An artist’s uniform
Here we are in the East London area, amidst post-industrial buildings of character, spacious interiors, panoramic windows and terraces, huddled together yet far removed from the chaos of the capital.
Living solutions that combine domestic environments and atelier under one roof, like that of Polly Morgan, the artist who has given a whole new meaning to the traditional craft of taxidermy – otherwise known as stuffing animals – by adding a personal touch of her own to make a contemporary statement.
She last appeared in February at Marco Voena’s, the gallery owner who has always made a point of melding tradition and contemporary art. So, his Milanese space provided the perfect backdrop for displaying her birds perched on pictures or pythons going round in endless circles, with neither head nor tail, to represent infinity.
But let’s return to London, to the ground floor workshop that opens up to reveal colours, sprays, scissors, tweezers and even a hairdryer for drying feathers, the hundreds of tools with which Morgan takes animals apart and reassembles them for her installations. It is here that the diaphanous artist works, dressed in an orange boiler suit – a kind of avant-garde Grace Kelly –, letting the chaos of minutiae reign supreme.
A twisted iron staircase leads us to the main floor where windows play a protagonist role, allowing the natural light to flood into a living space furnished with a large black iron table, Charles Eames chairs and lighting fixtures of design: “the interiors take their cue from the building and here I could only imagine a few modernist pieces. The more crowded my workspace, the more I need my home to be uncluttered. Here I live mainly in the company of the sky and I need space to give room to my thoughts”. Open-plan and luminous, the living room leads to a large kitchen, all of which is totally on view, this being an important zone of the house because Polly loves eating but, most of all, she loves cooking: “Whilst my lifestyle is kept as simple as possible, when in the kitchen, I let my instinct take over and often think outside the box, changing things as I go along. As I do, when at work”. (see MY MANIA: My recipes).
There is also a huge bathroom, a large white room where Polly dedicates time to her appearance, even though she hardly uses any makeup at all: “I am not nearly as adventurous as I used to be”.
On the contrary, as a child, Polly used to experiment on herself, wearing her father’s extra large T-shirts to school with eight watches on her wrist: “It was a way of expressing myself and attracting attention”.
Now that she has focused all her attention on stuffed chicks and crows, her style has settled on a smart synthesis we shall proceed to describe point by point.
I always dress at the last minute because, being excessively concentrated on my work, I have developed a sort of personal uniform: trousers or a pencil skirt with a nice shirt. A masculine touch makes the whole thing look more intriguing
Never: figure-hugging dresses or mini-skirts, and no low necklines either: “It’s much sexier”.
Always: tailor-cut garments with a boyish look. When it comes to makeup, the emphasis is either on eyes or mouth, but never both.
The three day suitcase: 1 pair of trainers 2 pairs of shoes with heels, sandals and boots 2 T-shirts 1 pair of impeccably cut trousers 1 jacket 1 beautiful shirt
A tip for hand luggage: “On the plane I wear a pullover, a jacket and a coat, as many layers as possible”.
Mania: “I love work days and get no enjoyment out of holidays”.
Dinner: “Dining out in the evening on fish. At J. Sheekei’s in St. Martin’s Court it’s like being on the Orient Express in the thirties”.
Shopping: “Preferably online. Otherwise a walk round the trendy shopping malls and stores in Mayfair”, but she can’t resist Romanys tool shop in Brewerstreet.