A gallery of meticulously created faces from a broad range of perspectives greets visitors to Butterfield’s head office in George Town, the work of artist Josie Frazer, who is pursuing her love of art, in her second year of a fine arts degree.
‘My interest in art started at a very young age,” she confirms. “My dad is an art teacher and always encouraged me to make work all the time. If I was ever bored I was given a pencil and paper and my dad gradually taught me technique. My parents also frequently took me and my brother to art galleries whenever we went on family holidays and so my passion for art grew.”
Growing up, Josie says that at high school she developed an interest in all kinds of art work but was always fascinated by the greats such as Van Gogh.
“Portraits are my biggest interest and I loved the way he handled the paints in his self portraits. Recently I’ve started looking a lot more at artists such as Lucian Freud and Gerhard Richter,” she adds.
David Bridgeman curated her work at the Butterfield exhibition and advises that he has known Josie for 21 years, from the time she was born.
“Josie also took art classes with me when she was a student at Red Bay Primary School. It was a time when the school had just been donated a kiln and Josie was making some lovely ceramic pots. She was already exhibiting great creativity and possessed a good range of artistic skills,” he confirms.
David says it has given him pleasure to be involved with putting together an exhibition of Josie’s university work.
“Hopefully the public will appreciate part of the process that has gone into the portraits that Josie is making,” he says. “I think the exhibition will give Josie an opportunity to reflect on the work she has done so far. To see it all mounted and displayed in one place gives the artist an opportunity to view the work in a new light and will help in making decisions on going forward. I think it provides a fresh starting point for beginning a new body of work.”
Josie says art is her biggest interest.
“I think it’s important to study what you’re passionate about,” she states. “The university I’m at is in Newcastle, on the North East coast of England and the city has quite a lot of art galleries, which is essential to my practice in terms of viewing new and different work. I also have family ties to the area which I find comforting when being so far from home.”
The course encourages students to explore as much as possible in terms of technique, material and content, she explains, and this allows a certain freedom to find out exactly where you fit in the art world.
She says: “I have a studio space at university where I spend most of the day experimenting and making work. I often visit galleries and other student’s studio spaces, which helps spark new ideas.”
In particular, she says she has always been passionate about portraiture and she is continuing on this over the course of this year.
“I’ve been experimenting with ink on wet canvas this semester and the idea of trying to abstract the face as much as possible whilst still keeping a likeness to the sitter,” she says. “I’ve always really enjoyed working in pencil; however, recently I find myself more interested in acrylic paint.”
Josie says she intends to extend her further education once her degree course is complete, to make a valuable and worthwhile career out of the activity that she loves so much. Her mum taught in special education for over 20 years and, like her Dad’s influence in art, her mum’ has inspired her to work in special education.
“I’m currently planning on doing a Masters in Art Therapy after I complete my Bachelors. Essentially I hope to be able to work in a special education school with this qualification, helping children with mental and physical disabilities through art. I’m also interested in possibly working in hospitals in which case art can be helped to rehabilitate.”