The London-based artist Alice Instone came to the attention of MRKstyle thanks to her recent body of paintings, “The House of Fallen Women.” These depict infamous women from history in portraits feautring modern-day models like Annie Lennox as Elizabeth I, Jo Wood as Madame de Pompadour and Alice Temperley as Mata Hari. Here, the artist answers a few questions about her own work, collecting art and staying inspired.
Our website looks at art through the lens of memory—personal and collective/cultural. Can you speak to how “memory” influenced this series of Fallen Women paintings?
Nearly all my work is all about memory. Memories of paintings I’ve loved or hated and my response to them. Memories of stories I’ve been told. I’m interested in the way history affects perception, notoriety and myths. The Fallen Women series depicts women who have been seen as wicked or debauched. It’s interesting that they are still portrayed in that way even though their behavior was by today’s standards often quite understandable and compared to the men around them quite restrained!
What materials do you use in your work and why?
I paint in oils because they are perfect for depicting flesh and have a lusciousness that works well for me. I’ve also been using gold leaf and glitter more recently; the gold leaf makes me think of religious works but also is about us coveting objects.
As an artist, what types of paintings do you hang on your own walls?
A complete mix of my own work, other artist friends’ work, my mother’s work—she’s also an artist, textiles, embroideries by my great grandmother, boot sale finds and inherited paintings.
How do you get inspired?
Usually just going into the studio gets me into the right frame of mind. I look at a lot of books, from history books to biography and art books and I’m thinking about what I’m working on pretty much constantly.
What’s next for you, project-wise?
I’m working on a series inspired by a Yeats poem, about an old man who went to catch a fish, who turned into a beautiful young woman and ran away. He chased after her but couldn’t catch her