Since 2013, Sara Downham-Lotto has been using as the starting point for her own painting, artwork made by participants in her workshops. All of her collages incorporate sections of collaborative murals from past sessions with broad-ranging groups: art college film students; 10 year old boys from intervention services; a local web design company; hoards of secondary school children; refugees; dancers; rehabilitated youth offenders. Deconstructed, reworked, cut up, reconstructed and overpainted, the pieces take on a new life that holds all the parts together more harmoniously, earlier layers revealing the workings of the orginal creators.
The idea came during an AA2A residency at Plymouth College of Art when Sara was given the opportunity to fill a large empty area of the drawing, painting and printmaking space of the college with “tide marks of paint”. The brief: to energise a programme space shared by printmakers on the one side and drawers and painters on the other. She called it the Tide Mark Project. Walls and floor were the canvas on which passing students were invited to make their mark with pots of paint and household brushes, intuitively responding to colours and shapes that had been made before them. Working with children from local schools and students within the art college, Sara guided the collaborative transformation of a pristine white space into chaotic fileds of colour and random forms.
Once ‘the party was over’, Sara set to work on her own, turning the chaos into a unified whole by reworking and layering, painting out and stencilling over. This upcycling resulted in an identifiable Sara Downham-Lotto artwork, but with visible layers of other’s work underneath.
‘All sorts (open door)’ 122 cm x 122cm * mixed media on paper * SOLD * started in June 2016 by VU Online and Anna Donaldson * completed by Sara in November 2017