020 76393028
07946 044936

Catching Fireworks

Deborah Henry-Pollard: Creative Coaching

Blog

Take Five with Charlotte Zalepa

Posted on 22 November, 2018 at 9:55 Comments comments (0)


Charlotte Zalepa is the award winning jeweller behind Chalk Designs. Much of her work is inspired by nature, both in subject and in the slow and unhurried process of the wax carving which is the starting point for creating her beautiful pieces. Also inspired by her commitment to the world around us, Charlotte uses recycled silver as her material of choice. She has also joined forces with ethical fashion designer Gung Ho to handcraft three of Britain's most endangered insects, the Stag Beetle, Tiger Moth and Bumble Bee. Each sale of these insects gives a £5 donation to Friends of the Earth.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

It is going to sound pretty cliché, but the best thing for me is being my own boss. In simple terms this gives me freedom and responsibility, and this authority over my life is the path to happiness. For most of us we work more hours than we don’t, and so it’s really important that if you have the opportunity to choose the work that suits your needs, then surely it is a no brainer. At the beginning I found that working for others was a way for me to learn, meet people in my industry, and get paid at the same time, and so it was a very important stepping stone to get me where I am today. However, during my previous jobs after a certain amount of time I would loose interest in the repetitiveness of my role, feel generally unfulfilled day to day, and having learnt what I felt I needed to I would search for the next step in my career. It’s worth mentioning that of course this isn’t the easy route, especially in terms of making money it can be quite a strain working for yourself. After years of grafting I am starting to see my hard work paying off, and it just makes me so much happier to know that I have achieved even this much off my own back. Frankly you can’t buy happiness, you make it.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

I am quite in awe of most creatives I meet who work for themselves, I know how difficult it is, and when they give off this excited energy about their work I can’t help but feed off it. There is one person who stands out for me personally and has influenced my more recent endeavours, which I would describe as ‘more me’. Charlotte De Syllas is a renowned Artist Jeweller who works with gemstone, carving it into beautiful fluid forms. I actually took a week gemstone carving class with her in 2014, (gosh I can’t believe it was that long ago), in which I persuaded her to take this class, and I am so glad I did. From when I have met her, read about her as a person and her work, seen her work in the flesh, I have always taken away this sense of contentment and passion she has for what she does. She may say I’ve got that totally wrong and it may have taken her years to feel that way, but for me it is an ongoing reminder that I don’t need to constantly be on top of everything and should take a step back from time to time and enjoy myself, otherwise what is the point of it all. Not only this, I find her work to be magnificent, it oozes this simplistic skilful manipulation of a material I hope I too can one day achieve in my own work. Check her work out at the link below.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Set out your goals every year, month, week and day, if I’m totally honest I was probably told this but only now have started to get to grips with what it actually entails. This is something I have slowly learnt to do over the years out of necessity, and I think will carry on developing as my life inevitably changes. The years before this realisation look like a complete shambles to me. I would rely on my brain to remember everything, with the odd little list here and there but nothing substantial. So now at the end of the day, week, month, and year, I can look back on my goals and see what I have achieved, what can be changed and what still needs to be done. It sounds so simple but my goals and interests can develop so frequently that the only way to keep up is to write it down!

My advice to anyone working for themselves would be to set aside a few hours or a whole day (if you can spare it), and try to get to grips with all your goals for the rest of the year, then break it into your current priorities and anything that has a deadline. I promise you, even if it doesn’t sit right with you at first, you will develop a strategy for goal keeping all of your own. In time you should find that this will deduce the crazed moments of overwhelming, help you take the wheel, and give you a better overall understanding of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

In that moment I find the best way to work through the block is by creating a massive diagram on A2 paper (or bigger if you can), then scribbling down everything on my mind, work and personal. It helps me to get to grips with what it is that is stopping me and what my goals and priorities are, getting me back on track. I don’t tend to have moments where I have nothing to do and twiddle my thumbs, but I can have moments where I don’t know which thing on my list to do and can procrastinate on tasks that should take minutes but end up taking hours, or focusing on tasks that I don’t need to do. I talk to other creatives about this problem and it is surprising how many of us suffer with this overload = procrastination block. For me this creative block is usually caused by a ‘crazed moment of overwhelming’ (as mentioned in my previous answer), and so this diagram is actually an important goal strategising moment where you often readjust or recall your goals.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

