I began writing THE ARTIST while living in France, surrounded by lemony light, history-soaked streets, and the smells of foods I will forever associate with summer: apricots, artichokes, peaches. I absorbed a lot of art, I read a lot of books about art, and somehow I ended up down the rabbit hole of art forgery. It feels like the most fascinating crime in the world. One which you rarely hear about, but when you do, you can’t help but be intrigued by the mysterious figure of the art forger.
The following sentence stopped me in my tracks: ‘I know of no notable female forgers in the history of art forgery’ (Noah Charney, THE ART OF FORGERY). Surely women, who have been excluded from the art world for centuries, would have turned to forgery at some point to exact their revenge? But then again, the greatest art forger is one who never gets caught. Perhaps we know of no female art forgers because they have slipped beneath the radar. Perhaps it was time to paint one into being.
THE ARTIST is a response to this gap in the record. I wanted to imagine why a woman would want to forge artworks, and the ways in which the male-dominated art world would enable her to do this. There’s a lot of food in this book. There’s a lot of paint, and messy hands. There are secrets galore. I hope you enjoy reading it.
About me: I wrote this novel as a student at the Faber Academy. I have degrees in English Literature and World Literatures, and love anything to do with books, art, and history. The manuscript-in-progress was the Runner Up in the Moniack Mhor Emerging Writer Award, for which I was awarded a retreat up in snowy Scotland (which was wonderfully incongruous, as the novel is set over a swelteringly hot summer). The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words.