My name is Lil Brookes. I set up my small business “Gatekeeper Art” in 2016 when I took the big decision to go freelance. I describe myself as wearing “two hats” in my business as I work as a social historian with a community practice delivering heritage projects to a variety of groups locally in Paisley and Renfrewshire but I am also an artist. My artwork is inspired by the rich heritage of Scotland with a special interest in the vibrant colours, designs and textures of the West of Scotland’s 19th-century textile industries – the Paisley pattern and shawl making industry of Renfrewshire; the Vale of Leven’s Turkey Red dye process and Ayrshire’s lace production.
I use my passion for all things “heritage” to inspire my art practice with researching a new idea for a painting all part of the fun and adding to the “story” aspect of the finished painting with the hope that the viewer will be interested in trying to learn more about the painting or the idea behind it…! My recent paintings have all centred around trying to deconstruct the traditional view of the Paisley pattern and place the flower forms, filler designs and shapes in different contexts or to make them like “real” flowers which could be picked and placed in a vase…so viewing the traditional Paisley pattern in a different setting and possibly making us see the whole pattern more clearly…well that’s the idea anyway…! My use of rich colours such as gold, silver, bronze and copper in my work come from my interest in Byzantine art and the idea of the Paisley pattern as iconic.
I have drawn and painted for as long as I can remember and I have a body of work covering the past x10 years from when I started to paint seriously again. The painting I’ve chosen to attach with this outline is called “Paisley Goes Dutch” and was shown at the recent PAI exhibition and I hope it illustrates what I’ve said above.
The painting takes flowers and motif elements from traditional 19th century Paisley pattern designs and places them in a vase in a way that is reminiscent of and pays affectionate homage to work created by 18th-century Dutch floral artists. Seeing the traditional Paisley pattern in a different way…!