Shireen Avis’s journey started 40 years ago when she studied Textile Design and Technology at the Bulawayo College of Applied Art and Design in Zimbabwe. However, as her business brain took over she found herself following a very different path, spending 36 years in various high street retail environments.
Upon rediscovering her creative roots though experimenting with various media and techniques, she returned to using boot polish, a medium she favoured as an art student. This creativity was a strong reaction to the soul-destroying regimentation and formalisation of merchandising layouts, targets and rotas of her previous careers.
Boot polish has both a light free flowing aspect and a heavy structured quality depending on the method of application. Shireen uses her fingers and hog hair brushes to carry out her work on cartridge paper, infusing landscapes with original colours that she produces by mixing powder paint with clear boot polish. Instead of focusing on a specific subject matter, her work concentrates on creating texture and atmosphere through highlights and mark-making.
Shireen has previously exhibited in the Worthing Museum & Art Gallery Open 18 competition and at Pier Road Coffee & Art Gallery in Littlehampton.