We speak to Estella Castle, who is currently taking part in Lake Island, an artist residency at DegreeArt in East London. Coming from a drawing and painting background, Estella is influenced by aristocracy in her work. Here she explains how she has managed to apply her own skill set towards a log cabin installation. Estella elaborates on how it's been working alongside fellow artists, Mark Morgan Dunstan, James Mansfield and Martha Beaumont.
You're collaborating with three other artists, have you learned anything more from each other that hadn't previously arisen on other projects together?
Yes. While we all studied together at City and Guilds Art School doing our Masters course, the residency has allowed us to work together more closely on a specific project.
When you were all planning the residency what did you personally want to get out of the Lake Island project?
Perhaps one of the main things for me was the opportunity to make a large-scale installation and to incorporate this into my own art practice.
There is an antiquity about your work, where do you gather your inspiration from?
At the moment I draw on a wide range of interests from British culture, including Old Master paintings (such as Stubbs and Reynolds) and aspects of rural aristocratic life.
Are there any artists old or new that you are inspired by?
While I often reference 18th Century painters, I am more influenced by books like Ghosts of the Trianon in which two women experience a time slip into the time of Marie Antoinette.
What elements of your practice have you put into the installation at DegreeArt?
I have been making paintings to provide a historical context for the installation.
How have you found it, coming from a more drawing and painting background, working on a physical installation?
It has made me realise that since I started studying art I had stopped making objects. Learning how to chisel and create the notches in the logs used to slot the cabin together was physically satisfying and allowed me to consider the physical aspects of painting practice.
Coming from New Zealand and living in London, would you say this has any affect on the work you produce?
Growing up in New Zealand, there weren’t really many European Old Master paintings on display in galleries. So coming to London gave me the opportunity to see first-hand the paintings, which I had only experienced in reproductions, such as Rembrandt and Singer Sergeant. I am interested in the slippage between my previous view of these paintings being flat and one layered to the physical objects I encountered in British galleries.
Your piece, Master of the Horse, is quite a contrast to your drawing work, and is on a large scale, what was it like to produce this work and do you intend to make more large-scale paintings such as this?
I wanted to make a series of paintings typical of the genres seen in country homes. Rather than making paintings that are works on their own, I intend them to be viewed as a group in an installation. I wish to create a context around my interest in tropes of English paintings, which were intended to be hung in English rural stately homes and have subsequently ended up in public galleries.