Q & A with Sophie Woodrow, by The Art Circus

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Sophie was born in Bristol in 1979 and graduated from Falmouth College of Art with a BA in Studio Ceramics in 2001.

How did your time at Falmouth Art School help in the development of your practice?

I spent all of my time at Falmouth wondering what I “should” be making, it was only the disappointment of leaving with an average grade and a motley collection of work that then spurred me on to work hard, forget the “should”, and find what I wanted to make myself.

Do you find the medium you use more important than the subject matter/message?

That’s a real chicken and egg question for me, I’d have to say it’s a completely symbiotic relationship and I am not aware of one being more important that the other.

What’s more satisfying, the process of making or the final product?

Usually it’s the possibility inherent in the making that’s most satisfying, then just occasionally a piece hits just the right note, and that’s great.

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What kind of artwork would you make if you had a warehouse of artists working for you?

I’d make a lot more mistakes, good and bad.

Do you think owning art is more of an investment or a luxury?

I think owning art should be a pleasure, I find it sad how buying art is now so synonymous with financial investment.

Do you think artists should think of their work more in terms of decoration?

No I don’t think artists should think of their work more in decorative terms, but sometimes I do feel that presently making beautiful things can not be seen as serious or progressive, and I think that’s ridiculous.

What are the pros and cons of showing work at Art Fairs compared to galleries and which do you think has most impact on an artist’s career?

For me at this stage art fairs have done more for me and allowed me to work , generally they make things happen quickly, and the rules appear more straight forward for someone starting on their career.

Your creatures present themselves somewhere between endearing and sinister. Do you see this in your work and is it something you set out to evoke in the viewer?

Yes very much, I can’t help but be endeared to beautiful animals, but also want to show the instinctive beings they are, and encourage people to think about the animals we are.

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What is the thinking behind using only white?

I love colour and wonder if my work might one day explode with it, but I think I must love form more, and for the moment can only work with that. I think it’s also something about not wanting to make literal objects, I’m not saying this is an illustration of an actual thing, but representative of an imaginative thought, and I think the whiteness and the stillness help convey that.

How important is the size of the creatures? Do you think there would be problems in making one 10 times larger? 

Yes I do, unfortunately, It would be fun to make something enormous, but I think their scale is important relative to the body, also I think of them as my thoughts and I don’t want them to appear dominant over the imagination of the person viewing them, I’d rather encourage a conversation.

Have you ever exhibited your work in a natural environment, amongst flowers and trees?

I have thought of it, and so have other people a photographer recently did some photo shopped images for me, putting my pieces in landscapes, but really it makes the pieces too literal, like saying this is an animal in it’s natural environment, while actually what I’m saying is, this is an animal from my imagination, and white cube spaces help more with that.

How would you like your work to develop?

It’s a modern cliche, but making art is so much about “being true to yourself”, starting out I was determined that my work would not be seen as personal, but I have come to realise that the most complex and interesting thing you can offer the world to look at is very often your self, and with that in mind I hope my work continues to evolve as I do, doesn’t get stuck , and that I can take some risks based on the faith that what I make is what I want to make.

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© Sophie Woodrow, 2014
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