0

Young Masters Alumni: Jongjin Park

We recently caught up with Highly Commended Young Masters Alumni Jongjin Park to discuss his projects and achievements since partaking in the Inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014.

What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Since the Prize, I have shown my works internationally. Although I am currently working in Seoul, because of the scope of the Prize I do not feel far from the ceramic scene in the  U.K. and abroad.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

This opportunity was amazing and the other Alumni’s artworks are very impressive and well-established. I feel very honoured and I hope to embark on various projects with this team. It allows me to push and develop the concept of my works.

Born in Korea, Jongjin Park came to the UK to study Ceramics and the relationship between British and Eastern ceramic cultures. He takes the material of clay further than potters of the past, using and mimicking paper in clay to form “Paperclay”. Slip is brushed onto fine tissues of paper and then fired at  over 1280 degrees centigrade, resulting in a strong, durable, wood-like material, which belies the work’s fragile origins.

Jongjin Park is currently studying a PhD in ceramics at Kookmin University, following an MA Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University and an MFA and BFA Ceramics at Kookmin University, Seoul. He has worked at the National Museum of Korea as a researcher in the department of Ceramics. His exhibitions include: Jongjin Park, Puls Ceramics, Brussels, 2017; A la Recherche du Sublime, Le Don du Fel, France, 2016; Artistic Stratum, KCDF Gallery, Korea, 2015; Ceramics Art London, Royal College of Art 2015; ‘FRESH’, British Ceramics Biennale, Stoke on Trent, U.K, 2015; Santorini Biennale of Arts, Greece, 2012; R.E.D, Arton gallery, Singapore, 2012; Singapore Ceramic Museum, Korea, and the 7th Cheongju International Craft Competition,  Korea, 2011, for which he was awarded the Gold Prize.

Ceramic artists are invited to apply now to Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2017. Applications open until 31 March 2017.

Image Credit: Jongjin Park, Artistic Stratum, 2017

0

Young Masters Alumni: Sun Ae Kim

Young Masters caught up with Sun Ae Kim, a Korean-based ceramic artist who was shortlisted for Young Masters in 2014 and selected for Young Masters Revisited in 2010. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and now lives and works in Korea.

 What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Lots of things have happened since Young Masters, so I don’t know where to begin. I participated in Young Masters when I had just graduated with my MA from the Royal College of Art in 2010. Since then, I have gained international recognition in ceramic art. I recently featured alongside my works in Visa card commercials.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

Through participating in Young Masters, I sold some works and gained interest from prestigious collectors. I have participated in Young Masters twice already and I like the concept of the Art Prize and the possibility that I might reach new clients through it as well. The team are very supportive and provide valuable professional and personal advice.

Ceramic Artists are invited to apply for the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize until 31 March 2017

A Look Inside The V&A Ceramic Studio With Artist Matt Smith

In March 2016, we were pleased to invite Collectors to a special studio visit and talk by Matt Smith, the 2014 winner of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, who has spent the last 6 months (October 2015 – March 2016) as the Ceramics Resident at the V&A’s ceramic studio, supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert. 

Matt Smith’s work as an artist has often taken the form of hybrid artist/curator. Using clay and its associated references, Smith explores how cultural organisations operate, practicing techniques of institutional critique and artist intervention. He is interested in how history is a constantly selected and refined narrative that presents itself as a fixed and accurate account of the past. By taking objects from one context and repurposing them in new situations, or creating ‘lost objects’, Matt Smith is interested to explore how historical narratives and alternative identities can be brought to light. Of particular interest to him is how museums can be reframed from an outsider perspective, and often this outsider perspective is taken from an LGBT viewpoint.

What is often of most interest to me is what is undisclosed about an object’s history. Moving the focus from descriptions of an object’s material or date of manufacture, I am drawn instead to the emotional bonds between objects, makers, viewers and collectors in order to examine what these collections can tell us about human experiences.”

– Matt Smith

His solo interventions that have addressed these themes include Queering the Museum (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2010), Other Stories (Leeds University Art Collection, 2012) and Milk (Aspex Gallery, 2010).  Over the past three years, Smith has co-directed and curated Unravelling the National Trust which has seen over thirty artists working with contemporary craft (including himself) commissioned to respond to the histories of the National Trust properties Nymans House, Uppark House and The Vyne.

