Art: Paloma Proudfoot - "I'm Ticking all the Fetish Boxes."

Written by: Violet Myers

Highbury born artist Paloma Proudfoot talks us through her London, where to get a banging frozen margarita and why we shouldn’t feel ashamed for finding her work rather erotic…

First of all you have one of the greatest names I think I’ve ever heard, is there a story there?

“Thanks! My parents named me after Picasso’s daughter. I think they were in the belief that it translates as ‘dove’ in Spanish but it actually means pigeon.”

I sometimes think that I would like to change my name to the English translation and be Pigeon Proudfoot.

Your work feels domestic and yet oddly sexual. Is this done on purpose, or are we all just a little perverted?

“You’re not the first person to say that, so I don’t think it’s a case of you being particularly perverted, although I think everyone’s a bit pervy if they’re given the chance. I hope my work gives people an outlet for that! I am interested in domestic objects as items we contend with and handle everyday. The things around us form a sort of biography of our lives and it’s these object-stories that I like playing with in my performance work with the choreographer Aniela Piasecka too. I think the sexy bit comes from the materials I use. Glazed ceramic, rubber, egg yolks, chocolate; I’m ticking all the fetish boxes.”

Have you ever worn any of your items, such as your double headed shirt collar (the ‘Yoke’ top), down to the shops?

“I wore the double yoke top with my best friend at an art opening on Valentine’s Day, which is also her birthday. Conjoining myself to her was the perfect way of showing my love! I also took photos of another friend in Sainsbury’s wearing a sci-fi mint green and silver velour tracksuit I made, she looked great!”

Describe your work in four words…

“Flirty, coy, curvaceous, GSOH”

Now describe it as if you were a five year old…

‘I’d hope a five-year-old wouldn’t feel the need to describe it but just get right in there and dip their fingers in the egg yolk and take a bite into the chocolate pieces.”

If your work was a cereal what would it be?

“Cheerios. The doughnut is a reoccurring shape in my work.”

When was the last time you said: ‘By George I think I’ve got it!’

“When I put an egg yolk in the dip of one of my ceramic egg sculptures. It’s the perfect garnish.”

Where’s your local boozer?

“I have just moved to Peckham right next to a lovely looking pub called The Telegraph that I’m looking forward to checking out. I grew up in Highbury though so that’s where my heart will always be, I was back there last night for some bowling at Rowans in Finsbury Park. The frozen Margaritas there are like the grown up version of the slush puppies I used to have as a kid going there. They’re lethal.”

When was the last time you did karaoke?

“I first met one of my best friends Lindsey Mendick at a karaoke night after a exhibition she organised and knew from the moment I heard her belting out ‘Live and Let Die’ that I had to make her a big part of my life. The last time I did karaoke was at her night ‘Disco 2000’ at the Zablodowicz Collection – incredible! I’m also doing a performance for the Glasgow International Festival with the group Stasis, that I co-direct with Aniela Piasecka, which is in part inspired by the karaoke clubs of the city. They are definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in Scotland.”

What’s the greatest night out in London that you’ve ever had?

“I’m not sure about the greatest, but I had a pretty weird and wonderful evening on my birthday last week. I went for dinner at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, which is a restaurant set in an architectural salvage shop where all the furniture is for sale. I love the excessive amounts of chandeliers there. Afterwards I met some friends at the pub next to the Royal College of Art where I am studying at the moment. We befriended an 80-year-old man called Andy, who invited us back to his flat where we sang show tunes and ate a banoffee pie my mum had made me.”

Snog, Marry or avoid these artists: Frida Kahlo, David Hockney, Damien Hirst.

I’d snog Damien Hirst, he’s a bit of a guilty pleasure and I bet he’s a good kisser – he’s had quite a bit of practise! Marry David Hockney for his LA lifestyle and dulcet Yorkshire accent. Avoid Frida Kahlo – never meet your heroes.

Where’s your favourite place to hang out in your local area?

“It depends what part of London I’m in. When I’m in Highbury I like walking over to my favourite baklava shop on Stoke Newington Church Street for the horseshoe shaped pistachio ones. I usually go on from there to Ridley Road market, which never fails to amaze me. I get lots of my fabrics there too. Wherever I am I like checking out the local swimming pool, it’s a good way to get a feel for a place and great for eavesdropping in the changing rooms. My new favorite is the Oasis Sports Centre in Holborn, which has an outdoor rooftop pool.”

