- 1. Why did you decide to become an artist?
I always wanted to create in some way – from childhood I drew a lot on any paper I could get hold of. I did sewing and crafts, painted furniture, made posters, illustrated school papers and on it went. I did photography, ceramics, oil painting as an adult but had a different professional career compared to many other artists. In my generation we weren’t encouraged to choose art for a vocation! So it wasn’t until the new millennium that I had a chance to go freelance and try being a full time artist after juggling the two paths for years.
2. What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from storytelling, hence I am known as a narrative artist. I am inspired by memories, events, words, history, experiences, any of these rather than wanting to depict. When appropriate I include words in different ways.
3. What medium of art do you prefer? Why?
I work in mixed media, which in my case involves mixing the types of stock I work on, mixing the techniques I use, and finally mixing colour media. Mixed media suits me, both because it aids the storytelling, and also it creates texture which is important to me.
4. Which artist inspires you the most and how have they influenced your work?
My taste in other artists is most eclectic, maybe due to my passion for the narrative, and varies from August Macke (early), Winnifred Nicholson, Tove Jansson, to Robert Rauschenberg, Hannah Ryggen (Norwegian textile artist), Tony Clegg, and last but not least David Hockney.
5. What do you regard as your major achievements?
As events go I will mention two. In 2014 I was invited back to Umeå, Northern Sweden, when this city became a European Capital of Culture. I took part in a vibrant cultural programme with an exhibition inspired by the old Sami calendar, a series of twelve pieces.
In the beginning of 2017 I appeared on BBC’s Countryfile as a narrative artist in the Peak District. I talked about my inspiration from local landscapes on location and illustrated working methods hands on in my studio. An amazing experience.
Thirdly, it is a major achievement to keep going as an artist in these insecure times. The most important thing is to keep going and trust one’s instinct. This year I am developing a series on Place-mapping, where I look at the patterns and textures, as well as symbols and language. I may well abstract these ideas further as I go along.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
The world is my oyster!