Sussex Artist Profile: Debbi Mason
Debbi Mason, joint artist in residence at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery together with her partner David Freud, is a Sussex-based artist whose work is an intoxicating journey of beauty and fashion.
What is your background?
I was one of the founder members of Elle magazine and was the fashion director there for many years. I moved to New York to work for Conde Nast and became a fashion editor at Vogue, working for the infamous Anna Wintour. Eventually, I became freelance and worked with a lot of celebrities including Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey.
How would you describe your art?
My art takes you on a colourful journey from inside my head. It is my most effective form of communication; everything I wish I could put into words, but have never been able to do so effectively. I would like to think that my work is thought-provoking and sometimes confrontational.
What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever undertaken?
The most difficult pieces I have produced were for an exhibition entitled 10 Dresses for a 10 year old Girl. It was a collaborative show, working with my partner, David Freud. The works were narrative pieces telling the stories about significant moments in David’s life; revisiting some difficult times was sometimes painful and a tough process for both of us. The exhibition was dedicated to David’s daughter, Violet, who he doesn’t have any contact with – she was 10 years old at the time. More recently, I had a death mask made of my close friend Sally Brampton, who committed suicide after a long struggle with depression; it is part of an interpretation of The Tree of Death. While it was a difficult piece to produce, it helped in my process of grieving and loss. It is on display as part of our current exhibition, Our Nature, from poetic to grotesque.
What is your favourite piece?
My favourite piece is a 3D-printed corset made in collaboration with Sophie Jelinek and Nick Crouch of Andiamo. Sophie is my partner in art crime and works as technical coordinator in the Textiles department at the London College of Fashion. Andiamo is a young company producing 3D-printed alternatives to NHS-issue back, arm and leg braces. It is pioneering and important work (andiamo.io). Our corset is a beautiful piece of sculpture where art meets science.
What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?
My proudest artistic achievement was being brave enough to call myself an artist and becoming artist in residence at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.
What is the inspiration behind your current exhibition, Our Nature, from poetic to grotesque?
The idea and inspiration behind the theme of this exhibition is asking the audience to examine the blurred lines between beauty and beast in human nature and the natural world.
Where can we see your work?
Our current exhibition, Our Nature, from poetic to grotesque, is at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery until November 5th. Freud, Friends and Family, an exhibition we have curated that includes an etching by Lucian Freud, is at the Norwood Gallery in Worthing Museum until Spring 2017.