In 2014 Matt Smith was awarded the inaugural Maylis Grand Ceramics prize and in 2009 received the ARC Award for Craft from Aspex Gallery. Smith is currently completing a practice-based PhD exploring the intersection of contemporary craft practice and queer identities at the University of Brighton where he also lectures.

He regularly shows his work with public collections (A Place at the Table, Pallant House, 2014; Subversive Design, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, 2013; DIY A Revolution in Handicrafts, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburg, 2010) as well as talking internationally about his practice (Tate Modern, the V&A, Valand Academy Gothenburg, the University of Bremen, Konstfack Stockholm and Bergen Academy of Art and Design). Smith also collaborates with The Young Masters in the ongoing-tour, which included a highly successful presentation at COLLECT, 2015.

Click here for link to the V&A ceramic studio page.

matt-smith-studio-shot

The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramic Prize was inaugurated in 2014 in order to support ceramic artists working in innovative ways, showing great skill as well as an awareness of the heritage of ceramic craft. An expert panel of judges comprising Show Director of COLLECT, Daniella Wells; curator and collector, Preston Fitzgerald; and collector Maylis Grand, presented Matt Smith with the winning prize of £1,500 during the event at Sphinx Fine Art. Two further commendations were awarded to Korean artist Jongjin Park and Israeli artist Zemer Peled.

Maylis Grand commented:
“We were looking for a young artist who successfully mixed the aesthetic and techniques of the past to re-invent a modern and vibrant work of art. Matt Smith succeeded in creating several original pieces, which fitted the brief perfectly.”

Young Masters Interview with Shane Wolf

Shane Wolf is a painter based in Paris. He tells us more about his practice and new work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

You studied in Florence where you acquired a remarkable knowledge of the Renaissance and now you live in France, the nation which in the 19th century referred for a long time to the art of Raphael, Michelangelo and of all the greatest Italian artists of the 16th century: can we consider Shane Wolf an Italian artist? What did you induce to think so passionately over the art of our past? What did you lead to Paris?

I’m not quite certain I could accurately be called an Italian artist, but it is certainly true that my sensitivities to classical art were awoken and began developing during my years in Italy. It is very frequently commented that my work “feels Italian”, and many people claim to see the roots of the Renaissance in my painting. Personally I think these reactions are indeed rooted in the fact that I studied in Florence where the Rinascimento is palpable, where one can stroll down a small street and stumble upon Donatello or Verrochio or Brunelleschi. These influences are omnipresent, and they certainly have had a great impact on my own artistic vision.

After Florence, Paris was the clear city for me. Florence is a wonderful city in which to study, whilst Paris seemed like the place for me to become a professional. I needed a city that also had a remarkably rich past, but also a vibrant present. Paris has offered that right combination of richness and vivacity of both past and present.

The readaptation of the Renaissance art passes also through techniques: you make large use of the drawing but your production abounds with foreshortenings which refer to the great illusionist painters of the 16th century, as Correggio and Veronese. In a time in which the art is made using every expressive way, how much is important to come back to traditional techniques?

Using traditional techniques is absolutely essential to my creation. The act of drawing and painting from life is a beautiful act on its own, and it also abounds with great Humanist values. When one works uniquely from life as I do, one can better understand why the Renaissance was also a Humanist cultural shift. Those of us who spend our days and years studying the human forms in all their complexity (well, that is really not possible, but we try!) become part of the great lineage of art history, going as far back as the Greeks. I feel that this is why great works of art still speak to us so profoundly: they tap into certain fundamental sentiments and values of mankind.

And yes, fore shortenings are indeed an important part of my work. I greatly admire and respect the illusionist painters you mention (Tiepolo as well), and I also strive to challenge myself in choosing unpredictable viewpoints of the model. Not only is this a fun challenge, but it often provides a dramatic representation of the subject.

In your paintings, the main protagonist is human body. In 2014, on the French magazine “Dessine et Peinture”, you said that in your opinion the body expresses all the qualities: magnificence, power, elegance, sensitivity. Bodies often beautiful, athletic, powerful male nudes and refined female nudes are a characteristic subject of your art. What is your relationship with the body and the beauty? Like in the Italian Renaissance art, do your bodies want to express an ideal, a value?  

