Interview with Charlotte Webster
Is Human Nature becoming the blossoming tree that you seeded a few years ago – how would you keep it fruiting?
That’s a nice analogy. Well, the truth is it’s kind of fruiting itself, as trees in a healthy environment tend to do! That’s the great thing about being a group of people, the energy is all very renewing. I feel really thankful for trusting my instinct on who to work with on Human Nature. On the most part everyone has been hugely encouraging and good spirited. That said, on a practical side, we do need the right partners to operate and fully blossom. Every tree needs its pollinator bees. We’ve big ideas for the coming year or so and the more support we have from likeminded organisations the more of an impact we can make. We were lucky enough to get kick start funding last year, but we’re now in our growth phase and on the look out for our perfect match to help us develop and fully flourish. I see us as having the potential to be a beautiful old Japanese cherry tree. At the moment we’re a rather excitable little sprig with an ever increasing number of buds pointing towards the sunshine…wouldn’t you agree?
You’re curating with artists that are environmentally switched on, do you think it’s possible to encourage other artists to become more of a voice or advocate for the environment?
Sure. Our first phase was really beginning to gather like minded artists together from many different worlds, and start to build a bit of momentum around this idea of environmental art. We’re increasingly encouraging others to look at our relationship with nature, it helps keep new ideas going, livens up the debate and is actually crucial to bringing about meaningful change.
Human Nature should be a home for any artist that is interested in exploring the way we connect with nature, it shouldn’t be for people that exclusively do so. Not at all. A great example is our Cuban artist Maczel Lang. He’s known for his illustrative takes on consumerism, above anything else, but was really keen to get involved with Human Nature as the link between consumerism and the environment is quite clear. For me, the environmental debate has never been more critical than somewhere like Cuba, with runaway capitalism knocking on the door. It’s one of the most sustainable countries, in terms of having a balance with nature, right now so it has huge potential to lead the way in sustainable economics. The long and short of it is I’d like Maczel to become an advocate for environmental art out there and start to bring other artists in to build traction. Not that he knows this yet. He’s far too busy watching The Rolling Stones in concert for the first time.
And anyway, I challenge you to find an artist who isn’t inspired by nature in some way. Ha, maybe we should do the anti-Human Nature for people who hate the outdoors.
How important is it to have a clear objective and how much should we allow for it to evolve before realigning ourselves?
It’s about pointing in the right direction with a degree of confidence but being open to change and opportunity. I think that’s the way with any organisation trying to change the rules of the game. The good news is there are other rule breakers out there too. And, I find you meet them often when you least expect it. For example, I recently met someone I think’s going to be a bit of a game changer for Human Nature in Oslo of all places. But that’s another story..
This project alone has taken us all on a bit of a journey, there have been some pretty enlightening moments, glimpses of real excitement but so too have we had to make some tough calls along the way. So, we’re evolving, you’re right. We’re working with new artists, becoming increasingly international and ultimately figuring out our identity going forward.
The one thing I do know is there’s flow. It’s the only word I know how to describe it. Things just keep moving. We’ve got some hugely impressive and established artists joining us this year, mainly because they’re attracted to what we stand for. As one sponsor put it ‘we’d be mad not to be involved in this.’ And that’s not me singing the praises of Endangered13. I think it’s more that what we’re doing represents a widespread feeling, a very human need to act with positivity, a degree of purpose – and have a laugh along the way. The last bit is so important. That’s why I do it, I get a lot of happiness from encouraging people to create and practice what they enjoy most. It’s a bonus if it’s helpful on the whole and they succeed. Everyone wins then. I’m under no illusion that we’ll save the planet, and I’m certainly not setting Human Nature in the direction of a full on campaigning organisation. It’s about the power of art to do good. Celebrating what we love most. It’s that simple. If we all follow our natural path, and tap into our true consciousness, then I think it’s all going to be ok.