Artist Watch: Baroness Von Reichardt

Onwards to Chiswick, London where Baroness Von Reichardt (aka Carrie and used ironically of course) has been mosaicing her home one piece at a time. Her mosaics caught my eye a while back now, not long after I first joined flickr. What really stopped me was the fact that she combines her political persuasions in her art, and pulls it off with such aplomb! I really don’t think it’s an easy thing to do.

Carrie graduated from Leeds University with a fine arts degree. She specialised in creating art projects for schools and councils – not necessarily a breeding ground for free interpretation of design. Her creative freedom came about when she started working on her own home and thus The Treatment Rooms was born. With an interest in Outsider and Visionary art as well as graffiti and with partner “Mr Spunky” by her side, Carrie set about creating her own fantasy world. “I liked the idea that on this quaint little street in Chiswick something as incongruous as a house completely covered in mosaic art might exist.”

What we see come through are her strong political persuasions as well as an immense amount of passionate empathy. I, for one, love the message in her art. Her beliefs lie strongly in the cathartic value of art more than the monetary value of art. {Hear Hear!}

Before having found mosaics, Carrie suffered from extreme clinical depression, to the point of near hospitalisation. Mosaics brought her back from that brink and it was at around the same time that she had read something in the Big Issue asking for people to write death row inmates as a humanitarian gesture. She did and what resulted, other than an enormous amount of respect and perspective in Life, was life changing. “… no matter how bad you may feel at least you’re not incarcerated and awaiting execution.”

“One of the inmates I wrote was Luis Ramirez. After Luis’ execution, I started mosaicing for eight hours a day. The wall around the back garden is in memory of him, whom I believe was innocent and unjustly convicted for murder. Today, I have five pen pals on Death Row.”

“My correspondence with Luis was my introduction to the horrors of the American criminal justice system. Most people have no idea how awful Death Row really is. They don’t realize how arbitrary so call “justice” is. Luis once told me that “captial punishment means, those with no capital get punished.” I see the death penalty in America as a continued form of lynching, just now they kill the poor along with the blacks.”

Her obsessive compulsive tendencies have also lead her to have one of the most extensive collections of vintage ceramic decals. Carrie spent many years trying to figure out the techinque of transferring her own designs onto ceramic. What culminated was a technique of layering images, using a combination of homemade, vintage and digital ceramic decals (transfers) that she sources from across the globe and is slowly tiling the entire inside of her house with.

The Baroness’ art has been featured in a diverse selection of publications, including Raw Vision, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Nude, Tile and Stone, Grout, Westside, The Londonist, Abort, Mozake, That’s Life and Soho House magazine.

Passionate, articulate and incredibly talented… we need more artists like her. I’m looking forward to a visit to the UK in the next year or two and the Treatment Rooms are high on my landmarks to visit.

More pics on the Carrie’s flickr site as well as Treatment Rooms’ flickr site.

Fight for you right to be arty

Front Entrance of Treatment Rooms

Luis Ramirez Mural Detail

Mayan God Dancing

Hula Hula Girl

Flying Eyeballs

Wave

Carrie Reichardt

Jackie Sumell, Robert King and The Baroness after the back wall was unveiled on Summer Soltice, June 21st 2008.
Robert King has spent 29 years in solitary confinment, before being exonerated in 2001. He is the only freed member of the Angola3.

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4 Comments

Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Building, Carrie Reichardt, Europe, Female, Flickr, Graffiti, Inspiration, Leeds, London, Mosaic, Murals, Politics, Portraiture, Protest, Public Art, Round the World, Tile Art, Travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, Urban

4 responses to “Artist Watch: Baroness Von Reichardt

  1. Kim

    This is a great post. I’m glad I discovered it. Thanks Kim for showing this to us.

  2. Once again, great writing Kim! Thanks for the introduction to this amazing artist! Her work is mind blowing & totally inspirational!

  3. That wall is amazing! Thanks for the links.

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