Thursday, 19 July 2012

3rd in the series '1st Year Out of Uni' Interview with Sophie Victoria Elliott

Collage and pen drawing, A3, 2012

The third artist I have interviewed as part of this series is Sophie Victoria Elliott. Elliott graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University last year after completing a degree in Fine Art. Her practice explores her fascination with the geological landscape, which she explores through a wide variety of mediums. 

Sophie Victoria Elliott is based between Cardiff and West Yorkshire.

Elizabeth Dismorr: What do you miss (if anything) about being in an educational environment?

Sophie Victoria Elliott:      
 *The access to equipment
*Lectures from both lecturers from the university and visiting lecturers.
 *Feeling of a critical support network from fellow students and our tutors (the loss of critical support was the biggest difference as within 2 months of leaving University I was living in Yorkshire alone, having moved from Swansea, in a studio on my own working in a school). However, once I stepped back from University I saw that this support network is equally as damaging as supportive i.e. friends and fellow class mates were rarely brutal.

ED: Do you feel that you have managed to balance earning enough money to live with practicing as an artist?

SVE: I was fortunate to get a position as an Artist in Residence at Ackworth School, Pontefract and knew this in the March 2011 before I had even completed my degree. This has allowed me to work part-time as a teacher and concentrate on my practice the rest of the time. However, I know how fortunate I am to have the balance of money and time for the moment as most fellow graduates are not in this position.

ED:Have you taken part in any unpaid work experience/internships/volunteering? Do you think these will stand you in good stead to finding a job?

SVE: I have volunteered as:
BEEP Wales’ International Painting Prize – helping hang the show
‘Inside’ Exhibition, Blankspace, Manchester - Artist assistant for Philip Cheater
Elysium Gallery – taking show down ready and paint for next show
g39 archivist and library assistant
'Future Memory in Place' arts project, Swansea – teacher

The above volunteer positions offer me the opportunity to network, understand the workings of different galleries and organisations and I believe will help develop skills that make me more employable. I also enjoy the opportunity to learn how to hang a show, support an artist, archive etc.

ED: How has your practice evolved in the last year?

SVE:Being away from the university environment was initially daunting, but I experienced a freedom not felt since Foundation. Not having to adhere to box ticking and ‘final pieces’ released me and I began to explore far further and have since begun 3 collaboration projects with other artists, something I would never have been encouraged to do at university.  Engaging in collaborations can offer a critical support for all involved and as your making work together there is a brutal honesty as your potential reputation is at stake. The new location, Yorkshire, also instigated a new avenue of work.  I would say that my working methods have not changed but, instead, I regained the confidence that University caused me to momentarily lose.

  ED: Have managed to participate in many exhibitions/events in the year since you have graduated?


Solo Exhibitions
'Cyclical Culminations' 12th July - Milkwood Gallery, Roath, Cardiff 
'A Landscape Interpretation' Ackworth School Summer Exhibition 7th July - Solo Show, Yorkshire

Group Exhibitions
REIMAGINE WREXHAM 9th June - 18th July - Group Show/ Interventions, Wrexham [How Far Is Home? performance 11th July]
Citizen III – tactileBosch, Cardiff 
Art.Spoke.Soul. – Print Haus, Cardiff
IlluminARTy: The Gift - Swansea

Red Door 44 Grand Opening Exhibition - Red Door 44, Swansea
JOY - Exe One Zero, Monkey Café, Swansea
Graduate Show Reel - Mission Gallery, Swansea

Forthcoming Exhibitions
BEEP: Wales International Painting Prize, Volcano, Swansea
Disruption2 – 'How Far Is Home?' Performance, Swansea
Pre-paper: Post-card - group exhibition, Red Door 44, Swansea
Solo Exhibition – South Square Gallery, Thornton, Yorkshire
Made In Roath 2012 - Cardiff 

2012 - present
How Far is Home? Project
Collaboration Project – DIS / location
Red Door 44 – Co-founder, collective member and website and social media developer

Forthcoming Projects & Other Experiences
Pushing Too Many Pencils – contribution to quarterly zine
Collaboration Project with Beccie Evans and Emily Baines
Collaboration Project with Jason and Becky

Co-curated ‘Sophie Jacobsen: Prints’ – Osaka-ko,  Japan

ED:   What do you hope to achieve in terms of your practice and career as an artist?

SVE: To develop and refine my visual dialogue; to be able to communicate to others the instigation and inspiration of the work. I also wish to be able to create educational packages/workshops for students to engage and be inspired by the artworks, and most importantly, not feel ostracised by it.

     EDMany British artists are drawn to moving to London after they have graduated. Have you felt this pull?

SVE:Landscape inspires and drives my work so travelling to many different locations is at the heart of my practice. I imagine I will want to move from West Yorkshire next year but London does have a natural gravitational pull but I am aware the promises of success aren’t as simple as merely moving to London. To be able to be involved in the London Arts scene for a small but intense period appeals to me but so does the Glaswegian arts scene, Bristolian and Mancunian among many others. However, the Swansea and Cardiff arts scene are brilliantly saturated and inspiring with collaborations and opportunities available to create at the moment.

  ED: And finally – what advice would you give to any artists who have just graduated in 2012 and are keen to make it as an artist?

SVE:Don’t treat your graduate show as a full stop and a ‘final piece’. It is merely the beginning and though there may be a fear about the loss of your support network as the university studios disband, allow this to offer you a new freedom and either search out a new critical forum or even set up your own.

Your can find out more about Sophie by looking at her website and blog.

To find out more about Red Door 44, the artist collective she help set up and run click here

No comments:

Post a Comment