Benjamin Murphy talks to Twinkle Troughton

Twinkle Troughton has taken part in both the Art on a Postcard Secret Auction's 2014 & 15.  She'll be a returning artist this year and has a card in the current Summer Postcard Lottery  Benjamin Murphy caught up with her last week for a chat.

BM - For those that might not know, please explain who you are and what you do?

TT – I am a painter living and working in Margate and I am compelled as an artist to understand why we fail to learn from the mistakes we have made throughout history. My work is also inspired by current political issues, and at present I am exploring this through ancient fables, connecting the relevance of these moralistic stories with the present day.

My latest body of work has been looking at war and the complexities of revolution, and in particular the Syrian crisis through a story called The Frogs Who Desired a King. The Frogs wanted a new leader and in the end were eaten up by King Stork for their troubles.

The moral of this fable is to be careful what you wish for and King Louis XIV is thought to have favored the moral to encourage citizens to let the status quo go unchallenged. Although I don’t believe we should be scared to wish for something different, it’s a lot easier to shout ‘yeah revolution!’ from the safety of a country where we don’t get persecuted for it.

To me the frogs in the story are similar to the Syrian’s who wanted a peaceful revolution. In the end their country was ravaged and they have suffered dreadfully for wanting something better than they already had.

I actually also think The Frogs Who Desired a King strikes an incredible parallel with what has happened in Britain post-Brexit and what could happen with Trump in the US.

BM - Have you always been so creative?

TT – Yes definitely. It’s something that I have just wanted to be and do from as young as I can remember. I have early memories of copying some of my dad’s paintings while he worked. At school it was always one of the subjects I cared most about, and by the time I was around 18years old I had a passionate temperament from giving it my all to tearing up or trying to burn paintings I wasn’t happy with!

BM – Please tell the readers about some of your ‘Art Stunts’ that you create with alongside fellow AasPC artist Tinsel Edwards.

TT – Myself and Tinsel have been friends since we were 9 years old. We used to collaborate on ideas even then! When we moved to London we were part of a group called The Fairies with Tinky and Sparkle who wore wings everywhere we went whilst granting wishes. But we were loved and hated in equal measures, even though we had a positive message. So we used documentation of other people’s reactions towards us to create a collaborative degree show at our respective universities.

That work we did together has morphed in to other projects over recent years and now we concoct interactive performance based ideas, often in response to a current political topic. Recent projects include The Clowns of Jestminster where we asked people to Feed Farage Foreign Food and Hook a Politician Duck for arty prizes. We also once dressed as traffic wardens and fined cars in London with what looked like a ticket but were actually artworks. We got booed and chased a lot that day!

BM – Your work is often politically charged, what effect do you think the UK’s current political climate will have on the arts?

TT – I think it’s probably a double edged sword. On the one hand, the arts are tragically struggling, as it isn’t considered value for money by a government who regularly fail to see the value of anything that doesn’t have pound signs written all over it (and by arts, I don’t mean the art market). It’s been clear to see the arts aren’t a priority for the Tories who seem to undermine the arts by lessening it’s importance within our education system or cutting funding from museums and arts organisations for example.

On the other hand, artists can often find immense inspiration and energy to make powerful work in reaction to testing times like these. Art provides a different viewpoint on the world, often without using words, which is why it can have such impact. Politically we are surrounded by noise be it in on the news, online or in the papers, but with art you have the breathing space to consider what you are looking at.

Artists also often have to find new ways to exist and make work during climates like this, and during the contradictory era of an austerity Britain which has seen London bloat with wealth, artists are having to find new places to live and work. This I think is one of the only positives of what happened to London, that the creativity will now be seeping even further in to other areas of the country.

BM - What made you want to get involved with Art On A Postcard?

TT- I think whatever we are good at in this life, it’s really important to share what you can do. I also think what Gemma has achieved with Art on a Postcard is incredible, not only by raising funding to help eradicate and cure the virus, but also by bringing a subject like Hepatitis C to people’s attention and helping to educate and destigmatise.

BM - What other exciting things are you working on at the moment?TT – I have just had a solo show at Hantverk & Found in Margate where I exhibited a selection of paintings from my Frogs Who Desired a King work. I’ve got a few uncooked ideas in my mind about what I’d like to do next so it’s probably best I don’t start blabbing about them yet. So for now, my excitement is going to be focused back in the studio again, continuing with exploring paint, politics and fables!

BM – Where can we find out more about your work?

TT – My website is a good place and my blog has a more in depth look at what I do 

To have a chance to win Twinkle's card buy your lottery ticket HERE

About the writer

Benjamin Murphy is an artist who primarily creates delicate figurative works using black electrical tape. As well as this, he regularly writes about contemporary art. He lives and works in London.