you become involved in creating art?
I’ve always drawn ever since I was very young and started painting in my teen years but never thought about it seriously until I had the opportunity to go to art collage in Canterbury, and didn’t physically make anything until I had been in the film industry for a few years. Without the film industry work I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.
What inspires / motivates you?
Other people have always been my inspiration- not necessarily artists, but people from all walks of life who do well in anything they do. I always want to push my abilities and constantly make new goals once I’ve achieved past ones, so anyone who achieves things they set out to do and achieve them well inspire me.
My own goals motivate me, setting something that seems totally out of reach, i.e. getting my work into a particular gallery or in 2015 I wanted to have my first solo show which I had confirmed last November.
How has your 15 years working in various prop departments influenced your artistic practice?
I wouldn’t say it has influenced me, I would say it made me into what I am and what I think and continues to. It has fed my imagination and confidence in my abilities and taught me that there are no limits as to what you can make. It doesn’t matter what idea I dream of, I know I can either make it or know someone who can advise me about making it. On films I work with many talented people who over the years have taught me the crafts I needed to get on in the trade and be confident in what I do.
Learning about materials has always been a huge factor in my knowledge on achieving certain ideas and giving me ideas in the first place. I feel I learn many new things on every film I work on, and of course being freelance is the perfect compliment to making artwork when I’m not on a film.
When did you first discover the ‘pineapple’ grenade / become interested in weapons?
A friend collects decommissioned weapons, so I was holding one of his pineapple grenades when it struck me how small and beautiful it was and then after asking questions I realised what a nasty object this was. I mean it’s a killer and the immediate idea I had was to help people see the object for its engineering beauty that I first saw it for and not the killer it is. My first idea was to make it big, and I mean 2ft big and then cover it in bright pink velvet, which I did achieve in the end! I have a list as long as my arm as to what I would like to paint/place or sculpt onto one.
Bitter Sweet presents various grenade series, it is easy to forget these are ultimately deadly objects; to what extent was this intentional?
It’s totally intentional, and for instance the other weekend I was showing some pieces at The Oxford International Art Fair and the majority of people who came up to chat to me just didn’t register my Ming Vase grenade as being just that, so I guess I achieved that goal with that design. With regards to this solo exhibition, the chocolate grenades I’ve noticed seem to be more appealing to the viewer than any of the other designs. Doing these as chocolate was high on my list of things to do as I really think they lend themselves to it and tick all the boxes in my initial aim from my first idea, and of course everyone loves chocolate don’t they?
Have you got any future projects / plans lined up?
Yes, I have a very exciting idea that involves a collaboration with another artist confirmed, and I think I’ve secured a venue as well, but I also want to take it over to the states so I’m trying to get different people’s attention at the moment. To say it’s completely the opposite end of the scale in terms of what it is is an understatement, but I’m going to stick with this food/art train, I find it really interesting and has endless possibilities. I’ll be leaving the grenades behind and moving onto other non deadly objects. Stay tuned.
– Harry Dougall
Bitter Sweet will be on view at CNB Gallery, 32 Rivington Street London EC2A 3LX; from 23rd March – 20th May 2016, Private View: Tuesday 22nd March, 6pm – 8.30pm, Admission: FREE