29 Aug Creative Womxn: Nicola West & Georgina Gratrix answer Proust’s infamous questionnaire
Neither can remember the precise occasion on which they first met, but artist Georgina Gratrix and fashion designer Nicola West had been eyeing each others’ flamboyant dress sense out for sometime before they finally met. In addition to Nicola’s idiosyncratic style, Georgina was drawn to her laughter. “You can hear Nicola laugh from across a room,” she explains, “so I always know when she is around.” And while Nicola cuts a fine figure with her wild hair and personal style, she was in turn drawn to Georgina, in whom she perhaps recognised a kindred sartorial spirit. “I feel like I have known about George for much, much longer than I have actually known her,” Nicola says. “I have been admiring her from afar for quite some time; I was drawn to her colourful dress sense and delightful paintings. I can’t recall the first time we met, but I am very glad we did. Besides her dress sense, I love her honesty. She truly is always saying what she is thinking and I love that trait most about people. She knows what she likes and she does it and you can tell, by looking at her and her work. I love George’s world, it is interesting and colourful.”
Nicola and Georgina are both incredibly talented in their respective fields, and while they haven’t collaborated formally together before, we thought it would be fun and interesting to invite them both to collaborate in this very playful exchange for this year’s Creative Womxn series.
Playfulness is a thread that runs strongly through both Nicola’s and Georgina’s work. Nicola hand paints the fabric that she uses for her label W35T. Her approach is fluid, embracing chance and interesting mishaps that lead to other things. The subject matter of Georgina’s work is always playful with a wry, knowing sense of humour.
The following exchange is something between a response to Proust’s infamous questionnaire, a game of exquisite corpses and a boozy afternoon in studio. Nicola and Georgina chose the set of questions for themselves, answered them together over a few bottles of wine, and then each chosen five answers from the other to illustrate in their own wonderful way.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
GG: Somewhere lush, near my dog.
NW: Close to the ocean.
Near the ocean, by Georgina
This is an image of Fonzo, the love and light of her life.
What is your greatest fear?
GG: Anything involving jumping off a cliff.
NW: Talking about my greatest fear.
This is about Georgina’s fear of heights.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
GG: Not believing in secrets.
NW: Not remembering peoples’ names & spelling.
Don’t tell George a secret you don’t mind everyone knowing.
Name game, by Georgina
Which living person do you most admire?
NW: Karl Lagerfeld
This image is about Georgina’s constantly talking about being a vegetarian.
Karl, by Georgina
What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes, by Georgina
What is your current state of mind?
GG: Men are overrated.
This image is commenting on her statement that men are overrated and again her not eating meat.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
GG: Patience (no, now!)
NW: Be positive!
This is something I did with glitter that reminded me of Georgina.
On what occasion do you lie?
GG: When my trainer asks me what I had for dinner.
NW: When I sleep.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
GG: Next question!
Which living person do you most despise?
GG: Overrated men! Animal eaters!
NW: Opinionated religious types!
Religious zealots, by Georgina
Photos of Nicola and Georgina by Retha Ferguson.
Find more #CreativeWomxn features and interviews here.