Jessie Growden

What’s your background?

I grew up between a garden centre in the North of England and a commercial forest in the South of Scotland, while generally not having much fun at school until I got in with the drama crowd. I completed a BA (Hons) in design for textiles in the Scottish Borders in 2014, the same year I was introduced to moving image and artists’ film. While I enjoyed designing, I found myself too cynical about the culture of low quality, exploitative fashion and unwilling to move to London to pursue a career in it. I worked for Alchemy Film & Arts between 2016 – 2019 while developing my own video based practice, which is informed greatly by my compulsion to write a journal and catalogue the world, and experiences of the locations and situations I find myself in.

What influences you artistically?

The urge to document and catalogue, to study and understand these places, cultures and landscapes we’re in. Recently I’ve been investigating the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Women are still discouraged from taking part in some traditional aspects of the culture here, and I want to question that in my work from my position of being an insider and an outsider.

How do you start a new work?

It really varies – sometimes I start with an idea, and plan what I’m going to film, then go out to systematically gather the footage. Other times I work with things I already have, or make more spontaneously. I almost always print screenshots of all the sequences I have intended for the project, and do a first edit through those before I take a video into any kind of production. There’s always a lot of note-taking and scribbling of thoughts throughout.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a project about the trees in a woodland I’ve spent a lot of time in throughout my life. Many of the trees were damaged during storm Arwen and other weather this winter, and I’ve been investigating the angles they’ve fallen to, and am experimenting with using film to put them back the right way up.

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