Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I completed my degree in fine art, and then went on to persue a career at Madame Tussauds as a colour artist.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I started drawing when I was tiny, searching through my Disney books and sketching my favourite characters. It’s always been my way to unwind, but decided to properly persue it and take it more seriously once I left school.
What training did you have?
I completed an art foundation course at Amersham college, and then went on to complete a degree in fine art at Buckinghamshire New University. From there I landed my job at Madame Tussauds and did a work placement learning the tricks of the trade for three months, until becoming a full time colour artist.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I was involved in the creation of the launch of Lady Gaga at the Merlin Studio’s, for the many Madame Tussauds attractions around the world. This was such an exciting project with an amazingly creative, talented team. I felt extremely privileged to be a part of it!
What’s your favourite quote?
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” By Pablo Picasso. My little Niece is so carefree, accepting, and loves drawing on anything and everything. It seems a shame we become slightly hardened to life as adults. Children have a wonderful freedom which I feel for me, is necessary to be a decent artist.
Who is your favourite artist?
I have so many! I adore Chantal Joffe, Elizabeth Peyton, and Michael Borremans. The works of Gottfried Helnwein also blow me away. I’m always searching for new artists to look up to.
What are you aiming for?
I’m aiming to feel a sense of contentment and satisfaction in my work. It is good to always push yourself and know you can always be better, yet I can picture exactly what I want to achieve, and I know I can get to that point by going through a certain process.
How will you get there?
By continuing to be obsessed with what is going on in the artworld, and by being inspired by amazing artists. I also feel by experimenting, making mistakes, and learning from them I will better myself as an artist.
Is anything holding you back?
Space! My flat is not accommodating enough, even though I have an extremely supportive partner who allows me to spread my canvas and paints out.
You and art
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I hope to get the same reactions from people that I personally feel when I look at my favourite artists work. A sense of wanting to look at it and study each brush stroke, drip and colour.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
My work varies depending on what I am painting. Usually I am fairly quick taking no longer than a few days. I like to complete it quickly and then live with it on my wall to get an idea of anything which I feel might need changing.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I usually have something quite mundane on the televsion actually, rather than listen to music. I prefer to listen to peoples voices and I find they are just enough to soothe yet not distract me, plus I like to fill the room with a bit of activity, and when I am on my own, the television allows that.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I am working on a large scale portrait, and am planning an exhibition soon.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Chantal Joffe has inspired me ever since learning about her from a lecturer at my University. I saw her exhibition in London recently, and adore her large scale paintings which you feel you can walk into. Her paint work is beautiful, luscious and fluid, drippy and painterly.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
I am inspired by the female form, primarily. I adore the shape of the collar bone, or a long neck, a curl in the hair. Men have always seemed too boxy to me.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
A favourite piece is currently of a girl lying down on her bed in an oversized t-shirt and long socks. It was made during a real transitional stage for me of feeling inspired, slightly desperate and a bit mad wanting to produce a piece of art I felt entirely happy with.
an artist’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?
Just believe in your art. Everyone sees things differently, colours…everything…so don’t let criticism stop you, and don’t take something as personal as art so, well, personally. It is a hard slog sometimes, so paint for yourself, and always strive to better yourself.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Go to gallery openings, get business cards and a website sorted, talk the ears off everyone you know about your art and post leaflets through doors. Get yourself out there!