Michelle Williams Gamaker

What’s your background?

I have a background in Fine Art, which I studied a BA and for a practice-based PhD. I also participated in a 2-year residency in Amsterdam, de ateliers, which gave me a great deal of time to think and make. The experience radically changed my practice, and for some years I worked almost exclusively experimenting with documentary. For this reason I did an MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths.

What influences you artistically?

I love cinema in all its forms, I was shaped by watching a lot of TV growing up and on my BA, accessed experimental video, which I think has influenced a lot of my thinking around moving image and its structure and tone. I am also influenced by the innovations of many artists who, like me were not schooled in film school, but find their visual language and message through other means. I look at painting and listen to film scores when I am in the studio.

How do you start a new work?

I read around the subject I am researching, looking for nuggets of facts that might send me in the right direction. I collage images together to see if things make sense. I begin casting characters, and once I have met a potential actor, I can start to write my script, with this person in mind. I then weave in my background research and once a script is in place, I start to sketch and storyboard my ideas. The challenge is transforming the text into something that translates visually as well as conceptually.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a new commission for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, a moving image project called ‘The Silver Wave’, which will be exhibited in May 2020. I am also working on a solo show The End of the River for Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds in November 2020.

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