Vivien Oldfield – photomontage artist
Since lockdown began, digital photomontage artist and photographer Vivien Oldfield has used the time to take her work in new directions.
Her atmospheric pieces fall between photography, print and fine art with a strong emphasis on colour and composition. She enjoys experimenting with ideas, textures and colour combinations to evoke an emotional response, while the use of intricate detail adds depth to the print’s visual poetry.
Having originally studied textile design, Vivien worked in gallery management and public relations before deciding to focus on her artwork in 2015. She also took a Diploma in Photography to develop her technical skills: “I’ve taken photographs of things that inspire me for many years. My camera is my sketch book – it enables me to capture a scene or moment I want to record. And while I first used Photoshop as a digital darkroom, its ever-expanding range of features has opened endless possibilities for artistic expression.”
Since then, Vivien has developed a unique style of working to produce digital artworks with a timeless yet contemporary feel: “I layer and combine multiple original photographs from my collection in Photo-shop Creative Cloud. Having chosen the primary photograph, I ‘embed’ a second layer and experiment with the software’s tools and blending techniques. Some composites involve selecting and pasting details from other photographs, while overlays of textures can be added to create a painterly feel.”
Many of Vivien’s prints are inspired by the coast, countryside and gardens of the southeast which she photographs throughout the seasons. More recently they have featured elements of disused industrial buildings discovered on lockdown walks.
“Since moving to Rye in the summer of 2019, we have so many inspiring places on the doorstep to photograph. Dungeness has an other-worldly quality with its slowly decomposing abandoned boats and looming power station. Romney Marsh exudes a mysterious ‘Great Expectations’ feel and Hastings old town by the Stade is steeped in character with its net sheds and colourful fishing boats.”
Although disappointed to see so many exhibitions cancelled in 2020, she thinks one upside of the restrictions is the emergence of virtual exhibitions along with the increased use of Zoom, online courses and social media. “They say necessity is the mother of invention. Hopefully we can combine the best of these technologies with more established methods of working and exhibiting in the future.”
Vivien’s work can be seen on her website www.vivienoldfieldart.com and is available at a number of galleries and outlets in the southeast.
pictured at top: Vivien Oldfield ‘In the Pink’ (detail)