Fighting with my Demons_300cm x 143cm_dye paste, dyed cotton, thread, wood, spray paint, pen

In the studio with Renin

This month we welcome Renin Bilginer as our Artist in Residence. Renin is a contemporary artist from London with dual British and Turkish heritage. Currently studying MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art. She has a number of accolades behind her including exhibitions at Hove Museum and Art Gallery, The Truman Brewery and was selected for Hastings Art Forum’s Rising Talent show.

Rooted within the context of her mixed British and Turkish heritage, Renin’s practice interrogates what it means to exist as a woman between Eastern and Western cultures, confronting the issues surrounding womanhood, non-conformity and the embodiment of multiple identities. Inspired by her research on 19th-century pleasure gardens, the work explores the transformative power of masking, masquerade, and environment, in relation to identity; through the reclamation of the ‘exotic’ female body, the work explores themes of rebellion, hedonism and femininity, within a fantasy world free from patriarchal systems.

Renin will be in the studio from the 6th April until the 10th of May. During her time she will be working on her latest pieces for an upcoming exhibition later this year. She will both work and exhibit pieces during her time in the studio.

Keep an eye out as Renin will be holding a tie-dye workshop during her residency.  


Meet Renin

What will you be working on during your time in the art’otel studio?
I’m currently working on a series of multi-media artworks focused on the idea of sin in relation to the experience of women. I’m planning to make a short moving image piece, which will form part of a wider installation, so at the moment I’m working on the costume for that.

Talk us through your creative process?
It can begin in a number of different ways, depending on what has inspired me in that moment. Sometimes it’s the excitement of a new material process, something I’ve read or other times it’s a direct response to something that has happened. I tend to work in short bursts, which results in a series of work focused on one particular idea.

I take the idea and create small sketches with coloured pencils, which I stick up on the wall as I go, to create a sort of mind map of possible imagery. I never have a fixed study or plan of what I’m painting (as a lot of artists do) because I find that it disrupts the act of creating. You end up just copying something you’ve already done, so I like to keep it a bit more instinctual and fluid. It’s the same if I’m working with other materials too. I like to have a vague idea, then allow the work to take shape naturally.

If you were a piece of artwork, what would you be?
Probably some sort of strange little sparkly ornament.

Where can we see some of your pieces?
I’m currently showing work with Pictorum Gallery as part of a group show called ‘The Songs of Hecate’.The exhibition features seven women artists working across painting, drawing, installation, sculpture and textile. Taking the writings of feminist critic and author Sylvia Federici as inspiration, The Songs of Hecate looks at how cultural knowledge-sharing, rituals and stories are powerful tools used to create a sense of community and support amongst women.

What are your favourite materials to use ?
I’m obsessed with textiles. I love the process of creating my own dye colours and dyeing fabric. I love adopting textile printing methods and using them within a fine arts context. I’ve recently started painting on silk using a discharge medium, usually used with screen printing, which is a very exciting process.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
I’m heavily inspired by Ottoman, Persian and Indian miniature painting, as well as Japanese woodblock printing and medieval tapestries. I really admire and appreciate the intricacy and level of craftsmanship in old things!

What sounds do you like to work to?
It depends on how fast the deadline is approaching. If I’ve got ages, I tend to listen to a lot of chilled world music. If I’ve got a lot to do, you’ll hear a lot of loud house, techno, jungle and garage!

What does community in the art world look like to you?
The art world is a beautiful phenomenon where people from all different classes and cultural backgrounds have the opportunity to mix and share ideas. This is what community in this world means to me, but we need to keep breaking down those barriers, so we can create an equal and supportive network of creatives.

What is some advice you would give to aspiring creatives and artists in London?
Choosing to be an artist is one of the hardest things you can do. My advice is never give up. You’ll have highs and lows, but if you’re determined enough to keep going you can make it happen! Don’t follow the money.. follow your passion.

Outside of your artwork what else are you passionate about ?
Music is a big part of my life and I’m currently trying to learn how to DJ when I have the time! Apart from that, I’m a big nature enthusiast. I love being outdoors and I hope to fill my life with lots of travelling adventures.

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