Amy Higgins AKA Black and Bone

Hi Amy,

Welcome to Humans of Weston. We are delighted to have you here, so let’s get to know you better…

Firstly tell us a bit about yourself in a sentence or two…

I’m Amy, a Maltese artist living in Weston. My works take in elements of the natural, macabre and the fantastical.  

How would you describe your art?  

My focus lies in what many consider the macabre, and my illustrative style lends itself to this as a concept. I like to explore the fragility of the natural world in detailed drawings; through serpentine compositions that are rich in skeletal remains, foliage and mythical beasts, examining the tension between life and death and how nature’s processes are cyclical and fragile. These visual narratives are imbedded with surreal and magical elements. The drawings speak for themselves and represent the decline, in time, of human driven mass extinction.  

Was art a deliberate career choice?  

From the tender age of 2, I became absolutely obsessed with drawing. My Maltese grandfather was an artist and when he discovered my passion and saw a bit of nascent skill, he took it upon himself to give me drawing lessons each week. I also went to weekend art school whilst at primary school. From there, I realised that this was the career I wanted to pursue in life. Not just as a career, but as a way of life. It just kind of happened naturally.  

What does your art say about you?  

As a person, I consider myself a little alternative in my style and preferences. I have always been fascinated by unusual objects, stories of mythology and gothic beings. This definitely translates in my art. It is a window into my world or my feelings towards a particular time or event. I feel very in tune with nature and the elements, so my drawings heavily feature the sea and woodland. There’s a sense of belonging, being by the ocean, having been born and brought up so close to it. There is a feeling of nostalgia that runs through my work, but also of hope and strength.  

What brought you to Weston?  

I come from a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea called Malta. In the late 90s there was no such thing as a degree in visual culture or contemporary art over there, and I wanted to expand and develop my ideas and find new ways of producing art, so I chose to come to the UK and accomplish my ambition, and also study in  university. I chose Weston-Super-Mare probably because I need to be by the sea. It’s also so close to the  woods, and is in a good location for commuting to two big cities, Bristol and Bath, both of which are influential in the arts and music scene in the South West. 

How has Weston been a part of your creativity?  

I enrolled with Weston College as a foot in the door to lead me to university. I started with a GNVQ in art which was at Westcliff college. I went on to study a degree in creative arts in partnership with Bath Spa University and this led me to an exciting journey into the art world, exhibiting in various haunts around Weston, Bristol, Bath, Wales, London, Birmingham and winning some awards, such as ‘Student of the year’  and ‘Outstanding student’ at University level. Weston has definitely been a huge platform and played a big role in my creative journey. In the winter especially – and this is probably true of anywhere coastal as well –  there’s a rugged bleakness that feeds into some of my imagery. It’s got history, so its haunted in a sense, and you can absorb that.  

Where are your favourite places in Weston to seek out inspiration?  

It has to be the beach, by the sea (I know it’s really an estuary). I take my camera everywhere, and I love to sit by Anchor bay and look out across the water, collecting sea glass with my two daughters, partner and sausage dog. The other is sitting in the glade in Weston woods foraging and playing hide and seek by the  wooden owl, taking in the feeling of being in nature.  

Has anyone in Weston supported or influenced you?  

Loves café currently sells some of my prints in their lovely shop section. They have hosted a solo exhibition in the past also. I am a big fan of supporting local artists and musicians and I feel Ana at Loves does a super job  at promoting and sharing talented artists work. I am also involved in a local indie music band called Shoto-daito, producing their album covers and visuals for their gigs. We’ve had a fair few gigs in Loves, and also  Glastonbury, in recent years, before lockdown of course.  

What advice would you give to young artists in the town?  

Take inspiration from the environment. We are so lucky to live by the sea and woods, and I think a lot of  people forget this and aim for bigger, cooler cities. But I do think that Weston does have a lot to offer, if  you look around. There is support and like minded individuals out there.  

What are you creating at the moment, or what is next? 

Currently I am drawing an illustration called ‘Twilight Moons’ which is a depiction of people sitting on their rooftops  looking into the night sky at moons waning and waxing whilst the sea in the backdrop is still. I guess it’s a reflection that we all faced a challenging time, but hope is on its way. 

Thank you Amy

If you are interested in Amy and her work as Black & Bone, then please visit her social media pages below

To listen to Shoto-daito click on their Album cover below

And to visit Loves café, gallery and venue please visit their Facebook page (click below)

To study Art visit https://www.weston.ac.uk/what-can-i-study/courses-16-18-year-olds/art-and-design