Absolutely. The human form is the pinnacle of beauty, grace, elegance, finesse, strength, vulnerability… My entire life I have been in awe of the human body, in both male and female form. I feel that we are at our truest state of being—our purest—when nude. As during the Italian Renaissance, I aim to use the nude to express the infinitely wide range of human experience and emotion.

Was the Prix Taylor a goal of yours? Did you ever expect to win an award that has such a strong history with incredible artists like Delacroix?

When I received The Prix Taylor in 2010 during a show in the Grand Palais in Paris, it was a completely unexpected honor. The Taylor Foundation is a very esteemed, historic organisation that is very well-known within the French-speaking world and has an amazing history. When the jury placed the award’s plaque next to my name there was an immediate murmur of excitement from the crowd. Needless to say to be decorated with an award from the same organisation of which Delacroix, Ingres and Corot were part is a tremendous distinction.

So you’ve been everywhere from Fiji to Egypt. How have your travels influenced the way you make art?

Travel is education and adventure; it is risk taking, or rather opportunity taking. We don’t get anywhere without leaving our comfort zones. Learning to make a jump into the unknown and trust that you’ll figure things out (more or less) is an invaluable life lesson that I really learned while living abroad and backpacking around the world. Learning to address my hesitations and fears is perhaps the single most important way travel has influenced how I make art. After all, each painting is a journey: it has it’s moments of inspiration, of fatigue, of frustration, surprise, and discovery.

Is it “process” or end result for you?

Definitely a process, with a mere “idea” of the end result.  As most of us probably experience, the end result is hardly ever what you anticipated at the onset.  I’ve always been intrigued by that:  the never-ending artistic roller coaster of love-hate, control-abandon and all those seemingly opposing emotions and feelings that come with it all. It is absolutely frustratingly delightful!

Artists working in any medium and from anywhere in the world are invited to apply to Young Masters Art Prize. Applications open until 31 March 2017.

Introducing our new sponsor Crossbarfx

We are delighted to introduce our new sponsor, Crossbarfx, a foreign exchange company based in the UK.  Crossbarfx are generously sponsoring the Private View of ‘Young Masters: Dialogues‘ at Sphinx Fine Art, which takes place on 14 October 2015, 6 – 9pm (RSVP to celia@thecynthiacorbettgallery.com)

Tom Barclay, associate at Crossbarfx, explains why they are sponsoring Young Masters and gives an introduction to their company. 

Please can you tell us about Crossbarfx and the services you offer?

When any individual or business has a need to convert currency naturally their first port of call is their bank & why wouldn’t it be. Most people don’t realise that there is any other way of making payments in other currencies. But there is. Crossbarfx was established in 2004 and is a longstanding non-bank provider of deliverable foreign exchange and international payments. Crossbarfx has rapidly become the provider of choice for private individuals & companies based in the UK and overseas. We know that moving your money around the world means a lot more than just changing pounds to euros, or dollars to yen. We work in exactly the same way as a bank however on considerably tighter margins in turn saving the client money which gets added straight onto their bottom line.

Why do you think FX important, and how can it be used to best effect?

The currency markets are the most liquid and volatile in the world. With an increasingly globalised world, the need for foreign exchange to support international trade and cross border payments is growing the whole time. Private individuals buying or selling overseas investments such as property and sometimes art, importers and exporters too have a need to access the currency markets through their bank or broker in order to achieve the best rates of exchange.

You are generously sponsoring the Private View of our forthcoming Young Masters: Dialogues exhibition. What appealed to you about Young Masters as an initiative to get involved with?

Crossbarfx is supporting the Young Masters art prize for the first time and the emphasis very often reflects the same things at Crossbarfx’s financial world.

Whilst the Young Masters encourages artist to look and learn from the artists of the past and respond with innovation and creativity in their own work to provide new, vibrant pieces, Crossbarfx shares a similar outlook as we look to innovate whilst remembering the good old things that still matter. Excellent customer service and innovation in both product and technology are the key to our future just as  creativeness and inventiveness are still so important in art. My sister is a classically trained portrait painter and it is an area that I follow closely along with others in the company. It a pleasure and an exciting time going forward.