I’d probably be a Dr Martens boot; well worn (of course), practical, and chunky, all the things I like in a shoe. The history of the Dr Marten boot speaks of a creative self expression that challenges society, and I might not be the most out spoken person, but my values and creative expression is becoming more and more driven by this need have a say in conversations that really matter to me.


Links:

Take Five with Annette Peppis

Posted on 15 October, 2018 at 9:45 Comments comments (0)



Annette Peppis is a graphic designer of many years standing who has worked for clients large and small, ranging from the BBC and NHS to small companies and solitary freelancers. She understand the challenges that businesses face and with every job, brings her common sense, imagination and excellent organisation. Annette is the designer of the What's Your Excuse books, bringing a cohesive smart and elegant design across the brand, whilst giving each book an individuality through the glorious colours of each cover. (As it is my favourite colour, and part of my branding, I asked Annette for an orange cover and she did not disappoint!)


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

Being able to solve clients problems creatively. It pleases them and I get great job satisfaction.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Herb Lubalin was one of the original ‘Mad Men’, an art director / graphic designer / typographer who ran his own advertising agency in New York in the 60s and 70s. He learned calligraphy at the Cooper Union in New York, and drew all his lettering by hand. His most well-known typeface is Avant Garde, still well-regarded.


Herb had fun with lettering, as his clever Mother and Child logo demonstrates (see link below). I think this playfulness with type was his most important contribution to graphic design; he opened up and allowed himself to experiment, creating work significantly different from the Swiss Modernism of the time. Herb was unfashionable for a while, but is currently very much in vogue.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

I wish I had known the importance of networking and making good connections. For decades, I focused on creating beautiful, functional designs and ignored the commercial side of my business. My work was greatly appreciated by my clients, but in retrospect, if I’d had more connections I could have helped many more businesses and publishers. Deborah talks about the importance of networking on page 83 of her book, in the section entitled ‘I don’t know the right people’.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

I have a change of scene, either going out for a walk to nearby Bushy Park or down to the river, or by going swimming. Something about swimming lengths clears the mind, and enables fresh ideas to populate it.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

I’d be a walking boot – I love being outdoors and discovering new places and I go stir-crazy if I don’t get my fix!


Links:

https://graphic-designer-richmond.co.uk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITC_Avant_Garde

http://logolog.co/herb-lubalin/

http://www.whatsyourexcuse.co.uk

Take Five with Bridget Davies

Posted on 3 October, 2018 at 4:10 Comments comments (0)



Bridget Davies is an artist whose work I came across by chance when, if I remember correctly, someone retweeted a piece of her work on Twitter.  From the moment I saw that image, I was hooked!  Bridget creates beautiful women in gorgeous frocks in glamorous settings.  I adore the wit and stylishness of the paintings which feel to me like a continuation of the wonderfully elegant sketches you find in 1940s Vogue, or an evocation of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  They manage to be both a hark back to more glamorous times and right on the button contemporary. Bridget exhibits at art fairs internationally - check on her website (link below) for details.

 

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

There is no one thing, but an accumulation of lots of wonderful things. Creating and painting, and I like working by myself for myself. I also have a very varied routine, so I am never bored. I either have art fairs to prepare for, illustrations commissions to produce. I also work with interior designers. It is also good to be able to go off for a run or take part in a yoga class when I fancy. 


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

I love the work of Christian Dior in the 50s. He also worked with Roger Vivier the shoes designer, and used Rene Gruau to illustrate his fabulous opulent creations. The three came together like a dream! What beautiful illustrations, dresses and shoes!


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Try to surround yourself with positive people and positive energy, and don’t be put off by some people not understanding what you are about or what you are trying to achieve…. There are plenty that will. There are so many ways of promoting one’s work these days, and if your work is good and you believe in yourself and your work you will be successful.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

I guess creating a bit of distance for a while.

I don’t really have creative blocks… as soon as I wake up I start getting ideas. My head sometimes becomes over stimulated by new ideas or/and the development of existing ones, and this can slow my work down and cause me to be very ineffective with my time. I haven’t found an answer to controlling this yet!

 

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

How funny…. I’m illustrating a book on shoes at the moment. Although I paint lots of fancy looking shoes I keep the heels for ‘taxi’ nights only. I like my comfort. Probably a trainer!


Links:

http://www.bridgetdaviesart.co.uk

Take Five with Rod McIntosh

Posted on 3 October, 2018 at 3:55 Comments comments (0)


Rod McIntosh is an artist who works between Kent and London as an exhibiting artist and consultant to the creative industries. He maintains a dynamic arts practice alongside a successful Arts Management career.  His works have minimal subject other than material, processes and an exploration of a visual language of marks.  Through this, he creates seemingly simple, but incredibly effective works of art.  He is also creative facilitator providing bespoke training across educational and business environments, he lectures and writes about artists professional practice. He is a regular exhibitor at major art fairs internationally.

 

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

To have gotten to a place whether through age or experience but definitely my choices! To do more of what makes me happy. That enables me to lead an integrated and authentic creative life. My studio is at home in rural Kent, and my day begins with physical and creative rituals that enable the walk across the drive to the studio to be the start of a great day.

 

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Oh gosh.. So many people who have inspired me or challenged me, within and outside of the art world. However, I think I am grateful and connect with the finger tips and minds of our predecessors. That across the ancient world picked up a charred piece of wood or rock of exquisite ochre and discovered mark making and in turn a language to express and transcend themselves. 

 

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

You are the sum of your parts! Acceptance. And to breathe my way through a challenge.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Be active. I push myself through a fear or my procrastination by engaging myself in an activity that is part of a process. To not sit in front of a blank sheet of paper, waiting. I find preparing materials or following a methodical and repetitive process liberates me from a judgemental mind and ideas begin to formulate and flow. Always have note book at hand.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

A pair of walking boots. I love to hike and trek up things. I love the feeling of experiencing an unobstructed horizon from a mountain and regaining a sense of perspective. So if I could not be the one wearing them, then at least I would share the adventure.


Links:

http://www.rodmcintosh.co.uk

Take Five with Joanne Henson

Posted on 27 September, 2018 at 7:15 Comments comments (0)


Joanne Henson is a health, fitness and wellness coach who works with you to find the best way to alter your mindset around food and exercise. She has written two excellent books covering all the reasons we give ourselves for why we "can't" get fit or eat well which are both filled with great advice and good sense. Joanne doesn't force you into squat thrusts or endless lettuce, just shows you how to get healthier on your terms, changing the way you view food and exercise. Out of these books, she has also created the very popular 'What's Your Excuse' series of books, designed to tackle all of the reasons you’re not achieving what you’d love to achieve. Each book takes a fresh and practical approach, suggesting new angles from which to approach your sticking points and offering inspiration to help you change your behaviours so that you can move on and succeed. I am delighted to be one of the WYE Authors.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

Hearing the happiness in my clients’ voices when they tell me they’ve reached their goals – they always thank me but really they’ve done all the work!


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Tracy Emin.  I believe that what you do should be an expression of who you are, and Tracey Emin is a brilliant example of this.  If you look at a single piece of her work you might not be particularly impressed, but if you look at her work as a whole it’s a wonderful, multi-layered, multi-media, multi-dimensional autobiographical experience.  Every time I go to an exhibition of her work I feel totally moved by the authenticity and honesty of it.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

That it’s totally fine to be myself and that it is possible to earn money doing your own thing.  For way too long I believed that work was something to be endured simply to earn money, and wasted way too much energy trying to mould myself into what I believed the corporate world wanted me to be. Being self-employed has been a truly liberating experience, I no longer have to pretend to be someone I’m not.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

