Ballari Conner is a multi-media artist living in Glasgow and her passion lies in painting and photography. Conner enjoys pushing the boundaries and often, with work depicting raw moments. In paintings, frequently portrays her internal world which at times can be quite dark. In photography, she enjoys capturing candid images the most. It took Conner until age 30 to understand that she is a multi-faceted human being like art. Ballari is excited to have the opportunity to show the world what life looks like through her lens and paintbrush. 

How did your artistic journey start?
I have always been a highly creative individual- ever since I decided to draw a hamster-aged
6 at primary school, I fell in love with creating artwork. (The hamster looked terrible but my
mum said it was pretty and put it on the fridge, and so began my journey to better my
drawings). I spent the majority of my teenage years, in my room, drawing and painting my
innermost feelings. I used art as a coping mechanism and as a way of journalling my internal
world which became very dark around that time. After I had managed to portray how
Anorexia Nervosa affected me on a daily basis as part of my treatment plan, I moved on to
pastures and new-portraiture work of celebrities which I loved being commissioned for. I drew
throughout my 20s, often with just a pencil and paper through multiple psychiatric hospital
admissions, and artwork single-handedly managed to give me an identity beyond my
multiple illnesses. At age 30, I have moved on to becoming an ever-evolving multi-media
artist and have reached a point where I am delighted to showcase my work, which almost
always aims to invoke powerful emotions.

How did you arrive at the theme of your exhibition?
I wanted my exhibition to speak from my soul and show the world what life looks like through
my eyes. The body of work being shown is work I have created in the last year, and so this is
essentially a snapshot of a year in my life. A strange year indeed as I waved goodbye to my
20s and turned 30. I realised early on that my work always relates to my emotions, so I
decided my work should be centred around this. And so, I decided to create a show that
shows the multi-faceted ways I can express candid works that reflect my internal world.

Can you walk us through your creative process?
I tend to start with an idea that will have popped into my head as a result of something as
simple as hearing a lyric in a song. My mind tends to map out a plan of what I want to create,e.g. a drawing or a photograph. I sometimes brainstorm ideas (my mind tends to work very quickly when I have found inspiration in something) and before long, I have an idea of how to achieve my goal. I am a perfectionist by nature and so what I have envisioned in my mind’s eye, is exactly what I want to see created. I admittedly do drive myself loopy at points trying to hone the work to meet my vision, but the process is always worth it. Some works are more of a labour of love than others, but that is part of the magic for me- I adore the whole process of creation. I tend to jump straight into the creation process as soon as I can, meaning the process is quite intense and as my work has a strong tendency to focus on emotions, I find this works rather well. I am a person who does work fairly quickly, and when I am feeling sparky, I will often create multiple works across a short time. I find the whole journey very healing and I can lose hours to creating artwork, for which I will never complain because it just goes to show how much my work means to me.

What emotions or reactions do you hope viewers experience when they see your artwork?
I want people to feel the raw emotions that I have tried to express through my artwork. I want them to feel my pain, to feel my intrigue and to feel my joy. I want people to understand what it feels like to live with severe and enduring mental health problems and how much of a fight I have truly put up. More than anything, I hope the emotive nature of my exhibition strikes a chord with people and helps them feel seen. In showcasing different types of artwork, I also hope to inspire people to create their artwork and use it as a tool for catharsis.

Can you elaborate on the significance or symbolism of the chosen title of your exhibition?
“Candid” refers to being frank, and this show is entirely based on the truth in my life. My
work (street photography, portraiture, creative photography, drawings, poems and posters) all convey a very straightforward message- that it is entirely okay to broadcast your truth. My truth might be different from yours, but I hope that “Candid” can strike a deep emotional chord within and let you ponder on what my work makes you feel, at your core, unflinchingly and unquestionably. I hope “Candid” can inspire you to be frank about yourself and your own experiences.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about the exhibition or your experiences as an artist?
I just want people to be able to relate to what I have exhibited and to feel heard by my work.
I want people to know that it is never too late to choose recovery and choose life and that in the grand scheme of things, we all live one life. Why waste it? Feel your emotions and
cherish the power of experiences, there is no reason to conform. Just be you, be frank, be
straightforward- or in other words, just be candid.

Candid runs at Six Foot Gallery until 11 June

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