Lucy Warren (b. 1999) is a multimedia artist from Birmingham, her work explores the themes of feminism, spirituality and rituals. Her art practice and spiritual practice is deeply rooted in the expression and exploration of the divine feminine. Lucy views the notion of making art as a ritual itself, she carefully considers the properties and connotations of the materials she uses. Creating objects by hand to be used within rituals, these ritual objects have the task of manifesting intangible aspects of the ritual into the material world.
How did your creative journey begin?
I guess it began when I was young, I've always loved drawing and making things. I used to draw princess gowns and wedding dresses a lot. It became more of a passion in school, I did art and textiles GCSE's, then I went on to do fashion and clothing at college. But I actually felt fashion designing was quite restrictive and I didn't want to work in that way. I decided to do an art foundation which really helped me to see that I definitely wanted to do a fine art course at university because it was a lot more open and I could make any work I wanted about whatever subject I wanted.
Growing up, who were your biggest creative inspirations? And who are your biggest influences to date?
My older sister was my creative idol when I was growing up, she would show me these incredible drawings and paintings she did. They were so realistic and beautiful, I really wished I was as talented as her. I found out about Ana Mendieta in uni and she is definitely now one of my biggest influences, her work emphasises the inextricable link between mother nature and the human form. Many of her performances and installations engaged directly with the topics of equality between humans, the inevitable cycles between life and death, and the assertion of mother earth as an omnipresent female force. Mendieta was also very clear headed about the power art has to change lives - how it can heal the breach between humanity and the nonhuman world.
Do you think it's important to surround yourself with like minded people?
Definitely, I think surrounding yourself with people that inspire you and build you up is so important. In a creative sense, it's important to me to have people in my life that understand my art practices and encourage me to keep pushing myself and work hard. It's also important to me that the people in my life know about my spiritual practices and even if they themselves don't believe the same, it means a lot to me that they accept them and try to understand them.
What piece of art has been your most important/favourite so far and why?
My dissertation project was incredibly meaningful and close to my heart. It was centered around discovering ways of working in communion with the natural elements that could help people deal with grief and loss. I lost my grandad at the start of the pandemic, just as many other people lost loved ones, I felt it was important to try find ways to help other people during what has been the hardest year for everyone. I created therapeutic rituals validate grief emotions and facilitate the legitimisation of emotional exchange. I discovered that working with clay has therapeutic qualities as it is a material that aids sensory, emotional and motor regulation. I made a series of clay vessels in a ritual setting, surrounding myself with personal possessions, candles and cleansing herbs.
During the ritual, I used the clay as a vessel to house positive and negative emotions to help develop healthier feelings. Showing that by representing and objectifying grief emotions, art making serves as a way to articulate complicated emotions that are inexpressible through words. And connectedness with the physical world through natural materials facilitates more positive emotions and an increase in active coping.
The themes of feminism, spirituality, rituals and empowerment are important and common within your work. Are these themes something that you have learned to explore when creating your art?
Feminism and equality is very important to me and I've always felt that your art should reflect who you are and what you stand for. My spiritual practice and art practice has never been perfect, I use to be so hard on myself for not being as good at making art as other people. Then I just realized that I don't have to be perfect at what I do for it to be valid, by embracing imperfection in art and spiritual practice it made me feel so much more free. The balance between intention and non-intention and trusting in the process is much like magical rituals. Participating in artistic activities encourages and stimulates spiritual understanding, insight and growth. In a lot of my more recent works have been centered around the sigil I created representing the sacred healing energy of the Divine Feminine. The Divine Feminine is the positive expression of the feminine energy that exists within all humans regardless of gender. Working toward alignment with our truest selves and nature, Goddess Consciousness is a state of awareness connected to the feminine life force. Your feminine soul energy naturally responds to beautiful, devotional spaces that have been created with love and intention.
Is it important to you that your art can be interpreted as you originally intended?
I create artwork that represents me and often my spiritual journey so I think it would be hard for other people to view my work in the same way I do. 5 people could look at a piece of art and each of them would think and feel completely different things. I want my artworks to convey a kind of spiritual energy exchange between the object and viewer - to deepen their understanding of the Divine Feminine and enable them to grasp connections between everyday life and sacred rituals.
You use a lot of different materials within your work, is there a method or thought process you go through when considering what materials to use?
I don't like to limit myself to just one medium, I like to see how different materials and processes work together. I often like to use fabric as it is malleable and is able to take on many forms and transformations. I view sewing as a ritualistic performance - an act that is nourishing to the soul and awakens creativity and a sense of beauty. I started practicing witchcraft rituals over the last couple of years which has influenced the methods and materials I use to create artworks. My practice is not necessarily about magick but it operates on magickal principles. Ritual objects make use of the symbolic power of materials, so I take the time to consider the properties and connotations of the materials I use for my artworks. Clay is another material I often like to use because of its therapeutic qualities. Clay is feminine in its nature due to its lithe consistency, making it the perfect material for embracing your femininity. My sculptures are often composed of found detritus, wood, fabric and organic matter, making the point to make use of things I can find around me in the world.
Has living in Birmingham shaped your creativity?
I've lived in Birmingham my whole life so I would say I've definitely been influenced a lot by this city. It's such a diverse city in every way - from our music, artwork, and popular culture. The art and rave scene in and around Digbeth has been a big inspiration to me over the last few years, I've met so many inspiring people that are putting themselves out there and just doing what they love.
Name three artists or songs that you listen to when creating your art?
It depends on my mood and the work I'm creating but I often listen to liquid DNB. I went through a stage of listening to GLXY 'Research & Development' album on repeat and Dogger and Mindstate's 'The time is yours' EP. Lil Peep is also one of my favorite artists to listen to while doing work.
What has been a highlight in your work so far?
I really love the latest work that I did for my final major project at university. Honestly, a highlight for me has been that I have gotten to a point with my practice that I'm really proud of the work I'm producing and I'm confident enough in my work and myself to even do an interview like this.
What's next for Lucy Warren?
I have no idea but I'm excited to see how my practice develops from here and how far I can push myself. I'll continue to work on the connection between spiritual rituals and the ritualistic process of making art.
Lucy Warren's Links