What’s the last thing you read that made you go “Huh?”

“I reread ‘The Story of the Eye’ by Georges Bataille recently, which is one of my favourite books. It has the power to confuse me however many times I read it.

It is intensely erotic, but in such a bizarre way that I can’t figure out whether I am turned on or disgusted by it.

There’s a scene where the narrator talks about this foreplay ritual he has of putting hard boiled eggs and shells sucked out to various degrees in the toilet for his love Simone, so she can watch them bob up and down before flushing them away. That image is so strange but oddly beautiful and has really stayed with me.”

Finish this sentence: “If I wasn’t an artist I’d be a…”

“A chef. I love cooking and feeding people. I live out my chef dreams through my art though. I’m putting on a ‘Superstition’ themed supper club with the artists Nora Silva (who is also a trained chef) and Finn Thompson, which I’m making all the tableware for as well as helping Nora with the cooking. My ceramic fortune cookies will be featured heavily!”


Photos:  Rosie Harriet Ellis + Paloma Proudfoot

North Four, North London magazine, market road gallery, art, public space, exhibition, paint, community, kings cross

Market Road Gallery: Just Add Yourself

Spirited away from the hubbub of the city, sitting on the bustling boundaries of Islington and Camden, a 65 metre wide gallery resides hidden behind the Attic Self Storage building in Kings Cross. Market Road Gallery is a newly opened space for everyone to contribute to. It is London’s first bookable open air public gallery. Everyone, from the neighbourhood cat to a fancy pants established artiste, can create artwork for the space.

North Four, North London magazine, summer solstice, heatwave, hot, sun, survive, list

Top Four Ways to Survive the London Heatwave, Solstice Style

Today Britain will relish (moan) in 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 4:43am and setting at 9:31pm. It’s set to be a record breaking 33 degrees in London. I for one am going to need all the help I can get not to disappear like the wicked witch of the West into a sticky puddle on Stroud Green Road. Here’s our Solstice-worshipping, Pagan inspired tips for surviving the hottest and longest day of the year in London.

North Four, North London magazine, velopark, drum n bounce, fitness, friday plans, outdoors, exercise

Celebrate Summer with Drum n Bounce at VeloPark

It’s time. Time to bask (complain) in the sun and ask why god why when will it end?? Yes, Summer is officially here for the week, the hottest week in the last 20 years. This Friday, Drum n Bounce are coming all the way down South to help us celebrate this fact, as healthily as possible. Right in the middle section of VeloPark (link) you can take part in uplifting and limbering flow yoga with Tammy’s Yoga before 45 minutes of energising drum n bounce aerobics. This is basically getting hot and fit and dancey to your favourite tracks before you head off in to the night (or bed) with a massive sweaty smile on your mug.

North Four, North London magazine, Black Books, pub quiz,

"It's Not a Party" Black Books Pub Quiz

Next Friday night, ignore your mounting list of life admin and venture outwards into the ether for a misanthropic wine a plenty. It’s the Black Books pub quiz at The Duke of Wellington as part of their couch potato themed quiz series. Entry is a meagre £2 but you can win some cold hard real cash if you’re up on your Dylan Moran / Tamsin Greig / Bill Bailey shaped references.

North Four, North London magazine, kings head theatre, review, heather brothers, directors, play, culture

Holy Crap! Who Are The Heather Brothers?

Who are the Heather Brothers? It’s a question that’s been keeping me up at night. Ever since I was asked to review their latest musical, Holy Crap, I’ve been trapped in something of a Google wormhole. To begin at the beginning: the Heather Brothers are, depending on who you ask, a musical writing duo/trio/quartet. Born in London, they grew up in Zimbabwe, where they spent their teenage years performing in a fraternal rock band. Again, depending on who you ask, they were variously known as: The Chequers, The Three People or Quiet World.

North Four, North London magazine, Home, world refugee day, world refugee work, film screening, crouch end, arthouse, directors

Film Screenings for World Refugee Day, Crouch End

“Arriving back in the UK, after a long time away, there seemed to have been a swing towards xenophobia and the dehumanizing and vilify of both migrants and refugees was happening at the highest levels. I wanted to create a short that would address this trend.” Director Daniel Mulloy

North Four, North London magazine, cucumber, hendricks gin, cucumber day, pub, drink, gin and tonic

The Emotional Lives of Cucumbers: World Cucumber Day

The gin enthusiasts down at Hendricks have decided to take these cucumber celebrations a slice further with their Cultivate the Unusual campaign. Encouraging gin fans to grow their own cucumbers over the last few months in preparation, Hendricks are asking us to bring said veggies to participating pubs and bars this Thursday 15th June. The Canonbury Tavern for example, will light up if you walk in with a cucumber and will proceed to exchange it for a free gin and tonic. Can you imagine?

