Anthony Stevens is a self-taught artist whose work is inspired by life experience. His work could be said to be a narrative that he uses to process previous traumatic life events and the after-effects of these. He works predominantly in fabric and hand stitching, or marker pens and card and has been avidly creating for the past three years; however, the urge to create has visibly strengthened in the last four to five months.
Although Anthony’s work tends to be about externalising inner dynamics, he quite often uses art alongside his Buddhist practise to understand and re-frame his life experiences so that he is able to use them as a source of value and growth. He says of his recent practice: “It feels like I am entering a new phase of life, one that is self-created and which I am happy to step into..I feel very much alive.”
Below, Anthony talks through some of his more recent work.
“‘Things are getting better” is about my (or humanities) habit of listening to all of those negative inner voices that stop us enjoying the freedom and goodness inherent in each moment.”
“This piece is done in marker peens and oil pastels and was inspired by a memory I had. It is my version of ‘ignoring the elephant in the room’ syndrome.”
“The series entitled ‘Catholic chanting to Gohonzon’ is heavily influenced by my Buddhist practise and represent how the past and things that lay hidden in the mind can interfere with us being able to see how things ‘really are’.”
“This piece is about a period in my life when I was trying to gain control over myself and the general chaos of my life by engaging in disordered eating. Living with this part of the psyche in control is like living with a dictator whose will must be obeyed at all costs! Ambivalence towards the mother figure is often regarded in Psychoanalysis as a major contributory factor in disordered eating, hence the title.”
“This work is about psychosis and how the voices that I thought were God actually came from a far more ‘earthly’ place. This is about me examining the origins of delusion and the role psychosis has in trying to tell a valuable story, and understanding its language. I used marker pen and card to create this.”
“‘Making soup’ is about searching within for all the things we need to make our lives rich and nourishing. The different fabrics used represent differing aspects and influence from personal and social culture (the pink and yellow is about punk ‘DIY’ culture, and the stripes represent duality, sleep/waking, life and death.”