Connie Radford (b.2000) is a British Artist. She was raised in a community of seafarers that provided the inspiration for many of her paintings. Born in the naval town of Portsmouth, she taught sailing and clocked thousands of nautical miles, before moving to London to pursue Fine Art Painting at Camberwell College of Arts. She is now a resident artist at the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth. She makes up half of Radford and Jackson, a pair of artists who occupy Studio 6. 

I approach painting using the mental and physical lessons taught to me by sailing. Paintings are disciplined, detail-focused and, in large scale works physically use sail repair and maintenance techniques. To me sailing and painting merge into each other, they both evoke the type of solitary play essential for escape. The liminality of travel creates a space for freedom that provokes artistic creativity. I use sailing daily as a metaphor to make sense of life. The boat is an island on which life can exist while the sea is a void in which life can be threatened, the boat itself is made up of a series of items that make existence possible. 

My practice is physically minimal, paintings are made using a limited pallet of quick drying acrylic paints, they are confined in sketchbooks or on sail cloth which can be folded to travel with. The travelling lifestyle shines a light on what is important and what I can go without. The sculptural element makes use of retired equipment that is considered too unsafe for sailors.

The subject is a documentation of nautical objects. It highlights the relationship sailors have with their gear, working all winter on their boats and selecting what stays onboard and what is dead weight. In my work the private relationship between sailor and boat is made public by pulling the boat’s cabin contents out and displaying them on the sail. The intimacy between sailor and kit is created by the fear that an object’s failure may be fatal, this brings a forensic quality to the paintings. It is an eerie reminder that worse things happen at sea. 

I address my fear of mortality by painting my own equipment, sometimes with the sole purpose of being more familiar with it. Despite this discomfort sailors are drawn to the vastness of the sea with a primal elemental pull, it is the same pull which brings me to paint the seafaring experience


Recent Projects

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