I have decided to run a meet the artist feature on my blog as I thought it would be a good idea to introduce how others found their pathway into the creative industry and what their niche is.
I could just put this straight into my about section but to start the first post off I thought I would write briefly about my practice and my journey so you can see what to expect from future posts. If you would like to be a part of this drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My creative practice is mainly painting at the moment however I like to try different techniques and experiment particularly with textiles, printmaking, mixed media, sketching and fabric design. I work from a small studio from my home in Cornwall.
My pathway into art started from a love of drawing as a child (I still have some of my childhood books with scribbles in) and art was my favourite subject at school.
I did art at GCSE level with a predicted A grade but I never took my schoolwork seriously; too busy socialising, and I didn’t enjoy sixth form so I dropped out. I eventually came back to art much later when I started receiving commissions from family and friends and I was encouraged to see an art exhibition at the local college. I signed up to an access to HE course and I had to apply for University only 3 months into the course. I was really unsure about which degree to choose, I couldn’t decide between fine art or textiles and several people said I should do illustration, I was really confused.
The degree I chose was Ba (Hons) Contemporary Creative Practice (now called Art & Design Practice) with Plymouth University. This degree is interdisciplinary; a combination of subjects which gave me the time I needed to start to define what my practice was and become more autonomous.
At the end of my degree I went on to win a one year residency at Krowji studios where I focused more on painting and taking part in open studio events.
My story or theme behind what I do is mainly landscape based. This exerpt is taken from a recent painting submission;
The coast, woodland and the countryside are places I often use as inspiration to create, working outside directly in the landscape. Primitive places unoccupied by technology and consumerism; particularly up on the hills and in fields where the landscape still feels raw, still bearing traces of how our predecessors occupied and moved through the landscape. I use these areas as a place for quiet contemplation, places where we can be still from the world.
I grew up in South Yorkshire and my best childhood memories were playing in the garden and then going into the woods and other local nature places with friends. When I moved to Cornwall I was surrounded by a different sort of landscape plus the coast so I started to try and make connections as I put down new roots.
I found a quote that stuck with me for a while; ‘to make visual how the world touches us’ by Merleau-Ponty, 1993. My last project ‘Out West’ looked further into this. I am inspired by other types of art such as street art, figurative, ceramics; if you follow my Pinterest account you will see it’s quite varied!
The process from idea to finished piece starts with ‘information gathering’. This is mostly sketching outside but also collecting poems/words, being inspired by other artists/places, collecting images, visiting exhibitions, making notes. It can vary which keeps it interesting, then I’ll make a pile of all that I have collected and when I go through it I will pick bits that stand out and start experimenting with materials.
The advice I would give to someone interested in working in this discipline/industry is to keep drawing, keep a notebook, sketchbook a file on your computer; whatever works for you and keep adding to this to develop your practice. Even if you don’t know what your practice is yet add to it regularly.
I had to take a portfolio to my college interview so having a selection of sketches and paintings showed how I work but that there was potential for it to develop- it doesn’t need to be perfect. I also recommend following other artists through Instagram, it’s a great platform to be able to see other creative people and so many people use it as their ‘sketchbook’ as well as to sell their products. You can see my recent instagram images in the sidebar to the right.
Even if college or university isn’t for you Instagram can really build your following and generate some commission work. Pinterest is good for finding different styles of work and ‘collecting’ and building boards as well as also sharing your ideas.
Local libraries and book shops have lots of art books, if you prefer not to go down the digital or social media route. Attending exhibitions, reading creative magazines and articles and networking are all good for building up your knowledge and discovering opportunities.
My inspiration is mostly landscape as I am surrounded by beautiful countryside and beaches but as I work in an art gallery and museum my introduction to other artists is increasing with each new exhibition. I also go to a lot of other local art exhibitions.
I have started to look more into feminist and political art, buying books and researching online around this subject but I haven’t yet started to introduce this into much of my work. I have written a piece for a zine which you can read HERE and I would like to be involved in doing more work like this. I think it’s important to go with what feels right; follow the path if it’s something that you are surrounded by or calls to you in some way.
This year I have been involved in several exhibitions and I have a few yet to come which I am really excited about.
So far this year I have exhibited at;
The Sloop Inn; St Ives,
Penwith Gallery; St Ives,
Penlee House; Penzance
University of Greenwich.
This year I will be exhibiting at Tate Modern; London and Tate Gallery St Ives.
I don’t have any big projects planned at the moment, just a few ideas I would like to finish off and I would like to reopen my Etsy shop to sell original small pieces to make room for new work in the studio.
I am hoping to start writing more ‘How to’ posts on my blog but having some more in-depth tutorials that can be downloaded from Etsy as I don’t have the space to teach workshops from my home studio.
My plan is to head up to London this month for my Tate exhibition and attend other shows whilst I am there for more information gathering. I am hoping that in the future I can exhibit outside of Cornwall more often and find work in a museum or gallery in London even if just a temporary placement for experience.