I create a deadline for myself.  For instance, when I was struggling to finish my first book, I started telling people when I intended to publish it.  I was then so concerned about being seen as all talk and no action and simply got on with it.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Can I be a different shoe for each foot?!  On one foot I’d be an elegant mock-croc pointy kitten heeled court shoe (the shoe I imagine myself wearing if I were dressed up) – stylish, interesting, but still practical and not a victim of fashion.   But on the other foot I’d have to be a worn-out Converse trainer (my real-life go-to shoe for all occasions) – reliable, easy, versatile and (hopefully) ageless. 


Links:

http://www.joannehenson.co.uk/

http://www.whatsyourexcuse.co.uk/

Take Five with Spirit de la Mare

Posted on 20 September, 2018 at 10:35 Comments comments (0)


Spirit de la Mare is an inspiring Renaissance woman - Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Freeman of the Guild of Entrepreneur, Trustee of Artcan, public relations specialist, occasional journalist, published poet and project director and all-round culture enthusiast championing the arts. She has contributed to '#Woman Remapping the Territory. Our Way', a book of poems and performance pieces by 16 women edited by Rita Osei and Michelle Olley.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I am incredibly lucky that my professional work is a tapestry of my hobbies and interests. I adore the creative arts, literature, poetry and music and nearly all my work includes at least one of them, all of them if I can help it. A love of what I do enables me to stay connected and present within my work as well as nurture powerful creative bonds with those I work with. Feeling connected to something is probably the best thing about what I do. The arts open up dialogue and communication; they can make you feel strong knowing there is a global creative powerhouse of like-minded people out there.


Do you have a creative hero/heroine and if so, why?

I get asked this a lot and struggle to name just one. There are so many people that inspire me, some always have and some do with just one sentence, some within the arts and some in fields that have collided with them by accident. I wrote a piece of poetry some time ago called “My many Mothers” about the women that have guided me through the years. One of which I am fairly certain has changed and affected my life in ways that I don’t even fully understand, Maya Angelou’s words are a constant source of comfort, humour and courage. I read and re-read her body of work all the time and find solace in the sound of her voice. I also never tire of studying and writing about William Blake and am a member of the Blake Society. The rather splendid quote "I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." Sums him up nicely. I had a truly remarkable dream about Blake when I was a child, all rather fitting given the nature of his work. I have kept a book of his work on my bedside for ten years.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Stay pro-active and productive. Anxiety and creativity are intrinsically linked, a consistent creative output will keep you on the right track even if things appear fruitless. Also, don’t waste your time concerning yourself with what others think. I still have to work on this as we are all sensitive when it comes to putting yourself out there and up for criticism. It is so easy to be intimidated by fancy job titles, position and other’s success or notoriety, but essentially we are all feeling the same things. Treat everyone with kindness, we have all been at the bottom of a ladder and over the course of our lives we experience moments near the top, this changes all the time and we should support each other when the chips are down.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Definitely walk it off. I am lucky enough to live very close to Hampstead Heath and take incredibly long walks almost every day. I normally do this at lunchtime to shake off the admin I do in the mornings. When I work up at Kenwood House I always arrive refreshed and buzzing with new ideas. Creative block hasn’t been such a problem (so far). I have too many ideas, focusing on one and seeing it through is an area I constantly work on. If I am working in town I’ll walk in St James’s Park and enjoy the people watching and snippets of conversations I catch. There is something about being outside and away from computer screens that re-ignites any dwindling flame. The lunchtime concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields are also great for changing the pace of your thoughts, strings are my favourite. I probably shouldn't tell you but these concerts are my secret hiding place and go as often as I can.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

What a question, probably a wellington boot. Durable and I rather love the rain.


Links:

http://www.facebook.com/spiritdelamare

http://www.instagram.com/spiritdelamare/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/WOMAN-REMAPPING-TERRITORY-OUR-WAY-ebook/dp/B07B8HKWC1/

Take Five with Ray Batchelor

Posted on 12 September, 2018 at 4:50 Comments comments (0)



Ray Batchelor is a Queer Tango activist, writer and historian. Ray has spoken internationally on tango and, as he details below, is involved in many exciting projects using tango to teach about life and how we as humans being can co-exist in harmony. He, like me, believes that what you learn in tango will serve you well in every area of your life. It will not surprise you to learn that I met Ray on the dance floor where we have shared many wonderful dances and I can assure him, he is never boring and always a joy!


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I have the privilege of helping people remove obstacles and overcome fears which may lead to their leading fuller, more interesting and enjoyable lives, just as others have done for me - and I thoroughly enjoy doing it! I did it for years, teaching art and design history and theory to design students, student who were scared of history, of theory and of writing, but the same principles apply in my Queer Tango work. People can be afraid of dancing, especially of dancing with other people. The fear can be turned to advantage. I teach Queer Tango to managers to help them become better leaders; in the research project D/deaf CAN Dance!, I teach Queer Tango to D/deaf people with my esteemed deaf colleague, Melanie Parris, providing new ways for them to access music or musicality through the body of another human being; and most recently with the superb football coach, Jack Badu through The Football Tango Project we teach players gender blind tango (the guys dance with each other, as do the women, the women get to lead the men...) and practice some amazing, tango-derived football drills which Jack has devised. In one, each ‘player’ is a couple, two people, locked in a tango embrace, and who, if they let go of each other give a penalty to the other side. Afterwards, we lead discussions about countering homophobia in football. I love doing all these things.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Without a doubt, the Argentinian, Buenos Aires-based, Queer Tango activist and teacher, Edgardo Fernández Sesma. Edgardo has been indefatigable, teaching Queer Tango in a whole range of LGBT and mainstream contexts, but always with a view to making a difference to the world. I greatly admire his work. His Queer Tango flash mobs are a brilliant example: same-gendered couples turn up unannounced and dance in public spaces with the names of countries notorious for their homophobia tied to their backs. In 2015, I had the privilege of joining him to teach a couple of sessions for adultes mayores – pensioners – at a former naval base. It had once been a centre for torture and murder under the military, but now it is the Espacio Cultural Nuestros Hijos (ECuNHi). The adultes mayores danced with each other and with us, many with physical ailments and disabilities but none with the least hint of self-pity. They were so kind and welcoming to me. After the recent change of government in Argentina, Edgardo’s classes which meant so much to those who came to them, were axed, an act of social and cultural vandalism and stupidity. They keep in touch on Facebook and are now looking for a new home. Edgardo is an inspiration to me, but I am not Argentinian, not as young, and not as good a dancer! So, as an English academic and historian, I make my contributions to Queer Tango in my own way: in 2015, as part of the Queer Tango Project, with Birthe Havmøller from Aaarhus, Denmark in charge and fellow editor, Olaya Aramo in Madrid, I co-edited and wrote for a free, online international, community book The Queer Tango Book; earlier this year, also under the Queer Tango Project umbrella, Gonzalo Collazo in Uruguay and I co-curate and launched The Queer Tango Image Archive, an online archive of historical imagery from 1890-1995 relating to the themes touched on by Queer Tango; and in September this year, in Paris, Jon Mulholland at Middlesex University, Hélène Marquís of Universite Paris 8 and I are running The Queer Tango Salon: Connecting Bodies of Knowledge, where academics with intellectual knowledge of dance and gender will share a space with Queer Tango activists with embodied knowledge of dance and gender, talk to each other, and dance with each other. (We are still looking for proposals for contributions from anyone interested – practical workshops, papers, seminars, whatever – until 1 June.) Apart from a stellar line up of academics and activists as Keynotes, Edgardo Fernández Sesma himself will join us. I could not be more thrilled.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Given that each of us is obliged to be effective in imperfect worlds, trust your instincts about what you should and should not be doing and who you should trust and who you should not trust. Do not give in to ‘reason’ or ‘common sense’. Be fearless. Those instincts or ‘inner voices’ are far ‘cleverer’ than anything we might consciously work out. They are there to save us. Never be afraid to refer to them, or heed them.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Some would advise stepping away for a while, and that can work, but I would always consider advising you to keep going. Just keep going. In the case of dancing, I hit passages when I think, “I am rubbish. My dance is repetitive and boring, x and y are far better dancers than I am and I will never be as good as they are.No one will enjoy dancing with me so I might as well stop now and go home before my shortcomings are discovered, I am ridiculed and I suffer the humiliation of rejection.” Of course, the reason my dancing may be indifferent is that I am too busy thinking about myself and about how others might be judging me, to think about my dance partner and what I, now, as me, can do for them and how, jointly, we might create a satisfying dance. Intellectually, I know this is true all the time. Emotionally, I have lapses and forget. I can force myself to remember, which usually puts things right. I am pleased to say, most of the time, a great many people seek me out as a dance partner, which is flattering, even if it risks the pesky ego re- emerging...


