Custard, By Electra Costa

Custard, By Electra Costa


My work is concerned with the idea of images and objects appearing innocent and harmless, but they can also be interpreted in a more sinister way. When we first look at an object or image it is already etched with our own personal meaning. That meaning is impossible to remove; it is permanently fixed in our memory. Different people will interpret the same sensory stimulus in different ways, based on who they are and the background factors that influence what they do or do not notice. I have tried to explore this idea by questioning our sometimes romanticised and wholesome views of the past and evoking lost childhood innocents, through the use of found vintage images and objects such as childhood toys and vintage pornography. My main medium is blackboard and soft pastel which has the appearance of being easily wiped away and to disappear forever representing the fragility of childhood innocence and of the past. I manipulate aspects of my work by using contrasting images, adding colour to a mostly black and white work or taking away parts leaving the viewer to fill in the gaps. This ambiguity is intended to unsettle the viewer. I sometimes use humour to create a reaction but it comes from the darkest end of the comic spectrum. The images are both comfortably familiar and deeply unsettling. I explore the idea of nostalgia and the desire for a time that never actually existed.
I have created this piece using a vintage found photograph of children posing for a school photograph taken in the 70s. This seemingly wholesome appearance is changed by leaving out parts of the image giving an ambiguity to the drawing leaving the viewer to feel in the gapes. This gives a sinister undercurrent to the work and a sense of lost childhood innocents.

  • Materials: Mixed Media

  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 100 × 144 × 1 cm

  • Primary Medium: Drawing

  • Year Created: 2009

  • Is the work framed?: Yes

  • Ready To Hang/ Display?: Requires Framing or Mounting

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