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

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