Diane Watson

Diane Watson exhibited ‘Latest Edition’ with Navigator North Project in 2018 at Hartlepool Art Gallery

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 we will be revisiting some of the fantastic female artists we have had the pleasure to showcase in Hartlepool Art Gallery. We caught up with Diane Watson to see what inspires her and learn about what have been up to since exhibiting with us.

What inspires you/your work?

I am inspired by many different things but mostly my environment, my recent work is a reaction to environmental concerns and pollution of the sea in particular. I take inspiration from the things I find on the beach and the significance of these objects. My response is to raise awareness of plastic pollution, by 2050 there will be as much plastic in the sea as fish. I collect and curate the thousands of plastic items I find washed up along the north east coastline.

What do you intend to get across through your work?

I seduce the viewer with abstract shapes and patterns, once I have captured their attention the images unravel, and you start to recognise the strange array of objects. My aim is to provoke a reaction to ongoing environmental issues such as the pollution of our oceans and waterways, raising temperatures and sea levels. Although the patterns have their own aesthetic value their beauty is also repulsive. By using photography, print, and installation my work challenges the viewer to inspect these objects in an unfamiliar context

What have you been up to since your exhibition with us?

Since I exhibited at Hartlepool Art Gallery in 2019 with my exhibition ‘There is no Away’ I have produced work for MIMA’s Fragile Earth exhibition and I was commissioned to make new work for Durham Lumiere. Lockdown has meant that lots of projects are currently on hold but hopefully a new exhibition of my work will be exhibited at Durham Gala Gallery in late September, and I also have a piece of work in the Baltics fist open call exhibition. I am currently working with recycled fishing line and ghost net, making my own thread to be used in embroidery and knitting. I am currently exploring one of the largest polluters, the fishing industry. Annual estimates of the amount of fishing net dumped or lost at sea are thought to be between 640,000 and 800,000 tonnes, 46% of ocean pollution is thought to come from the fishing industry. I have collected a large amount of ghost net (discarded fishing line) and want to use this to create new work that explores both traditional fishing and raises questions about modern industrial fishing practices.

Who are your biggest female influencer’s in the art world or other?

I am influenced by female artist from many different art forms, I am interested in the way artists interpret the world around them and how they communicate their ideas to an audience. I am influenced by attitude so Patti Smith is one of my favourite female artists and performers as is Maggi Hambling. I admire their no compromising attitude to their work. 

What would you say to the next generation of female artists?

Be who you want to be and have something to say!

How, if anything, has your work changed over time?

My own work has taken many different forms over the years, I have always created for as long as I can remember drawing as a child was my escape. I have a degree in Pottery and Textiles I don’t like to stick to one medium or way of working. My work changes depending on how I feel and what I want to communicate. I only wish I had some musical talent too as I would like to be in a rock band really!! Throwing pots and playing the drums!!