Amy ‘Synth’ Elizabeth Kingsmill
Amy Kingsmill is performance artist who moved to London in 2009 to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s. She has been exploring the fetish scene along the way with her artistic style and practice.
Hey Amy thanks for joining me today!
Hey, you’re welcome!
You moved to London in 2009, where are you from originally?
I’m from the South coast, in Portsmouth, it is such a small town, I just had to leave and live somewhere bigger! Somewhere that was more creative and more accepting. I think a lot of people who move to London, come from smaller towns and they get exposed to the attitudes of others who don’t understand those who dress differently, or alternatively and when you arrive in London, there is that amazing feeling I didn’t even expect to happen! I think people here are just too busy, doing their own shit, to care if you do look like a freak! [laughs]
The feeling of being a girl skin-head, or having tattoo’s or piercings it doesn’t matter and the feeling is very liberating.
What made your move to London to study & what are you studying?
I have just graduated! I was studying at Saint Martin’s University of Fine Arts and when I applied I had no idea it was such a big deal to be accepted there! But it worked for me and I didn’t realise how much I would fall in love with London until I got here, as there is so much opportunity here and creative space, that you really aren’t as fortunate as you are here.
You have been in the Alternative/Fetish scene for many years now, what drew you to this scene?
I went to my first fetish club when I was 18 for my birthday, dressed as a fetish unicorn, and one of the main reasons I stayed in the scene is just how much space you are given to dressing creatively and able to experiment on your body and I was doing that a lot before I realised I could incorporate it into my fine art work.
It is exciting to be in a place where you can party and still be around those who do express themselves so artistically.
When did you start to perform and model?
I first started to model when I was 15, I seen some alternative clothing magazines and thought ‘I’m sure I could do better than that!’ [laughs] There always seemed to be showing grumpy girls! So, I decided to get into modelling and experiment with my posing and costumes to produce some interesting photos.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Hmm…sometimes it’s just spaced around what I have around me! It like one of the pieces we are going to shoot today, I found the frame that was just going to be thrown away and I thought ‘that’s going to be an outfit!’ [laughs] Othertimes, it can simply be putting a twist on something that I have seen somewhere else and sometimes I have no idea what im going to wear until the day & just put something today. I like shapes, sculpture shapes and work out what would look good on the body, where some looks work aound the character and breaking bounderies.
What exhibitions have you worked/performed at?
I’ve been really lucky and while studying in London I became friends with a lot of people who were already involved in galleries and I’ve been able to exhibit throughout my time here.
I guess, it started at the Resistance Gallery and most recently it’s been at Saint Martins and then I did a collaboration performance with Justin Snyder, who is an amazing pianist, which was a really exciting piece for me to work on, as he played the piano I was attached to the piano by rope and hooks through my body and as he played the piano, there was a thin plastic sheet covering me so as he played I slowly reacted to the music and was eventually thrashing myself against the floor with the hooks still in my body. It was a really amazing performance to be involved with, with a wonderful intimate audience who showed a lot of support, which made the experience very special to me.
How would you describe your look and work to others?
In regards to my work with costumes on the body, I often get compared to artists such as Lee Bowery and others who have worked in the past with strong costumes to create their images and it exciting to be in that with the history behind you. I’ve also enjoyed meeting others such as Marnie Scarlet…as you know [me… laughs yeh!] and people like her have so much inspiration going on, it’s not just based on others who have done some similar things, it’s more the wonderful people you get to meet who all have the same inspiration.
I like people who bring surrealism, into realism!
What has been the best thing since moving to London?
I think one of the best things I’ve got out of London is the wonderful family of friends I have now got, who have all been so supportive and encouraging, which is just so exciting!
It is really sad when you come from a background where you are told you are too different, or weird and ‘why don’t get you get a real job?’ or ‘When are you going to stop looking like that?’ So, to be in a place where you are fully accepted for you are and not only that but encouraged and you no longer feel alone, as you are around surrounded by others who consider what we do as normal and appreciated it just means so much and in itself creates more opportunities, as you all support each other here.
If you could perform anywhere, where would it be?
Hmm, that’s interesting as I have the combination of my fine arts performance and my more cabaret performance, but it would be very exciting to do more fine art in some of the bigger venues in London. At the moment I guess one the main places I’d like to showcase my work would be at the ICA – Institute of Contemporary Arts, as they have great stuff going on at the moment!
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
One of the exciting colaboratins I have on the horizon is….ohh no, maybe I should talk about it?!
Yes, please do…give us an exclusive lol!
[Laughs] No, No haha Cause if I talk about it, it may not happen!
But I am travelling to New York next year and I’m very excited about that.
There’s just too many people I want to work with [laughs]
What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow the same career?
Keep pushing, keep doing and document everything! Promote everything and tell everybody, and don’t try to do it in a small town, because you won’t get anywhere!
What projects do you have lined up for the rest of the year?
At the moment I have some modelling projects, I’m also performing at Modern Panic and there are afew more things on the horizon, aswell as some more performance possibilities, so all exiting stuff! I also have a club night running from September to December too, called Rubber Cult, which in itself is a celebration of latex, with fashion shows & performances!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m not sure I actually have any spare time! [laughs] But when I do, I’m at art galleries or club nights, but I’m not sure when my social life & work life end as it all rolled up into one, but it also nice to have a nice chilled day and just go to the park and relax. I think when you live in a city you need nature around you too, so you get that balance.
Also, I feel if you enjoy your work then your work time and spare time disappear because you just end up just having fun!
Where can people see your work?
I have some online links here:
Thank you so much for your time today!
Thank you. It was a pleasure.
Photography by Jo Blackened