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Lu Sutton

'As an artist born and raised in West Yorkshire, I have a lot of experience of the attitudes of Northerners, as well as the external attitudes of others towards us. When I first came to University, it was the first thing people noticed about me - my accent described me before I could even start.'

The focus of Lu Sutton's work is how the Northern Identity can be depicted by an underlying feeling of otherness, whether that be the lack of social and economic opportunities, the cultural and political differences or the physical landscape. The personalities of the individuals that have developed in response to these environments are what raised her and helped shape her as a person as well as an artist.

The form with which she chooses to depict these ideas is large watercolour paintings. Inspired by contemporary Swiss artist, Uwe Wittwer, her process involves using projected photography as a means to layer up journalistic imagery of Northern life in a way that creates ambiguity and disquiet in the viewer, ultimately aiming to create some discomfort in its composition as a way of showing the viewer how it can feel to have the only tyke accent in the room.

Sutton switches between watercolours, Indian ink and reduced red wine as the fragility of water-based media is very important to her aesthetic: creating images that are almost ghost-like in appearance to mirror the invisibility felt by those left behind in Tory austerity in post-Thatcher mining towns, like the artist herself. And of course, the £3 red wine is an important symbol of friendly Northern values.

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'Shaky Wakey', watercolour, ink and red wine on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).
'Shaky Wakey', watercolour, ink and red wine on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).
'Shaky Wakey', watercolour, ink and red wine on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).
'The Old Grocers', watercolour and ink on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).
'The Old Grocers', watercolour and ink on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).
'The Old Grocers', watercolour and ink on paper, [152.4 x 121.92 cm] (2020).

Lu Sutton

Northern-ness as Otherness.

'Poetry Cafe', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020). Details inverted.
'Poetry Cafe', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020). Details inverted.
'Poetry Cafe', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020). Details inverted.
'Give Us Twos?', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Give Us Twos?', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Give Us Twos?', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Ruskin, Isaac and Dad', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Ruskin, Isaac and Dad', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Ruskin, Isaac and Dad', watercolour and ink on paper, [42 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'But They're Usually Red, Right?', acrylic, watercolour and water-soluble graphite on paper, [42.0 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'But They're Usually Red, Right?', acrylic, watercolour and water-soluble graphite on paper, [42.0 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'But They're Usually Red, Right?', acrylic, watercolour and water-soluble graphite on paper, [42.0 x 59.4cm] (2020).
'Cutsyke Road', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Cutsyke Road', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Cutsyke Road', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Lancaster Station', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Lancaster Station', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Lancaster Station', water-soluble graphite on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'They're Banning Menthols', red wine on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'They're Banning Menthols', red wine on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'They're Banning Menthols', red wine on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Morcambe Grey', watercolour on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Morcambe Grey', watercolour on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
'Morcambe Grey', watercolour on paper, [21 x 29.7cm] (2019).
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LICA 2020