Tay Martin

Tay Martin, Swamppanda (they/them) @swamppanda.art

BIO: As a multidisciplinary artist, my work spans across illustrations, paintings and puppet fabrication. I use 2D and 3D materials such as clay, paint and fabric for a layered effect. I also use found and recycled materials. I have found the histories of Afrosurrealism, maximalism and stop motion inspiring. My personal pieces depict characters and objects in boldly coloured environments processing their mental wellness in the modern world. 



‘Clown Baby’ 

‘Clown Jester’ 

FROM THE ARTIST: ‘Sketches are turned into dolls using clay and paint to create bold, creepy and cute clowns. With soft fabric bodies, glossy eyes and big red noses, they are an accumulation of multi-disciplinary skills and a desire to be bold, more confident and serve an inner child. I used to fear clowns, making the series sort of exposure therapy mirroring my search for resilience, to live a scary existence and to be myself brightly and joyfully. I was interested in the sadness of clowns, especially Edward Hoppers’ 1914 painting ‘Soir Bleu’. The long history of clowns is inseparably tied with minstrelsy and racism. In recent years, ‘clown-core’ has been a growing subculture, popular in fashion and drag and on social media. Including many related aesthetics,

such as Decora with an overall maximalist, loud and outgoing style. Creating a sense of belonging by identifying with their differences and releasing shame to be themselves. I wanted to explore the image of the new clown adopted by teens and young adults, a free-spirited expression of queer personhood, sadness and happiness. Clown Baby shows the awkwardness of losing a childhood. It is made like a tired toy, sitting up alone but just barely. With big naive eyes, but a defiant skull printed fabric body, Clown Baby knows something. Clown Jester has a tied barbed wire tongue but an open mouth almost like it’s shouting. This expresses my desire to be heard, to speak, without a voice. The Jester represents a comedian who can make people laugh, to be heard, to be seen. ‘ 

© 2024 Stanley Arts Charity No: 1155680