Living On The Edge Of Existence

Joff Insole

Prescient Pool 2019

Artist residency & open studio: July – August 2019
Exhibition: 31 August – 15 September 2019
Opening: Fri 30 August 2019, 5-9pm

#prescientpool #PP19 #painting #installation
‘Living On The Edge Of Existence’ is a body of new paintings created by the Folkestone-based artist, Joff Insole during a two months residency that turned CT20’s project space into an open studio and installation – an immersive environment deliberately created by the artist as part of his creative process and central to the commission.

The imagery deployed by Joff presents us with a unique and seemingly naive perspective of Folkestone – filled with characters, local history and music references, Insole’s gleeful view of the world is personal, transcendental, unexpected, as he skilfully interweaves the fabrics of life, dreams and popular culture into a unique mise-en-scène.

Comprising acrylic and pencil drawings, and paintings on board, Insole has taken himself and his immediate surroundings as subject, made strange by the use of unexpected perspectives – a brightly colored idealized and faceless ‘Nuclear Family’, a yellow portrait of ‘Edith Piaff’, a bare knuckle and shirtless ‘Fighting Bill from Dover’, with his elbows and knees flexed and ready to go.. his clenched bloody fists appear like roses within the portrait. There is magic and there is realism: a desolate looking ‘Blue Tree’ in an intensely red and dreamily dim landscape. The highly symbolic motifs are highly relatable, and the interplay between what might be real or imagined lightens the more turbulent and rebellious undertones of the work.

Image Credit:
[1,2,4,5]: Nina Shen-Poblete
[3]: Hannah Prizeman

Joff Insole is a British outsider artist local to Folkestone. Born in Dover in 1968, his visual perspectives and language feed from the raw reality of the everyday from which we have gradually become desensitised. Through his imageries he composes a unique, elaborate and recognisable alternative world that renders Folkestone’s heritage as symbolic – a contra-cultural force that confronts established cultural hierarchies, and allows us to recognise and value the subtleties and richness of the communities around us.
Prescient Pool (PP) was a series of collaborative public engagement events and art commissions inspired by people’s experiences and stories in Folkestone. Between April and September 2019, CT20 Projects made three new commissions: Amalia Pascal, Joff Insole, Jacob Bray and Jemma Wead. Initially inspired by the research and archive published under “Transitions” by Pavement Pounders, PP became its own depository of vernacular and symbolic stories contributed by people in Folkestone, presented and reinterpreted to make this heritage available to a whole new generation.⁠