Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Conversation ... Sophie Westerman

This month we are very pleased to have an exciting young local talent,  Sophie Westerman, exhibiting at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. 'I Have No Memory of This Place' is an exploration of perception and memory, and its connection to place. We spoke to Sophie about her art and she generously shared the ideas and circumstances behind her work.





TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 

I am Melbourne born and bred. I have lived in the same house in Canterbury my whole life bar 1 month.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?

I mainly make prints and drawings but do a bit of everything else as well. I love all forms of printmaking but use etching and lithography the most these days. My work looks a lot at memory and the idea of home. I am particularly interested in how people memorialise personal history and archive memories.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?

I was lucky enough to do a bit of printmaking in high school and always enjoyed the excitement of lifting up the paper to reveal a print for the first time. I have grown to love the various textures achieved through printmaking and the processes of making a plate that sometimes involve fun things like fire and acid. Prints are one step removed from the artist’s hand as they are impressions. The combination of the makers mark and something more mechanical I find mysterious and intriguing.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?

Putting together my first solo exhibition at Rooftop Art Space was a big moment for me. It was the first exhibition post VCA and without that support structure around me. It was pretty exciting to put my work out in public and see my name printed on a flyer.

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?

I have greatly admired Miso’s work for a long time now and would absolutely love to collaborate with her. Her work has a simplicity to it while also containing a lot of depth and detail. I would also love to work with Laith McGregor who has a great drawing style and sense of humour.


WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?

I have a studio in a shed like structure in the garden at home. I am very much a nightowl and a homebody so that works well for me. My practice is split between working in my studio and printing. In the studio I like to take my time and jump between different mediums and projects. If I am struggling to feel creative I often copy images from my collection of art books, like Goya’s Disasters of War series or Kathe Kollwitz’s prints and drawings. In the workshop I like to be efficient with my time and the press and get all the planning and mucking around out of the way beforehand.


IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?

It’s strange, there are some bands or musicians that just fit (like The National or Keaton Henson) but there are others that, though I love them, I just can’t work to. I tend to favour alternative or folksy music with a depressing bent. I also have a huge pile of really lightweight movies that I put on as I can keep up with the plot without paying too much attention. Basically, having music or movies playing helps me settle into my studio but I like silence sometimes too.


WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS

I hope I have created a peaceful and contemplative environment. How the work is presented is almost as important as the work itself in my opinion. I like making quiet spaces. Hopefully local residents can also connect with some of the places I’ve depicted and reflect on their own memories.


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?

I would like to be making art full time. I would also like to be a better printmaker and more efficient with my email replying. My dream is to one day build a tiny house that looks like one of my prints and live in it. 

____________________________________



Thanks to Sophie for her openness in sharing her thoughts. You can get a sneak peek at her work here, in this preview video:



No comments: