1. Hi! We’re so excited to talk to you today, your work is so beautiful and interesting. How would
you pin down your style?
I make vast drawings and paintings that capture a human fascination with animals and their ability to make us stare up in wonder. The natural world makes us think about the ‘other’, we feel less significant as a race and it detracts us from being consumed with ourselves. I work mainly in monochrome, keeping the raw and immediate qualities/ of drawing at the centre of my practise. I am drawn to fragile but magnificent subjects, animals that stand in their ultimate state, like statues, demanding your attention.
2. Can you explain a little more about what you’re up too at the moment?
Last week I was hanging paintings at Badminton School as part of their Arts Week, I also put on a workshop for the students there. I also had to organise the shipping of one of my paintings to Hong Kong as I sold it to a couple who live there. I also took part in the Frome Art Fair, so I have been super busy! Now I am less busy and have some precious time to be in the studio (Jamaica Street Studios, Stokes Croft) and work on some new paintings to show in the New Year. I am also in the process of setting up my own shop online, making my work more accessible to a wider market. I am in most days but I also run an Art class at a care home and am involved with various community art projects depending on the time of year.
3. Did you see yourself where you are now when you first wanted to be an artist?
No! In some ways it is better but in some ways harder than I ever thought it would be. You have to be incredibly good at doing many different jobs to survive as an Artist. Some days I feel like I am a running a logistics company or having to be a business woman which I am not! But the magic feeling you get when you pull it all off is like nothing else that is the best bit. It is an emotional journey that I perhaps didn’t expect but the highs and lows definitely make life not boring!
4. What has made you feel lost and how if you have have you overcome it?
It can be hard when you feel as though nobody appreciates what you do, all the hours and energy that go into making art and sometimes you can have such high expectations then nothing comes of it, it can be very disheartening. It’s not like any other job, you don’t have a team to support you, it is just you and when you have a down day that can be a lonely place to be. I am very lucky to be part of a great community of artists that are always there for me here at Jamaica Street. They always have great advice and that is priceless! My rule is to always keep painting and drawing, even when you don’t feel like it. It is easy to give up and lose motivation when working for yourself but if you just keep at it and be disciplined, you will draw yourself out of the difficulty and maybe create something new along the way.
5. What makes or would make you feel “found” either career wise or just life wise?
Keep strong and grounded. Do what you do because you want to do it, not to please others. Meditation helps me stay centred, just having a moment each day to be peaceful works wonders! Keep a balanced routine between family and work life too, it’s easy to forget but friends and family are so important…work isn’t everything and they are themost beautiful distraction!
6. What inspires you the most and do you have any tips or tricks on how to get so much work done?
Draw every day! It actually doesn’t take that long. Go and see exhibitions. If I see another artist doing something really powerful it gives you motivation to do the same and want even more to be a part of that world.
7. When have you felt most proud of yourself?
Working for yourself can be lonely but equally when you reach success and have a really good day, you get all the credit. It is a huge sense of achievement and it feels amazing to be creating paintings that other people appreciate, want to buy and have in their homes to look at forever! As an artist, you can take some materials and weave something out of it using your hands, the result can be beautiful and magnificent…that never ceases to amaze me and drive me on.
8. If you could choose between all of the stages of being an artist: what has been the toughest?
When you don’t sell anything in a show, that is financially the hardest time. But also when you start to not believe in yourself and your own ability…dark times!
9. If you had any advice to give out to anyone in a similar career path what would it be?
Think seriously about how you can diversify your skills to help you survive financially and still satisfy your creative impulses. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you feel it isn’t working…be bold!
10. Any last words?
As artists, we are here to reimagine the landscape, to provoke thought and put beauty in an otherwise plain world… and that is a privilege. Art can sometimes be devalued in education and when funding is concerned but these things we make will go on living after we have all died, carry on translating how we saw and experienced our time on earth beyond our own mortality….that is something to think about!