Artist Bianca Fields leads us through her “super fast and rhythmic” style
Bianca Fields’ paintings are a powerfully heady mix. Sinister and perturbing – but also somewhat satirical – themes of childhood and tricky self-reflection lie beneath her distinctive work.
- Olivia Hingley
- 17 December 2021
With screaming, bikini-clad gorillas, menacing-looking baboons and terror-stricken cartoon characters, artist Bianca Fields has successfully created a gallery’s worth of disquieting characters. Often trying to “read the room” of her paintings, Bianca’s artistic approach is all-consuming. She creates “profound” relationships with her work, and sometimes even feels like “the painting is telling me what I should be doing.”
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Bianca completed her BFA in painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art College in 2019. After graduating, she moved to Kansas City, Missouri where she has had a studio ever since. Despite drawing from the age of six, Bianca says that as a child she “never really understood what art was.” High school, however, was a turning point. “I learned how to paint in high school: mixing colours, learning about tones and shades of colours, how to make ugly colours, using my imagination”, she tells us. “I learned a lot about myself once I realised that I enjoyed painting.” Bianca still maintains a relationship with those who guided her in these formative years. One of her favourite pieces, Post Ghost – a work from her senior year of undergrad – is now owned, and “in [the] very good hands”, of her high school art teacher.
Despite not considering herself an artistic child, influences from Bianca’s childhood heavily influence her work. This includes characters from well known cartoon series such as Tom & Jerry, injecting an uncanny sense of familiarity into her paintings. In one such piece Tom the cat screams out from the canvas, surrounded by strokes of lilac, hazy orange and deep black etchings, petrified by something that lies beyond. Bianca finds that including characters from cartoons makes “the process of painting very youthful and energetic [...] I move around and almost dance around my work when I’m painting.” But, on the flipside, they also offer an element of both self exposure and reflection: “These characters feel more like mirroring myself; driving these graphic illustrations to a level of obliteration. It feels as if I’m taking a piece of my younger self and showing her the real.” This element of self-reflexivity translates throughout Bianca’s whole body of work. She views most of her compositions as ways to exist in a world that “is not make believe”, her paintings are instead a “depiction of an emotional space in which I, the artist, will always remain.”
Whilst Bianca’s pieces form a consistent and well-formed body of work, her approach is much less stringent. Painting in bursts, she describes her method as “feaverish leaps from one work to the next” Bianca’s method, quite literally therefore, “keeps her on her toes”. This sense of jumping from one painting to another comes across brilliantly when viewing Bianca’s paintings as one. With the powerful, flowing brush strokes leaving the canvas along with her persistent, vibrant colour palette, you can really gain a sense of energetic unpredictability. Bianca also refuses to hold back when it comes to her use of materials. She tells It’s Nice That, that “tension has always been important in my work, whether it be through the subjects or materiality of the paint.” With spray paint and heavily applied oils and acrylics that almost seem to be falling off the canvas, Bianca’s pieces are a triumph of texture.
Spending the past few months in London, Bianca is currently in her final week of the Plop Residency in Camden – an experience she has found eye-opening. Working alongside painters Agostino Lacurci and Horacio Qurioz, she describes it as “a lot of what I’ve needed for a while as an artist”. “Residency programs are what you make of it – it really tests your ability to adapt and produce something with the resources that you have [...] I think every artist at one point in their life should surround themselves with other artists in different stages of their career.”
Bianca Fields: Your favorite Breakfast Bedlam (Copyright © Bianca Fields, 2021)
About the Author
Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in illustration, photography, ceramic design and platforming creativity from the north of England.