SooMin Leong, Little Tree House In The Woods, 2012
My second interview in this series is with Bristol based artist and printmaker, SooMin Leong. SooMin graduated from Bristol UWE with an MA in Printmaking in 2011. I wanted to see how the last year has treated her, in terms of the development of her practice but to also see if she has managed to balance that delicate line between earning enough money to live, and being able to still make art.
Elizabeth Dismorr: What do you miss (if anything) about being in an educational environment?
SooMin Leong: Technical assistance and critical comment/advice from tutors and course mates.
ED:Do you feel that you have managed to balance earning enough money to live, with practicing as an artist?
SL: No. Especially to begin with.
ED: Have you taken part in any unpaid work experience/ internships/ volunteering since university? Do you think these will stand you in good stead to finding a job?
SL:I started with volunteering and internships. It can be a good way to know people and also show people I am capable and reliable. I had volunteered at Spike Island since autumn, and have just stopped volunteering there because I am now a paid invigilator. I've also Volunteered at M Shed since autumn, helping up in events and also operating the printing press. I am not volunteering there at the moment because they just kept the press away. However, if there are some interesting projects coming up, I will still volunteer for them, especially if it includes printing. I also I volunteered for Bristol Civic Society as their 'talks' photographer for a few events. Lastly I spent 3 months (January til early April)doing a paid internship with Arnolfini as an archive intern. For this I catalogued the artist's book collection at Bristol Records Office.
ED: Have you managed to participate in many exhibitions/events in the year since you have graduated?
f16 -- photography exhibition during photography festival.
The secret postcard show 'Six by Four' for the UWE MA Fine Art Fundraiser, I also participated in Seila Fernandez Arconada's show Secret Whispers. And my solo show, Traverse. And also some pop up shops, Made in Bristol, and Paper Scissors Stone.
ED:How has your practice evolved since you left university?
SL: I am still working on the same idea, slowly move on from that. Try to produce different things with the same idea, such as books and also other 2D works besides my 3D layered photographs.
ED: What do you hope to achieve in the next year in terms of your practice and career as an artist?
SL: Hopefully, my work will get into more galleries and exhibitions. And also some part time jobs or a full time job related to art along side.
ED: Do you think you'll stay in Bristol?
SL: Yes, for the moment. However, I might move to other places, if I get opportunities else where.
ED: What advice would you give to anyone about to graduate in an arts related subject and keen to make it as an artist? SL:Keep inspired and the passion and belief you have will bring you through.
SooMin Leong's show Traverse is at The Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road in Bristol until the 21st of July.
To find out more about SooMin and her work, take a look at her website