From Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Kayleigh Whanstall is a 23-year-old who is passionate about entertainment and art. Currently studying for a Masters in Arts Journalism, she uses her blog to showcase her journalistic skills.
Check out her post below or visit her website.
In this post, Kayleigh profiles artist Erica Mallery-Blythe.
As a young girl, Erica Mallery-Blythe had a real passion for drawing but unfortunately she was put off after being forced to repeatedly draw teddy bears and fruit bowls in school. She did also note that it may have been somewhat to do with the teacher that she was taught by that put her off.
When Erica was faced with the choice of her A-levels, she found herself torn between the subject of science and art. This was a difficult decision for her as she had a passion for both but she decided that she would pursue a career in medicine. Although she chose to take up a profession in medicine, Erica’s passion for art did not stop and she drew in her spare time throughout her medical degree. Erica is still an active medical doctor now but she said, “this is my passion and you cannot deny your passion in life.”
Erica was such a positive and lovely lady to meet, her passion for art throughout the interview was evident when she described art as a ‘need’. She went on to say, “I found particularly when I was studying hard with medical work, that reading intensively for a long time you just get to the point where your brain needs to do something else, it needs a rest.”
When interviewing Erica, it was not apparent that she was of a medical profession, in fact the clothes she was wearing suited herself as an artist more. The earthy colours of her art palette had transpired into her outfit with a long sleeve dark green top, a long burgundy dress and knee high brown boots to follow. Erica had floaty feathers entwined into her golden blonde hair that was luscious and long. You could see that her creative mind was fixated on certain cultural aspects in life with the repetition of colour in her wardrobe attire and her obvious choice for palette colours.
It was as if Erica was submerged in her art work by camouflage. The paintings situated behind were of golden and earthy colours. The huge paintings were organised neatly but because of their large-scale Erica appeared to be swallowed in the middle of them. Although the canvases were specifically placed into a neat and organised manner because there were so many, it seemed to take up a lot of room within the galleries space.
When asking Erica where she created her work she responded with, “everywhere, until I had the gallery it was almost exclusively at home, on the floor, in the kitchen, wherever I could find some space. Which is tricky because when you have got a family, you are juggling lots of balls and it is difficult to find somewhere to work. I have never had the luxury of having a good dedicated space. I had one house that had a huge room and it was lovely as the lighting was perfect. In the summer, I loved to create my art outside as it was really nice having natural light and now that I have the gallery I do almost all of it in here.”
Although there was a lot of clusters of her work and easels all over the place, there was no signs of paint on the floor or an artistic mess that you would expect. The gallery space was organised into different sections; some pieces were painted in bright colours and had clearly been influenced by a different stimulus.
After seeing Erica’s work, you could immediately tell that she had travelled the world and explored different cultures. A lot of her art was diverse in style, medium and colour. It showed a vast reflection of a multicultural and multi-geographical life so far.
Throughout her life she has continued to learn new artistic skills. After not choosing to do art as an a-level, Erica went on to qualify as a commercial photographer at Midlands Technical College in South Carolina learning wet film and digital photography. She has also passed her PADI qualifications in underwater photography and wreck diving. Erica went on to say, “I lived in Australia for two years and I worked at a hospital based there in the trauma department. One of the best things about it was that I was right on the barrier reef, so I used to go diving, photographing underwater and wreck photography, it was fantastic.”
When asking Erica if she had any other hobbies, it was quite shocking for her to reveal that she is not only artistically talented but she teaches Latin and salsa dance. She also went on to say that she loves cooking and that she participates in archery. Erica is a very outgoing person judging by the extensive activities that she partakes in.
After questioning Erica as to whether she had any unusual stories to tell, she went on to explain “I have a folder on my computer that not many people would normally have, entitled car disasters because I would say I am jinxed when it comes to driving. I have all these photographs of different cars and these peculiar disasters. I had a 1969 mini that I was driving through a tunnel and one of the lights fell from the roof of the tunnel, which shattered my windscreen and fell into my lap. It left so much glass hanging like a chandelier that as I came out of the tunnel, there was bright sun in front of me and it was so light in my car that I had to indicate and pull over.
“Another one that was far more spectacular was when I was moving house, I was twenty-one and I had all my twenty first birthday presents in my car, literally everything I owned. I was driving to Southampton with my flat mate from university in the passenger seat and he was holding my pet rat who I had secretly rescued from the experiment labourites at med school. Suddenly I smelt this peculiar smell and lots of people were flashing at me. Then I realised when I looked in my rear-view mirror that my parcel shelf was on fire. So, I pulled over as fast as I could and I grabbed one bag and ran with my flat mate who had the rat. When suddenly the car exploded, all the windows blew out and the individual numbers on the number plate flew off.” When waiting to interview Erica, a florist from next door came outside with a phone. It was Erica ringing to say that she was going to be late as her car battery had gone flat, she is right by saying she is jinxed with her cars however she did not let this stop her from arriving.
After meeting with Erica, we can see that she has had a very busy and fulfilled life, she also seems to be constantly broadening her experiences and horizons. She is an extremely bubbly, down to earth lady that never seems to let anything get in her way. With her artistic talent becoming more active, she is an artist that will be one to look out for in the near future.
Written by Kayleigh Whanstall