With their sleek originality, luxury and sense of familiarity, Debra’s compressed resin sculptures, three-dimensional wall art and lightboxes owe much to her love of pop art, but not in the classic sense of vintage or retro tropes. Rather, she brings the concept into a contemporary sphere, where branding, commercial and personal, is more important to us than ever. Playful and provocative, her work examines that modern phenomenon of self-curation, how we present ourselves in both the material and digital worlds and how the objects we carry reflect our sense of self. We have always displayed the emblems that we treasure, but in the 21st century, the curator has become the curated.
Brought up by an art teacher and an international agent for luxury brands, Debra was exposed to a unique outlook on art and fashion from a young age which helped to develop her intriguing style. At 21, she left the UK with a degree in Politics from the University of Manchester and worked her way across Spain and Italy, living out of suitcases in hotels. As well as becoming a trilingual communicator, she visited countless galleries and came into contact with the cosmopolitan world of European fashion – all formative elements in the development of her artistic style. Art provided a way for her to link the disparate and colourful strands of her life together and gave her a channel through which to express herself.
On her return to the UK in 2001, Debra enrolled at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London. It was here that the idea for Artbags first materialised when she seconded a beautiful but impractical handbag from a top couture house and adapted it into a silicone mould for casting. She graduated with the Digitex Art Graduate of the year award to exhibit in the Design Room at Selfridges and quickly established a career as a full time artist.