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

A well-worn, men’s dance shoe, obviously, one of a pair, which while they may not always be moving, are always dancing. Or, alternatively, having just returned from “Salida”, a wonderful international Queer Tango event in St Petersburg run by dedicated Queer Tango activists (in Putin’s Russia, where the venues are kept secret so the heavies don’t find us and smash the place up), and seen some men in such circumstances acquit themselves beautifully in high heels, possibly a dancer’s stiletto, size 7...


Links:

http://youtu.be/aII1PowKc9c

https://vimeo.com/116666533

http://image.queertangoproject.org

Take Five with Susan J Mumford

Posted on 30 August, 2018 at 4:50 Comments comments (0)



Susan J Mumford is a game-changer in the 21 Century art world. She’s an entrepreneur, mentor, speaker and author. While running a gallery in Soho, London, she founded the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), a non-profit trade network with London, New York and Virtual chapters. Several years later, she started a social enterprise Be Smart About Art, which helps art world professionals thrive in a changing industry. In late 2015, her first book was published: "Art is your life. Make it your living" (the title taken from the organisation’s motto). Be Smart About Art also has tremendous online content as well as face to face and virtual events.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

Seeing real change in micro and small businesses as a result of work done with Be Smart About Art and/or the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD). Job done!


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Hands-down, Geena Davis. Upon observing that her young daughter lacked female role models in films, the Hollywood star set to using her celebrity status for good, by setting up the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. They’ve done phenomenal research that documents gender bias based on cold, hard facts – and are presenting solutions to work towards gender equality in children’s films (as a starting point).


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Every single job and project contributes to the ongoing journey, no matter how insignificant it might have seemed at the time. And a cheeky addition for piece of advice upon embarking upon being a business owner is maintaining part-time work as long as manageable.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Get oxygen and the subconscious mind flowing. This can be in the form of a walk, run, or whatever you fancy that does the trick.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Without a doubt, if I were to come back in an after-life as a shoe, it would have to be a pair of luscious red boots. For what is the job of a shoe, but to protect the wearer’s feet and better yet, for those lucky enough to have a choice, make the individual feel fantastic, ready to take on social and professional occasions alike with confidence, glamour and vibrancy?


Links:

http://womenartdealers.org

https://www.besmartaboutart.com

https://besmartaboutartshop.selz.com/item/55ae1cf4b798720d5447f24b

Take Five with Louise McNaught

Posted on 23 August, 2018 at 4:55 Comments comments (2)


I have followed Louise McNaught's work for some time via social media and always loved her very individual and beautiful way of approaching animal studies. They capture the essence of each creature from the tiny bumble bee to the mighty elephant, whilst throwing in a contemporary and refeshing spin, with neon backdrops and ocassionally some sparkle! I also had the pleasure of meeting Louise and hearing about how she approaches her work and her motivation. This is based around relationship between nature and man, often destructive from the latter, and how we feel about our actions. Since her graduation in 2012, Louise's work has been seen in international fairs and galleries around the country.