Do you collect art?  And if you could own any piece of art, what would that be?

My family collect art. I did History of Art A level and the first period I studied was impressionism and the first artist the arch impressionist Eduoard Manet – the godfather. My favourite work is The Luncheon on the Grass (Le dejeuner sur l’herbe) by Edouard Manet.

image001

Manet shocked the French public by exhibiting this painting at the Salon des Refuses in 1863. Although not a realist painting, it is a statement in favour of the artist’s individual freedom. Ever since it was first published, this painting has puzzled audiences and critics which must have been striking at the time. There are various interpretations of the painting and people still discuss them at great lengths.

When I went with my family to the Prado Museum (Madrid) 10 years or so ago I was overwhelmed by many of Diego Velázquez’s paintings too.

How can CrossBarFX help artists, galleries and art dealers?

Crossbarfx can help artists, galleries & art dealers achieve better rates of exchange than the high street banks and many other brokers. We ensure that every cross border transaction is simple, fast and cost effective without the need to visit the bank. Crossbarfx also offers a free of charge, dedicated, personalised dealing service for those that require help in placing their transactions or understanding the dynamics of the currency market. Our aim is to make everything as streamline and smooth as possible & saving those who purchase or sell art money whilst offering a unique personalised service. These savings are often between 2-4% of their turnover which gets added straight to the business bottom line.

image003

Young Masters Interview with Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf

Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf is a painter and recent graduate from MFA fine art at Wimbledon College of Arts. Here she tells us more about her new work ‘Patina’, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?
Although my work is firmly situated within a contemporary practice and employs a lot of more experimental techniques and materials, it’s basic foundation lies in the tradition of portraiture and vanitas painting, so it’s really exciting to have the opportunity to allow these two worlds to collide and see how the traditional skills of portraiture have continued and evolved.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
As a whole my practice explores themes of femininity, idolisation, desire and mortality through the framework of figurative painting, investigating the mythologising qualities inherent in portraiture. In my most recent series I selected my models according to a set of principles I’d established for the series, and then interviewed them on their views on images of women, beauty and self-image before beginning my paintings of them. The piece I will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art is part of this series, although it is also inspired by Joshua Reynolds’ ‘Portrait of a Lady’ which it will be in dialogue with in the gallery. Joshua Reynolds’ work inspires me on many levels; apart from being one of the greatest portrait painters in history, his interest in mythologising his subjects and experimenting with new painterly techniques strikes a particular chord with me. ‘Portrait of a Lady’ also has the added quality of being unfinished, which I always find extremely appealing. Being able to see the painting being born out of the raw materials of canvas and paint is something which deeply excites me, and I have endeavored to incorporate a sense of this alchemy into my technique over the course of my practice. In this case I began with a portrait, which I then roughly covered with ink and acrylic before beginning  to draw the remains of the portrait back out to the surface with the use of oils and pastel.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many. The artists who have inspired me growing up and still continue to inspire me are artists such as Klimt, Schiele and the whole Vienna Session movement, along with academic artists such as Hans Makart and Sir Lawrence Alma -Tadema but also artists such as Frieda Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas and Sigmar Polke.

Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in Australia, and grew up in-between Germany and England, which has given me quite a broad, sometimes confused sense of identity. My mother is an artist, specialising in portraiture, so my work and subject matter is in the blood to a certain degree. As a child I used to draw my own portraits of her subjects when they’d come for a sitting, it’s through this that I developed a fascination with drawing people. My art has always been focused on female identity. From childhood onwards, women, the female form and beauty have been central themes, possibly because I come from a very matriarchal family.

