I’ve had the opportunity to pick the brain of the beautifully whimsical Alice Partington - Instagram.com/alice_partington_artist whom I was introduced to through the Lockdown Exhibitions which took place on Instagram. I’m a huge fan of her work and the powerful messages she portrays fantastically through a variety of mediums. My favourite piece of her’s is ’A feminist’s wet dream’ which you can check out a little further on!
Hey! Can you give us an intro and snippet of your ethos?
Hello gorgeous people I’m Alice Partington and I’m a multidisciplinary artist. My artistic ethos it to challenge perceptions and to champion self-love; be it by creating art that redefines views on periods or dispelling the taboos around masturbation for vulva owners.
Where did it all begin?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment as I’ve always been creative and created art. But if I think of a piece that started off this journey of art activism then I would say it all started with my Vulva Dress. I was in the last year of a (fashion) degree that I’d realised wasn’t for me anymore, and while jumping through academic hoops I decided to create something that was bold, stayed true to myself and unapologetically shouted: ‘vulvas are amazing, OK’. 5 years later I still fiercely advocate for vulva love and the Vulva Dress has been an emblem for fortifying my own feminist views and finding self-acceptance.
How did you develop your techniques?
Lots and lots of experimenting! Being multidisciplinary I work with lots of different techniques and mediums when creating my art. Experimentation is a big part of the process whatever I’m making. After lots of trial and error I’ve managed to find materials and techniques that best suit my creative process. It takes lots of time and countless failed attempts but that all contributes to building your own personal art style.
Which is your favourite medium to work with?
I like to experiment with different techniques and new things, so it’s hard to choose just one! At the moment I’m really enjoying using inks and paints to create my Dildopaintings. I love the detail you can create by allowing the ink to bleed, each time I paint it has completely different results and I like not knowing what it will look like until its done. But generally I’ve always gravitated towards larger scale artworks, being able to create immersive installations or a space with large sculptures really excites me. Its not something I can create often due to space and material limitations but when I do, there is certainly something special about inviting people into a little world you have created.
What does intersectional feminism mean to you and your work?
To me it means the future. And it effects all aspects of my life and art. Feminism has been one of my core beliefs for as long as I can remember but it’s not since recent years have I become an activist and done the work to learn how important intersectionality is to the feminist fight: without true intersectionality there is no feminism.
As I find myself gaining a footing with my art and the creative world, I am conscious to always take a moment to look around, to see if I am doing enough to support and uplift those around me that don’t have the same privileges as me. The privilege that I have being a thin white cis woman from one of the wealthiest counties in the world is something I didn’t choose. But it is my moral duty to use those privileges to shed light on, uplift and support other creatives that due to pure circumstance and birth lottery, don’t have the same advantages as me.
I don’t want to be successful in an art world that still puts white people first, that prioritises the voices of men over marginalised women and non-binary people. With all I create, buy, consume, speak and live I try to be part of the positive change and assist in the revolution that is coming.
Are there any hurdles you have faced?
I’ve always struggled with aspects of my health, both physical and mental. Being diagnosed at 20 with the chronic illness Crohn’s disease and shortly after with depression and generalised anxiety disorder provided some unique challenges to overcome in my journey to be the artist I am now. I live with and manage my invisible illnesses every day, and I think that has changed my perspective on life, my art and my attitudes to others. Much of my art is born out of my quest to accept these parts of me, and choose to embrace them rather than fight them, as I did for many years. We all face hurdles in varying proportion, and I try to have the attitude that getting over these hurdles is what creates the resilient and powerful person you are.
What is your favourite part about what you do?
Spreading positivity and acceptance in an often overwhelmingly negative world. But also, being able to connect with so many others through my art has been one of the most wonderful experiences.
What would you like to achieve with your art?
I think the greatest thing I would like to achieve with my art is change. Be it aiding in changing our crooked world, changing outdated opinions on feminism, changing dangerous taboos around periods, changing attitudes to chronic health conditions & mental illness, change the ablest sexist racist classist art world from within, change perspectives on & normalise masturbation for EVERY-BODY and most importantly change folks attitudes towards themselves so that they may start championing their own self-love and self-acceptance.
Something I work a lot with in my art is the pleasure or orgasm gap. Due to our patriarchal society cis straight men’s pleasure is prioritised above all others. Having experienced this gap first hand I decided to make time for my pleasure in an attempt to dispel the internalised shame I felt. I created the Dildo and Prioritise your Pleasurepaintings to work through my own hang ups with masturbation and reach out to others that felt like I once did. Pleasure is such a vital part of being human, and with the world weighing so heavy at the moment, experiencing pleasure is so important. I want to spread acceptance and encourage people to love themselves without shame and to prioritise, reclaim and celebrate their own pleasure.
As an artist I strive to create art that is joyful and striking while also being able to deliver poignant messages about feminism, the state of our world and our relationship with our bodies. This is, and will continue to be, my mission as an artist.
I’m sure you’ll all agree that Alice’s work and the reasons behind them are extremely poignant during these unprecedented times; and in particular relating to the abhorrent anti-abortion court ruling that has been passed in Poland. All vulva owners deserve the basic human right of being in charge of what happens to their bodies. Alice can certainly be admired for her dedication to causes she finds important, and she was active in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in London. So thank you Alice for your passion, your education on important matters, promotion of self-love and of course your art! Check out her website and buy original art here, or head to her Redbubble for prints! (Ooh and give her a follow to keep tabs on a new Etsy store!)
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Thanks for coming along and reading!
Lotsa love, Rach x