North Four, North London magazine, Run DMC, Darryl McDaniels, comic book, art, prints, Hang Up gallery, exhibition, stoke newington

The Art of Run DMC at Hang Up Gallery, Stoke Newington

Hang Up Gallery have some pretty hush hush news. And it goes a little something like this: Darryl ‘Run’ DMC McDaniels will be popping up in the Stoke Newington gallery this month to launch his new collection of works, The Art of DMC. This is the icon’s first London exhibition, showing new and unseen collection of ‘Darryl Makes Comics (DMC)’ Fine Art, a body of signed limited edition prints showcasing his underlying passion for comics.

North Four, North London magazine, summer of love local, shop stroud green, events, june, finsbury park, crouch hill, stroud green, local business, festival
Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle

Summer of Love Local by #ShopStroudGreen

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love ’67 where freedom of expression, art and love reigned supreme. #ShopStroudGreen are celebrating the fact with a Summer of Love Local weekend festival this June. Celebrate artistic expression and support local independent traders and makers with a weekend of live art, workshops and music (with a few special discounts, tasters and freebies for good measure).

North Four, North London magazine, the lexington pub, venue, general election, campaign, burger, food, drinks, event

Oh Snap! Top Five Free Election Night Covfefe

Oh snap! Another general election looms. Whether you’re hopeful for a landslide win or a surprising wild card outcome, wipe the bitter disappointment from your tastebuds with some gins, ales, burgers and strong covfefe. Because let’s face, it will be neither of those results will it really? Find the perfect place for you to receive the bad news in good company.

North Four, North London magazine, film screening, film london, archive footage, old videos, home movies, public information film, cinema

London, A Bigger Picture: Film Screening with Live Music

Get a different perspective on the city you live in this June. Film London are holding a screening of archive footage of London’s outer boroughs through the decades, underscored by live music accompaniment. The best of London’s Screen Archives hugely successful project, London: A Bigger Picture will be shown, funded by Heritage Lottery three years ago.

North Four, North London magazine, harringay station cat, Snowy, twitter, interview, lifestyle

Off The Record: Snowy the Harringay Station Cat

We caught up with Snowy the Harringay Station cat to talk Twitter, working life and his unsavoury friendship with Gus the fox. Summer is coming and, in North London, that means it’s time to hit the train stations. So we took Snow the Haringey Station Cat and photographer Mike Barry tumbling across one of them: the undergrowth of Haringey Station. Then we sat down with Snowy for a raw conversation about how to move forward after things fall apart.

North Four, North London magazine, Rocket barbers, stoke newington, charity, just giving, chopping for chazza, men's mental health charity

Choppin' for Chazza at Rocket Barber Shop, Stokey

“You grow it, we mow it” might be their blasé catchphrase, but Rocket’s attitude to your haircut is far from casual. These guys are serious about hair and the person that grew it. Rocket Stoke Newington are holding a day of free beer and entertainment with your cut in aid of Men’s Mental Health Sunday this 12th June. Also known as “Chopping for Chazza”, there’ll be talks on mental health, stand up comedy and more from 12 - 5pm.

North Four, North London magazine, volunteer camden, islington, summer, volunteering fair, volunteer centre, june, volunteering week

Find The Perfect Volunteering Vacancy, Islington

Unless you’re already working for charity or regularly ‘do your bit’, that £6 monthly donation to The Dogs Trust might not be doing enough to quash your conscience / save the world. Whether you’re doing it for experience, to reset your karmic balance or generally give back and help out, there’ll be a role out there for you. On the Volunteer Centre Camden’s website for example, there’s a handy search page that lets you filter through hundreds of opportunities by location, interest and activity.

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life, interview, Tom Marshman

Finding Humour in Dark Times: Performance Artist Tom Marshman   

Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.

North Four, North London magazine, strong and stable my arse, Theresa May, prime minister, tories, Jeremy Deller, campaign, politics

'Strong and Stable My Arse' is all of us

The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.