De Wallen is an 8-piece collective from London, making work about the personal and the political. They met while studying for an art foundation diploma at Kingston university, where they became firm friends and grew as artists. Now they use De Wallen to promote their changing work but also keep a link between the group, as they now study in different places across the globe. Themes change, but there is always a sense of nostalgia and curiosity present in their works, despite each artist having their own unique style.
Crybaby interviewed founding member Ellie Connor-Phillips about her work with fellow members Stevie Rae Hope, Raphaella Stewart, Violet Morton, Ellen Clarke-Quy, Cordelia Ostler, Alexi Hunt, and Meredith Mack.
How did De Wallen start?
I founded De Wallen as a way of creating a community of artists and to create a dialogue, as well as a way of commemorating my time at Kingston. By having a platform to record my own work made during that time and the work of the other members, I initially imagined it being like a sort of online time capsule of my year there. More recently, as everyone has dispersed to different universities and different parts of the world, I find it interesting how each person’s work is developing in different ways now that we are no longer all in the same environment, studying in the same university.
Where did the name come from?
The name came from the traditional name for Amsterdam’s red light district. De Wallen was originally an all female group, many of whom were and are discussing feminist issues in a number of different ways, and it therefore felt fitting. We found out it also means “little walls”, which represented what many of us were feeling being female artists in a male-dominated sphere.
What does the collective represent in the grand scheme of things? What would you like it to represent?
To me, De Wallen is a community and fundamentally a space that we have created for ourselves in order to share our work with a wider audience. We are a tight-knit group who not only make art together, but are able to support each other, discuss ideas and enjoy each other's company. It is a space where we as artists, all of whom are female, queer, or both, are able to share our work and therefore our ideas about the world, and to me this is the success of the project.
Find out more about De Wallen on their website.