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before nothing

As most of you know, I am a writer, photographer, artist and existential eclectic psychotherapist and my practice is based in Lancashire. I have mainly produced work (whether in written or visual form) which has explored the ideas of identity, memory, legacy, all from a macro-perspective and in full awareness. Most of my work stems from self-reflection, backed by academic research, substantiated by experimental practice, developed by critique and then presented with the support of diverse resources, including presentations and workshops.

During these past 2 years, as a mature art student, I have seen my practice deepen, develop, expand and find its own rightful shape and direction. This is not a finished journey by all means: the practise is in constant evolution.

At the moment I am working on my Final Major Project, which is the scope of this Research I will carry out in the next months, starting at The Crypt Gallery, in London, at the end of February. This opportunity will then inform the final piece as part of my practice-based research on the concepts of seeing and being seen. The FMP, titled “Do you see me?” aims to be a translation in visual form of the literary emotional journey as described in my latest book, now in the final draft stage. I am seeing self-portraiture under different lights and as emotional and tri-dimensional experiences. 


This project comes as a sum of various aspects I am interested in exploring in-depth.

I am thinking about:

  • observing vs gazing, especially when gazing is explained by Lacan in connection with shame and invidia;

  • the reader as potential voyeur as transposed in the spectator / viewer watching the artist creating a piece;

  • the reaction of the viewer to the movement of the artist when compared to the stillness of the final piece;

  • artistic pleasure: both the viewer watching, and the artist being watched;

  • the Hawthorne Effect: will I, and if so to what extent, change my own mark-making knowing that I am being watched?

  • book is fictional vs drawing which is real;

  • drawing (as much as writing) is normally a solitary experience / psychic retreat (the creation of an emotionally safe place) while this is a public act;

  • human / anthropogenic zoo : I am there, as “The Artist” / “The Writer” to be seen, watched, prodded, perceived as “The Other” (especially when this “Other” is contextualised in this historical period - see Brexit, identity labelling, etc);

  • a real creative live experience amongst the created ad hoc lives on social media.


You can find more about me on insta @matilde_tomat and fb @matildetomatartist and please do tag #beforenothing.

The London event at the Crypt: 

all info, re. address, days, times, and slots can be found on the Facebook page + event here.

Questionnaires were available on-site to assist me with my research.

Thank you!

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