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Artist Spotlight: Pandora Covell

Pandora Covell, @pandorac0v311, is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in London. Painting is at the heart of her process, but she combines a multitude of processes thus refusing to limit herself to any single medium. Covell’s work aims to continually evolve without constraints. At the heart of her practice she reveals a vast landscape of possibilities, by gathering found objects this expansive investigation into materiality is initiated. Covell earned a Master’s in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2023 after receiving a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts in 2022.

We spoke to Pandora about art school skips, waste in the arts and more… 

To start us off with, what does being a multidisciplinary artist look like for you?

I think just combining a variety of different disciplines and trying not to be confined to one thing. Some processes are more labour intensive and then some are really fast paced and use your whole body and I think jumping between processes really just means that you don't get stuck in an artist block or something. It really helps because then it just gives you other ideas, helps you just keep making and not being too static. It brings me joy as well. 

When would you say that you feel most inspired to make new work? 

I don't know if it's just because it's really sunny today, but when the weather's good. I love spring - it's my favourite season. But also when I have a change of scenery and I come back and I have a new perspective on something, when I see a really good exhibition or when something big happens and I have to work through those emotions. 

As someone that's gone through a degree and now finished your masters, what's been your biggest takeaway from your education in the arts? 

I think not being afraid of failing is really important, as well as just making as much work as possible because then you're able to see the connections of things that are successful more easily. Oh, and the skips - the skips at art schools are just absolute treasure troves. I really miss the skips. 

What’s the best thing you’ve found in an art school skip? 

Oh god, that's going to be really difficult. Loads of canvas stretcher bars, which are always really useful. I found a disco ball once that was quite cool, a really nice chair that was perfectly untouched, some very random things and a vase that was really nice. But it's more the thing of seeing potential in the things that have just been discarded like that. There's this really interesting extract from 21st Century Debates: Waste, Recycling and Reuse and it's basically talking about how you can discover the most about humanity by the things that people throw away for no apparent reason. Seeing these juxtapositions of things that just shouldn't be together, I just find that really inspiring. I don't know why. You can find out so much about the way someone is working or why they're making decisions from the things that they think are not important, that could be important for someone else.

Could you take me through how your practice explores transformation?

I think it's just coming from an angle where I really hate wasting things. That’s definitely a huge motivator for me. If I did a painting that I didn't think was successful, I would never throw it away, I maybe would cut it up first or hold onto it for a bit and see if I can maybe use it in a collage or if I can make it three dimensional. I try to see how I can change things and make them work and so it becomes a bit of a challenge, I think. If they're not working in their current state, like, how could I make it work? I hold on to something until it could maybe be useful and you never know when that might be. Some people may call that hoarding, but I just really hate throwing things away! 

How have the recurring themes in your work formed? 

Probably from just being fluid. I have a deep rooted exploration of materiality that I've just always been really fascinated by and this symbiotic relationship between natural and artificial systems. But mainly just trusting the process, really just trying not to think why I'm doing something and just do it. I can then look back in retrospect and be like, Oh, okay, maybe that was important, even if it was terrible. 

You said that you see yourself as a gatherer and you see other artists themselves as gatherers. What do you mean by this specifically? 

I read about this years ago when I was doing my dissertation actually, and it just really stuck with me. But I suppose because when you're an artist, your first task is really to observe and then you gather raw materials. I just love that part of it. I think, for me, that's my favourite thing about art making, is gathering all these different things and you don't know what they're for yet, but you just know that they might be important. It's like trying to create a spark, you know, or collecting things or finding things and then getting a spark. I suppose that's what sketchbooks are for, isn't it, but everyone does it in different ways. For me, I have loads of vessels and I collect loads of different things. I suppose it's a way of remembering things that brought you joy or specific memories, maybe, or just trinkets or things that are visually really interesting or weird.

What changes would you like to see in the future of the arts?

I think always greater diversity and inclusivity across all areas of the arts and the creative industry, because I think art can deliver really meaningful and impactful empathy and it's crucial that it reflects the huge tapestry of human experience. 

If you enjoyed this conversation with Pandora, make sure to check out our other Artist Spotlight interviews over on and whilst you’re there, why not have a look through all of the fantastic art we have for sale from emerging artists? Pop into the website to see what catches your eye…


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