Tinsel Edwards & Twinkle Troughton present their first ever Mini Retrospective, a rare opportunity to see a large selection of works by the dynamic art duo, both Debut Contemporary artists.
Tinsel & Twinkle, two of the Debut Contemporary artists, met when they were nine, over a pot of poster paints at their first school. Since that fortuitous meeting they have spent years collaborating and exhibiting their art works including identical degree shows at their universities (Tinsel was at Goldsmiths and Twinkle at Kingston). They work as individual artists but sharing a history and similar creative concerns, they often join forces to collaborate on projects and exhibit together. One of these exhibitions is the current Mini Retrospective. It will open on Thursday July 5th and run until July 19th.
For the show, that will be on in A-Side B-Side Gallery in Hackney, Tinsel & Twinkle have kidnapped a banker and will be handing out bank notes. To find out what that’s all about, we decided to ask them some questions:
1. Can you tell a bit more about the mini retrospective (and kidnapped banker!)?
Tinsel: We are kidnapping a banker, not because we have a vendetta against bankers, but because we want to find out what people really think and feel about the global economic crisis. At the exhibition opening we will be handing out Tinsel & Twinkle banknotes, asking visitors to write their thoughts, solutions and opinions onto them. The notes will then be pinned around the banker forming a visual display. The media update us daily, but we want to know how people REALLY feel and if they think there is a solution. Decisions are made by politicians, debate is fuelled by the media reports, and instead this is an artistic response to the issue of the economic crisis.
Twinkle: As Tinsel said we don’t have a vendetta against bankers, our choice of the kidnapped banker is based on how bankers are rightly or wrongly being portrayed in the press. The image or idea of a banker speaks a lot of words at the moment. What we ultimately want to create at our exhibition is a space where people tell their own feelings and an idea on the current financial struggles which isn’t being asked from them in a political environment. We do however intend to invite Dianne Abbott, the local MP, along to the show so she can have a chance to see what people are saying and feeling in this on-going problem. Whether she will be able to come along or not is not yet known. This will be alongside a collection of works by us which spans over the last six years. Our works nearly always have social commentary or social issues at the heart of it, so the kidnapped banker and Tinsel and Twinkle money should work together as a whole as well as individual piece.
2. Why did you decide on the retrospective this early on?
Tinsel: To really understand an artist’s motivations it’s crucial to see a large cross section of the work, we hope that this retrospective show will give people the opportunity to see the development and overview of our artistic interests spanning six years. We call it ‘mini’ because it’s not like we are in our 70s and we are looking back on years and years’ worth of paintings! But it is a good few years’ worth, and these works as a collection tell the story of our journeys as artists.
Twinkle: There isn’t too much more I can add to what Tinsel has said here, as she has put our reasons for a mini-retrospective in a nutshell. However I do also think that artists don’t have to be established or be an institution before they have a history of their own worth looking at, all artists have a journey they have travelled and I think that can be fascinating at any level.
3. What are you hoping to achieve from the show?
Tinsel: On a personal note I hope that seeing the works together as a collection will give me an overview of all the hard work I’ve put in over the last decade! Working on an individual painting and being obsessed by it, neurotic and passionate about it is one thing, but being able to step back and see it within a context will hopefully feel rewarding. My work has been undergoing a massive transformation in recent years and putting this show together feels like letting go of older concerns and moving forward with new ones.
Twinkle: It’s definitely marking a full stop for me and helping me to create a new chapter. I am also really looking forward to seeing an overview as it can sometimes feel like a long process from having an idea for a piece of work, turning that into a piece of work, exhibiting it, and then moving forward in both content and technique. I think seeing a collection of works spanning over a few years will give a really good idea of how progress has occurred rather than seeing all new works within one space. I also think that even though me and Tinsel work individually we do also work closely on talking through ideas and inspiration and agonising over problems, so we have both helped each other move forward and it will be great to see how the story of both of our artworks have evolved together.
4. What’s next in the world of Tinsel and Twinkle?
Tinsel: Up until July the 5th it will be MINI RETROSPECTIVE, MINI RETROSPECTIVE, MINI RETROSPECTIVE!!! I can’t think about much else at the moment! Post retrospective there are no definite Tinsel & Twinkle plans as yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long until we are up to another of our collaborations.
Twinkle: I’m looking forward to new works and ideas and have gone back to college to do a painting course. I’ve gone back to basics to re-learn what I may have forgotten over the years in order to move on and grow as an artist…so who knows where that will lead? But I am excited by that!
5. How do you sum up your journey together since you met when you were 9?
Twinkle: We’ve been through everything together, as best friends we have got through obstacles, overcome differences, we teach each other what we learn and help to inspire each other creatively. We’ve lived together, been in a band together for 7 years, travelled, kissed boys, and now it’s all the grown up stuff we’re going through together too!
Tinsel: It’s been funny, challenging, and filled with some brilliant experiences! Since we were younger we both always wanted to grow up to be artists, as we have grown up together we’ve both pursued that dream and helped each other to do so.
6. What’s the aim for the next 12 months?
Twinkle: To explore, learn, and develop both with technique and content. I’ve been at a crossroads for a few months re-evaluating so am only just beginning to embark on new ideas. However I feel revitalised and motivated so aside from really making sure I don’t rush anything, I’m intrigued to see where it takes me.
Tinsel: I’m really excited about the change in direction in my work and I have several new areas of interest to explore. After spending a few years experimenting with oil paint, I’m starting to feel more at ease with the medium, I now want to focus on some serious painting and spend time developing new techniques and ideas.