Loveurope and Partners have an excellent reputation for producing fine art prints and reproductions. We are a long-standing supplier of the Tate art galleries and were recently entrusted by Cheil London to produce the limited-edition prints and post-cards for an exhibition of their contemporary art designs.
As a natural extension of this type of work, we were thrilled to support the London debut of artists Natalie Christensen and Jim Eyre for their joint exhibition ‘alteredstates/alteredscapes’ which launched on 9 Feburary at the Southeast London creative hub Peckham Levels. As Natalie and Jim’s social media-based photography collaboration was brought into the real world, we were pleased to produce high quality prints for the project. Read on to learn more about each artist and the exhibition itself.
DISTORTING REALITY IN THE NAME OF ART
Santa Fe-based artist Natalie and London-based artist Jim married their artistic perspectives to explore the dilemmas of social media for the collaborative project. The two took a deep dive together into the psychological and creative impacts of social media by creating ‘mash-ups’ of one another’s photographs, achieving gorgeous yet subtly jarring visual distortions of reality.
This indulgence in ‘distortion’ resonates in our modern era as the distortion of what is ‘real’ is a practice that social media users habitually do or are exceptionally mindful to avoid. The otherworldly, nearly transcendent ‘dreamscapes’ that Natalie and Jim have created beg the question what is ‘real’ in all that we see.
Their art thus invites us into elemental questions regarding social media. Is it a threat to an artist’s unique vision? Does it feed or kill creativity? The duo’s search for deeper meaning, beauty, and answers to such questions has, luckily for us, brought them together for a marvelous collection of art.
BROUGHT TOGETHER BY THE BEAST ITSELF…
Most perfectly, Natalie and Jim met on Instagram, finding solace in each other’s work. “Both share a fascination with street scenes reduced to starkly beautiful abstractions of shape, line, colour, and light”, relays writer Stephen Iliffe, who was lucky enough to attend a photowalk accompanying the exhibition.
Incidentally, both also share a heightened awareness of the implications of social media – one that is a near rite of passage for any artist navigating the digital world.
Following his suggestion that the two find a way to work together, Jim spent about a year creating mash-ups of their photographs; juxtaposing elements of his work with elements of hers. What resulted was a collection of photographs both meditative and stimulating. Each ‘manipulated image’ features streetscape elements from the artists’ two different cities, 5,000 miles apart. In this light, the work is almost a reflection itself upon the world of opportunity that social media opens for us, overwhelming as it can be.
The title of the exhibition is an allusion to Ken Russell’s science-fiction horror film ‘Altered States’, which is based on sensory deprivation research. The dichotomy between the basis of sensory deprivation and social media’s characteristic effect of sensory overload is very much intentional. Natalie offers, in a positive light, “Instagram is a great education in that it allows me to see many thousands of beautiful images in any style.”
Inclusion of psychoactive drugs in the film is another fitting parallel, given the addictive nature of social media. “Do Natalie and I stay true to our original intention – to share and create meaningful art?” Jim offers. “Or do we allow it to get interrupted by a never-ending dopamine rush in the quest for the most ‘likes’?”
Natalie complements, “We quickly learn which kinds of photos play well with audiences. New followers, comments, being featured on photography platforms… do we keep giving the audience what they want, even if it is no longer the kind of work we want to make?”
This pressure calls for, as Natalie can validate, an exceptional self-awareness. Artists must be “constantly questioning themselves and their motivations as well as seeking feedback from mentors and artists who can provide objective input.” Jim sympathizes, “It’s not impossible to keep your mind solely on the work you want to create and not worry about opinions, but it’s rare. That said, this rarity defines the difference between great artists and the rest of us.”
INFLUENCES AND PLANS
As a solo artist, Natalie is greatly influenced by the work of Lewis Baltz, Aaron Siskind, and Stephen Shore. She also credits her career in psychotherapy with giving her the desire to understand ‘avoidance’ (our human tendency to avoid pain and discomfort) through art. Seeing the exhibition as the highlight of her life as an artist, she expressed gratitude in reflection of the event. “London is Jim’s home – each image contains a piece of the city and his unique view of it. I have been studying his work for two years now, and so in some ways it felt like coming to a familiar place.”
Jim is also influenced by his previous career in architecture, which gave him a lasting appreciation for lines, structure, shadows, and space. When asked for closing thoughts on their joint exhibition, he expressed a kindred sentiment, “Working with Natalie has been a powerful experience. We have been in contact for a while supporting and encouraging each other’s work on Instagram… Natalie is not only an incredible artist but also is an inspirational person.”
The two have big plans for alteredstates/alteredscapes throughout the year, as well as a commitment to further collaboration.
ARTWORKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
All prints from the exhibition, produced by loveurope and partners, are available for purchase at Minimal Zine. Each piece is printed on 210gsm Redcliffe Watercolour Paper, a natural white archival paper with a slightly textured matte surface using archival pigment ink for maximum lightfastness. The posters posted at the exhibition were produced using traditiional blueback poster paper and installed with wheat paste to achieve a true outdoor poster feel.
Learn more about our print production services.