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By Fred Ashleigh Thornton

Fred makes cluttered, confrontational artworks using paint and felt-tip pens from Poundland. Their practice stems from their lived experience as a fat, feminist, queer trauma survivor. The work is often humorous and relatable, littered with popular culture references, the language of social media and the artist’s own stream of consciousness.

“Pre-pandemic I was working in a job I hated pretending to be a cis person *shudders* with no disability and little mental illness. I would leave the house at 7:50 AM and get home at 7PM. I was exhausted and was slowly watching me lose my own principles just to get by in the workplace. Then the pandemic hit. I did not have to work and slept for weeks. After recovering from some of the exhaustion of trying to survive capitalism I picked up ‘Pleasure Activism’ by adrienne maree brown and had my super cliched ‘this book changed my life’ moment. But really it is an incredible book that looks at how Audre Lorde’s principle in her essay ‘Uses of the Erotic’ can enrich and nourish our lives in all aspects of it, especially when the world can seem overwhelming and apocalyptic. Right book, right time. It helped me remember who I am and what is important to me.

This piece for The Hidden Wardrobe is meant to illustrate these two very different states of being, before Covid and myself currently. In part, inspired by my pure hatred for ‘before and after’ photos that started a resurgence during lockdown as people complained of their lockdown bodies. I wanted to make use of the two windows and demonstrate how bleak things felt before and almost ironically the pure joy I learned to experience during a global bloody plague (whilst also using up as much of the cardboard from impulsive online purchases as possible).”

Exhibiting Artists


17/09/21 - 31/10/21


The Hidden Wardrobe