What inspired you to become an artist?
Growing up with an artist as a mother showed me how difficult it can be trying to make a living as an artist, so I had actually intended to avoid it at all costs. The Arts and all creative subjects always interested me, but I wanted to do something more grounded with it, such as packaging design, which I originally began studying before changing to fine art. I chose to change to fine art because I was unsure of what else to do and was hoping for an epiphany as to what my ‘real calling’ was going to be throughout my entire BA. It was only after I left University and started working in a Gallery/Museum that I realised I just wasn’t happy when I wasn’t making art, and that the ‘calling’ I had been waiting for had been there all along. So, I suppose the reality of life as a ‘non-artist’ was what finally inspired me to take the plunge and commit myself fully to making art.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
When I was younger I was very interested in the performing arts, singing, acting and dancing, so for a while these seemed like a possibility, but as I just mentioned, I think this is ultimately what I am and was always going to be. Nowadays I often fantasise about being a carpenter, a hairdresser or a designer.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I just completed my MFA at Wimbledon, but I have been working as a practising artist since finishing my BA in 2004, so it’s been around 10 years. There have been several achievements, such as prizes, having solo shows and being part of exciting exhibitions, but I’d say the greatest achievement is that I’m still ‘standing,’ so to speak. The achievements are accompanied by a lot of knock backs and doubts, so the fact that I’m still painting, still experimenting and evolving artistically, and am able to support myself through my art is probably the greatest achievement.

What are your plans for the future?
In the immediate future I’m going to continue the line of inquiry I began towards the end of my MFA; continuing the exploration into the role of the iconised image by interviewing and painting different women. I’m going to be showing in the ‘kinds of blue’ show at Candida Stevens Fine Art in Chichester alongside Tom Hammick, Ceri Richards, Roger Hilton and others in November, and I will be showing at he AAF in New York next Spring.  The longer term future holds more art, exhibitions and hopefully a continuing evolution of my practice.

Young Masters Interview with Yigal Ozeri

Yigal Ozeri is an Israeli painter living and working in New York and is one of the finest photorealist painters working in the world today.  We are delighted to present his work as part of Young Masters: Dialogues an exhibition of Contemporary works inspired by the Sphinx Fine Art Old Master Collection.  Each artist invited to participate in the exhibition has had the opportunity to explore the works in the Sphinx collection and either pair an existing piece of work with an Old Master, or make an entirely new work in response to a piece of their choice.

This challenge has been taken up by artists including Yigal Ozeri, in response to Benedetto Luti’s ‘Portrait of a Young Girl’.  Here he tells us more about his work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What most interests you about the concept of Young Masters?
The concept of young masters is most interesting, in my opinion, because it is a genuine link to art history. For years young artists resisted the idea of history and its added value. Artists in general have to relate to art history because we don’t operate in a vacuum. We’re like relay race runners, in the sense that every artist has to pass his baton to the next one. Meaning, each artist has to both carry the legacy of his past predecessors, while pushing forward adding unique contribution to the mix called human civilization.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
I see myself as a figurative artist. In general I don’t feel comfortable with labelling and with my present grouping as a photorealist artist, even though I see myself as part of this genre. I feel that my contribution to art history are my works on paper. In my works on paper I accomplish an impossible level of information. More than expected from works on canvas in my genre. Generally speaking, artists work on paper with media such as charcoal, water colours and gouache. But I treat my paper as if it was canvas with oil colours and thus my paintings on paper are like other artists’ on canvas. I like to say that my works on paper are the epiphany of the illusion. Furthermore I think that my past as an abstract painter brings forth a different approach to the treatment of the primary surface. I work on it in a free painting technique, whereas most photorealistic artists work on the far and the close with similar level of accuracy and assessment. As a result in my paintings the space that is the background in my work is an abstract with a lot of movement and dynamics, in sharp contrast with the figure that is an exact representation of the reality. My works celebrate nature in its glory, figures of young women in search of their life path, returning to nature and freedom both literally and figuratively.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
It’s hard to talk about one artist that inspired me, but the American artist Andrew Wyeth is an artist that I appreciate because of his use of small brushes, the shift from the centre to the periphery and the return to the intimacy in painting. The later contribution is most important for me. This is a theme that interests me. Andrew Wyeth was an artist that didn’t pay attention to the banality of the art scene, but rather he created his own centre based on the appreciation that his works generated from collectors, galleries and museums. He ignored the politics of art, concentrating on the artistic content.

