Lucy Stevens - AR Extra Interview

Lucy Stevens

Lucy examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, in particular the songs of birds to celebrate the value of nature and to promote wildlife conservation. She uses abstract techniques and bold colour for visualising the sounds of wildlife and to document the rural landscape using drawing, painting, music and field recording.

Lucy's piece in AR Extra, "Bullfinch" was part of a recent solo exhibition ‘Bird Skins’ (May 2019) at the Lightbox Gallery in Leicester.  Stevens was granted access to the natural science collections at New Walk Museum in Leicester to create artworks focusing on the order, variety and beauty of colour in nature.  


What has been coming our of your studio lately?

Lots of imagery on paper of natural science collections, in this case photographs of bird skins with lots of detailed, colourful and instinctive gestures using household paint, spray paint, wax pastel, graph paper and genuine 24 carat gold leaf, to mimic their colour palette and their songs and calls.

How has your practice evolved in recent years?

It's gone from recording the sound of the natural environment, including birdsong for sound walks and installations to visualising birdsong and working with museum collections using abstract and painterly techniques. I have also developed soundtracks of birdsong (often gathered as part of the dawn chorus) to collaborate with Indian classical musicians for concerts, we (Rishii Chowdhury and Roopa Panesar), recently did an outdoor concert as part of Timber Festival and it was stunning! 

Lucy Stevens

How did you approach the project - AR EXTRA?

I wanted to be able to use video that matched the imagery of the bird so we've used a stop motion video showing the breadth of the bird skin collection which flickers through many different native and non-native birds. This was produced by multi-media artist Bill Newsinger.


Have you worked with Augmented Reality before?

Never, so Im really excited to see the results!


Can you see a point in the future where all art has Extended Reality integrated?

Quite possibly, as AR could be used as a tool enhance the experience of viewing artwork to provide further information/facts by telling a story about the artists intention or process, all without a headset and easily accessible with a mobile phone.


Lucy Stevens - bird artwork

Do you have any commentary on the empty shops on the high street at present?

Empty shops on the high street have unfortunately been present for at least 10 years. When I was employed by Arts Council England we worked hard to reach out to artists to provide funding to fill empty shops with artwork and workshops to engage the wider community.  It's sad to see so many empty shops, due to landlords over charging for high street spaces. It can make town centres feel unwelcoming and unforgotten so I think this project is a great idea to try to combat empty spaces and breathe life back into them again.


Do you feel that the arts can be therapy or heal society?

Certainly, art is a fantastic outlet for expression. The reason I love art is the fact that there is no wrong or right and that you can completely loose yourself within it (as an artist creating art or as a viewer admiring art).


Lucy Stevens - bird artwork

What's next for you?

I'll be at The Other Art Fair between 19 - 22 March at the Old Truman's Brewery in London and a few other art fairs across the year. I will be working closely with Derby Museum to produce a new exclusive range for their shop based on their natural science collections. There are also other big projects up my sleeve which I hope to reveal very soon!


Lucy’s studio is based at StudionAme in Leicester
Follow Lucy on social media: @lucyjostevens

Lucy Stevens - bird artwork

Lucy Stevens - bird artwork