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Interview with an Artist

Can you describe your creative practice to someone who may not be familiar with it? 

I design things that tell stories.  I create illustrations that make people smile and try to inspire a sense of story-telling and fantasy.  My main source of inspiration is animals, putting them in scenarios as if they have been watching us for a while, and then want to try their hand at whatever we do.  My illustrations are used to adorn bone china tea sets (which I decorate and fire at Exchange Place), kitchen textiles, stationary and other useful things. 

 How long have you had a studio at Yorkshire Artspace and what brought you here?

I moved in at the beginning of February, I really wanted to become part of a creative community again. When I first had a look around Exchange Place I got really excited about the great opportunity that was presenting itself, to become part of and help shape the next stage of Yorkshire Artspace’s growth.

 How do you make your living as an artist/maker?

I sell my products wholesale into large and small retailers all around the world.  I rent a space in Birds Yard, and also sell direct to customers through websites like Not On The Highstreet.  I also take illustration commissions from pet portraits to designing whole bespoke tea sets for individuals or businesses. 

 How does having a studio here support your practice?

I feel like I’m still finding my feet here, but having a studio in general helps me dedicate time to my practice without distractions and in the company of likeminded people. Sometimes I find it difficult to focus, and a studio helps me put on the different hats you need to wear as a creative person and being self-employed. 

Please give a particular example of how this has resulted in a commission/exhibition/networking opportunity?

I have really enjoyed meeting all my neighbours. It’s so great to have jewellery makers, painters, furniture designers/makers, photographers, sculptors, illustrators and all sorts of skills all under one roof.  Where else could you walk down the corridor and have a chat with someone who may already have the skills and knowledge you may require to complete a project? It’s a fantastic opportunity and one I look forward to making the most of as we fill up with even more talent and creativity!

What has been your highlight over the last year?

Being asked to work with Castle Howard on a few range of illustrated giftware. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I have just returned from 2 trade shows and my head is spinning with ideas for new illustration ranges, new products and collaborations in the future. I very rarely work on one thing at a time, and I like it that way. I think 2014 is going to be a very busy year for my sketchbook.