What inspired you to become an artist?
I think that an artist is born with raw talent however, that needs to be developed sharpened and cultivated. I was born in a small town in Israel to a family with no connection to, nor understanding in art. But my family noticed (especially my father) my propensity, and as of the age of 10 he would take me to paint in nature. This period in my life shaped my future with love faith and trust. In retrospect, I know that that’s where that decision took place. I attended art school in Israel, but I believe that I am an auto deduct. I copied classical; masterpieces, contemporary pieces until I developed my own unique style.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
If I were not an artist I would have been a singer. I love singing. I had a band as a teenager. I could have also become a football player, I dreamed of becoming one as well. But at the end of the day, I understood that painting is a very significant and fundamental part of my life and gradually I gave up music and was left with art and football. My son is more talented than me in football and he is currently playing professionally in Argentina. I, on the other hand, am painting in my studio in New Jersey at the Mana Contemporary, an art centre that I founded together with Eugene Lamey.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My greatest achievement as an artist up to date is being on the cover of the historical book by Louis Meisel Photorealism in the Digital Age, published by the prestigious art publisher Abrams. This is an important genre in the art world today and I have a significant part in its contemporary evolution. The fact that my painting is featured on the cover of Photorealism in the Digital Age represents my incredible journey from Israel to New York City. From dreaming about becoming an artist to being a prominent artist in the leading edge of Photorealism worldwide, with artists such as Chuck Close.

What are your plans for the future?
I am very excited about new venues that are coming to fruition in the near future on top of my existing schedule of exhibitions and participation in art fairs worldwide. The first is being invited to participate in a number of museum group shows in the United States. And the second is featuring in several books, both concentrating solely on my works, as well as books where I feature together with other artists.

Young Masters Interview with Charlotte Piper

Charlotte Piper is a recent graduate from MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts. She tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about the Young Masters concept that interests you most? 
Young Masters acknowledges and actively promotes the importance that traditional skills and values have in contemporary art: current thinking does not exist in a vacuum but is intrinsically linked to the past. The confidence demonstrated by Young Masters and its commitment to showcasing such works is passed on to artists. This support is invaluable to an artist, such as myself, who is entering the next level of their professional practice.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?
Through sculpture and painting, my work explores ways in which the body maps and processes its experiences – how embodiment and the senses enable the self to navigate its world.

Research centres on the psychological and emotional relationships between body, space and memory, extending ideas materially through symbolism and metaphor. Recent work references Carl Jung’s interpretation of alchemy; that is, how this ancient science mirrors mind and spiritual transformation.

Complementing my interest in embodiment and symbolism, I am drawn to the balance and tension of the ‘everyday’ and mortality; the ordinary and the extraordinary; what is concealed, what is revealed.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
As my work develops, so the artists who inspire me shift. They do, however, have commonalities and focus on narrative through form, line and texture. One core artist is Prunella Clough. I never stop learning from her re-interpretation and transformation of everyday objects. Others tend to be from Spanish-speaking countries, whether 17th century Juan Sanchez Cotan or contemporary artists such as Fernanda Gomes and Paulo Nimer Pjota.

Can you tell us something about your background?
The Welsh side of my family are a mix of artists, writers, actors – and doctors – so artistic influences were part of my childhood. Although my early career was as an office administrator, I maintained and developed my love of art (primarily drawing) through adult education classes and workshops. Living in London, I have been very fortunate to have galleries and museums on my doorstep.

What inspired you to become an artist, and where did you train?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t absorbed in telling stories, either through drawing or writing. These were for my own entertainment although later found an audience with friends and at school. Although circumstances prevented me from going to college earlier, being an artist is in my DNA and I have always been involved in that world. I later studied at Central Saint Martins, gaining a degree in Textiles Design, and in June this year, I graduated from the MFA Fine Art course at Wimbledon.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
My identity is too wound up in being an artist to have a clear answer: on my father’s side, Yorkshire, I’ve inherited a logical and forensic side to my personality… Before Wimbledon, I worked for a television production company, where my responsibilities centred on music rights and clearances for all programming. The legal complexities and media-creative environment suited me, so perhaps this would be my answer.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My biggest achievement is a personal one: no matter what the obstacle, I never wavered from my ambition to one day become a professional artist. I kept faith in myself and my work and, when the opportunity finally came, I took the plunge to study full-time. When I graduated from Central Saint Martins, it was, like the cliché, a dream come true.

What are your plans for the future?
I intend to continue exhibiting, including with a group of professional artists I have recently joined. To take my professional practice forward, I have moved into an ASC studio complex – an ideal environment for developing new work and meeting like-minded people. Early 2016, I will be co-curating a group exhibition. This is my first experience of curation, which I’m looking forward to.