"deeply personal creations… born of a fascination with street photography, psychogeography, people and signage" - Print Club
"visually arresting mixed media collages using photography, paint and print" - Art Republic
'The Power' : One of two prints released by D'Stassi Art.
Bonnie and Clyde is a contemporary British artist, whose mixed media collage and print-work centers around scenes of the urban imagary. Crossing medium and type, Bonnie and Clyde's work takes the form of limited edition screen-prints, mixed media originals on paper, wood and canvas as well as 3D pieces. Employing a blend of photography, collage and paint, the emotive art of Bonnie and Clyde explores the psychogeography of the metropolis, immersing the viewer in beautiful and bizarre cityscapes.
Steph Burnley (the creative spark behind Bonnie and Clyde) studied 3D design at Kingston University, before setting up her own graphic design business in Manchester. It was in Brighton, however, that her passion for photography and graphics fused in the art of screen-printing: a practice that became the cornerstone of her distinctive, collage aesthetic.
"The Power is from photos I took in Venice and Santa Monica LA with a tree taken on a Mexico beach after a stormy day. Although small for one of my works It feels an imposing piece . It's based around the theory that we are all made of energy and we have as much power as we allow - the idea that power of one connected to source is greater than millions. Good Day is a piece from a few years ago. This represents the title - good day - when everything is beautiful - even those things that seem broken and a little run down - it all makes for a beautiful life. They are both a celebration of who we are." - Bonnie and Clyde on her Spotlight works.
The two limited edition works that Steph has created for her D'Stassi Art Spotlight collaboration are endlessly intriguing, filled with more wonder with every view. Texture and detail is packed in, with elements colliding joyfully - showcasing the eclectic nature of her process. They will be available only via the Spotlight Store - on a short run.
D'Stassi Art directors Edward Sanders and Michael Howes with Steph (Bonnie and Clyde).
DA: At what point did you know that art was your path?
"I was always artistic and creative as a kid but followed a maths and physics path at school so went down the design route to bring those two sides together studying 3D Design at Kingston Uni. To get onto the course I had to do an art foundation in Bradford which was fantastic for me. I realised early on painting and making art was what brought me joy but it took years to get to the place where I was frustrated enough with the constraints of design projects to make the leap."
DA: How has your work evolved throughout your career?
"It definitely feels like a journey. After my 3D degree finished I suffered from anxiety so moved from London to Manchester to be with my friends and I taught myself graphic design which enabled me to design and work from home. I was on the music and club scene there so did a lot of club flyers and then design projects for the cultural industries. I worked on festival campaigns for arts venues and also did a bit of portrait photography for music magazines which was terrifying but exciting as I always felt an imposter. I then started my own online tee shirt and casual/street fashion brand. I learnt a lot from my mistakes and missed opportunities and also learnt how to screen print."
"When I moved to Brighton I was still doing web and graphic design but went on a screen printing course and with a lot of good timing and focus I started selling my work through Artrepublic (now Ener Gallery) which champions local artists and has helped build my and many artists careers. My work changed a lot after a year and an amazing trip to Havana when I then decided to concentrate on using my own photos, having architecture and places as the basis of the work rather than people. I started making mixed media originals and creating a screen print alongside these to reach a different audience. I started working with a professional fine art screen print company Harwood King to produce these prints with me . This still continues, adapting to challenges and developing my work further, which has allowed me to work in screen printed 3D projects and with larger works for commercial projects."
"When I began to work with Liberty Gallery they showed around the UK and internationally for me which gave an avenue for selling more originals, holding exhibitions whilst attracting new audiences. I had really developed my style by this point and was making large collage landscapes using my photography."
DA: Could you tell us about your process, and why your work feels so unique?
"I like to take photographs on my travels - or anytime I remember. I use this catalogue of memories as a starting block and my usual process is to create the work by building the image first on the computer from a mix of photographs and other textures and colour blocks I have stored previously. Then using straight painting mixed with printing onto painted sheets of Japanese paper I build the collage. I find I am enjoying working more with painting at the moment which changes the feel of the pieces. I then make the collage into a print combining the collage and the computer artwork which lends itself to the layers of glosses and additions. I think it feels unique as I combine my past experience in the various creative disciplines in the artworks and my love for street scenes, materials, colour and processes. They are labour intensive and I enjoy the hands-on making method, I really get stuck in and play music to work to. My heart and emotional responses to the places I visit make them personal but I love it when people find a common connection to them."
D'Stassi Art: Bonnie and Clyde editions being made.
DA: Who are your biggest influences, art-wise?
"So many really. A joint Basquiat / Warhol show I saw really inspired me to make art. I also used to visit the Hockney Gallery in Salts Mill often as a teenager which went into my psyche on many levels - I still love visiting there. I love Christo and Jean Claude and Ray & Charles Eames. I think the strengths of two people working together and their combined visions can create something magical. I also love the Memphis artist Nathalie de Pasquier. When possible I enjoy visiting Venice Biennale and seeing amazing works from so many great artists. Such an inspiring place to visit."
DA: How do you feel the art world differs in Brighton from other parts of the UK?
"Brighton is a kind and open place. I think there are opportunities for making and living through your art and it's really close to London, the hub of the UK art scene. Brighton desperately needs a good Contemporary Art Gallery though which I'd love to be involved with one day."
DA: Do you believe Brighton bleeds into your art? Does it have an impact on the way you create?
"I love the vibe of cities by the sea. I think this definitely bleeds into my work. Brighton also has an edge to it which is often present in my work. My studio is in the North Laine area and I can see a lot of life through my window!"
DA: Your work definitely has a global feel, are there particular landscapes and cultures that influence your work?
"I love visiting places and I think I take a piece of each and translate it into the work. Visually I prefer the colours and feel of a multicultural creative foody more celebratory cosmopolitan area like LA, Mexico, New York, Barcelona but I take different inspiration from all places. For example I really loved the barren volcanic landscapes of Reykjavik and Lanzarote and Dungeness as a backdrop to an artwork too. Some of my favourite pieces are from places I find challenging."
'Good Day' : One of two prints released by D'Stassi Art.
DA: Could you give us a little bit of background on the two prints?
The Power is from photos I took in Venice and Santa Monica LA with a tree taken on a Mexico beach after a stormy day. Although small for one of my works It feels an imposing piece. It's based around the theory that we are all made of energy and we have as much power as we allow - the idea that power of one connected source is greater than millions. Good Day is a piece from a few years ago. This represents the title - good day - when everything is beautiful - even those things that seem broken and a little run down - it all makes for a beautiful life. They are both a celebration of who we are.
Steph (Bonnie and Clyde).
DA: What drew you to working with D'Stassi Art?
"When Ed and Mike contacted me during lockdown it felt right. They are passionate about art and artists and it's nice to be part of that kind of energy. I look forward to where we go together."
DA: What helps you stay creative?
sea, fizz and meditation.
The D'Stassi Art team.