Louise's work can now be seen in a new book, 'Survival', published September 2018, where her illustrations highlight the fight for survival of 20 endangered animals. The book marries together Louise's drawings with text by children's author Anna Claybourne, to bring the issue of conversation into the spotlight.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I get to decide to do basically what I want every day! I mean of course there is boring stuff like admin, posting, wrapping of artwork etc etc, but essentially I don't have a boss and I get to decide what to paint. It's all up to me and in some ways that's so freeing and awesome, and in another way I have to be very self-motivated as I have to be everything from creator, marketing person, courier organiser, so whether it's a success or failure, it's all my fault.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

I'm impressed with anybody that tries to make a go of their art career really, especially those who do so well, as it's not easy at all. There's no straight forward path, you are basically an entrepreneur and that can be very hard and quite lonely. Very often it's just you creating and promoting the work on your own in your studio. I don't really mind my own company/solitude, but it's not for everyone.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Don't just sign up to one gallery, as it's putting all your eggs in one basket. I was lucky that I was exclusive with a very successful gallery at the time, and I learned the ropes from that experience but it can hinder your growth as an artist.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

I don't really get creative block, i suffer from the opposite of too many ideas and not knowing which to do first. I normally go with what excites me the most, or which has the shortest deadline! For creative block I'd suggest getting out of your environment to somewhere like a art big museum/gallery which will be full of inspiration.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Oh I'd be a high-heeled Prada boot, because I cant wear high heels as I have no arches and they look amazing.


Links:

https://www.louisemcnaught.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Louise-McNaught/dp/1787410455

Take Five with Tabish Khan

Posted on 19 July, 2018 at 5:20 Comments comments (0)


If you are part of the art world in London, you will have probably bumped into Tabish Khan as he visits and writes about hundreds of exhibitions a year covering everything from the major blockbusters to the emerging art scene. He is Art Critic and Visual Arts Editor for The Londonist and writes the Weekly Top exhibition picks and What's Wrong with Art column for FAD Magazine. (You can keep track of his adventures in art via his weekly newsletter.) He is also a judge for art prizes, including the Secret Art Prize 2018. As well as bumping into him at events, we are both trustees of ArtCan, a non-profit arts organisation that supports artists through profile raising activities and exhibitions.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

There are so many great things about being an art critic, including being surrounded by such brilliant creative and talented people. To pick one it would have to be the opportunity to see such great art and exhibitions - I see approximately 1,000 shows a year and I never get bored of it. Early morning visits have allowed me to have major museums largely to myself and I've worked from the HMS Belfast for a day. It's a privileged position to be in and I'm very appreciative of how enjoyable it is to be an art critic.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

No, I'm slightly strange in never having had a hero. I'm a firm believer that we're all capable of heroic acts but it's unfair to place any person on a pedestal as we all make mistakes -- it's part of what makes us human. I admire everyone who has found something they are truly passionate about, is hard working and acts graciously and generously towards every person they encounter -- I'm a fan of nice people doing well.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Be diverse in your interests. I stumbled into writing about art after I had started a corporate career and I think having two very different careers gives me a broader outlook on life that I would have otherwise. We're always at risk at disappearing into the respective bubbles of our industry and experiencing new activities and meeting diverse people really helps us gain perspective and learn about new ideas. I'm slowly getting there but it would've been great to do more diverse activities earlier in my life.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

As a writer the best fix I've read about is to get writing even if it's just nonsense, as often getting started is the hardest part. If my head is really not in it then going for a walk often clears my head. I recognise these are both cliches, but they work for me.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

A trainer as I'm constantly moving around London, and I definitely couldn't do my job without a comfy pair of trainers. My current pair are bright red which probably reflects my artistic side trying to express itself over my scientific / corporate background.


Links:

http://www.tabish-khan.com

https://londonist.com/contributors/tabish-khan

http://fadmagazine.com/author/tabish/

https://tabish-khan.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f37d74e6f9adec1618fed3c7d&id=654dbe7b75

https://www.secretartprize.com/

http://artcan.org.uk/