photo of artist Gabrielle Spooner at the art gallery Shoreditch Modern

Pushing the realms of surrealism and digital manipulation. Gabrielle Spooner explores the relationship between technology and contemporary art within her painting and printmaking practice. Blurring the lines between photography and brushwork, her work confounds and immerses her viewers into an uncanny world of her own.

Currently partaking in Shoreditch Modern’s Grit & Gloss Exhibition, we delved deeper into her process and uncovered what inspires her:

What are the key ideas and drivers behind your art?

I’ve always had a natural interest in painting and then I proceeded to do it at university. I incorporate manipulated photography as the references for my paintings. These manipulated photos stem from surrealism, drawing inspiration from artists like Salvador Dalí, who has hugely impacted me growing up.

I loved the idea of making something which wasn’t real appear incredibly realistic. I grew up watching sci-fi and fantasy films, which really motivated me to create images that were fantastical.

What is your creative process? 

All my art starts with photography. I take pictures on my phone and my camera. I then spend a lot of my time editing photos and experimenting with Photoshop. This process has developed into a deeper understanding of how to digitally manipulate photography, resulting in the creation of photos that look very similar to paintings.

When it comes to painting, there’s an element of escapism in the process for me. Time just flies by when I’m painting in my studio. Eight hours go by in what feels like a matter of minute, it’s crazy!

Gealach, an artwork by Gabrielle Spooner exhibited by Shoreditch Modern

What is the role of technology in your art?

I’m very aware of the threat technology can pose to art and how it’s removing the artist’s hand from pieces of work. I wanted to explore how you could incorporate the two, through using software like Procreate, being very digitally focused as well as physically expressive with a paintbrush. This was the inspiration for my piece ‘Drifter’ which is a painting that looks like it has been produced digitally or like a photograph.

In comparison, my other works focus on producing images digitally which appear more like paintings, and exploring how to push the boundaries. We can all argue the fact that we can use technology not only just to push our physical work, but also to inspire it. In fact, none of my work could exist without digital tools.

Where do you want to take your artwork next? 

I will probably continue to focus on surrealism. It’s such a big influence. I think it obviously incorporates hyper-realism in a fantastical way, which will always engage me as an artist.

Sprout, a painting by Gabrielle Spooner exhibited at art gallery Shoreditch Modern

Gabrielle Spooner is one of three participating artists in Shoreditch Modern’s group exhibition, Grit & Gloss, which will be open to the public until March 8th 2024. Find out more about the selected artwork by Spooner: