Hey everyone, as part of Uni I have been talking to a lot of different artists I admire so I decided to take the opportunity to feature some of them on here :)
Natty Maid (Mandy Tait) is a designer I have bought a couple of lovely tote things from. You can buy her designs here, and follow her facebook page here for updates!
Tell me a little bit about your practise, what you make and how you go about making it?
As you know I am really into Printmaking and most recently I have been focussing on subject matter that would appeal to a more commercial audience. This is mainly due to the fact I have gone forth into the realms of "trade show" and therefore what I make/design is (sort of) dictated by what I am capable of producing on my own. When I started out (smaller scale to a gallery who was kind enough to take me on plus friends/family)....I made editions of prints (gocco, linocuts, collagraphs and would sell them) However I soon realised that if I was going to produce for a larger audience I would need to change the way I work. Sorry this is such a waffle, but bear with me!
Selling my prints was all well and good but once they are on a wall in someone's house that was it. I was realising that the design/making process was taking the most of my time, so started to think of ways that I could take this into other areas. And hey presto the way I now work was borne! I shall now complete this 'essay' with an example. My collagraphs are my most expensive pieces as they usually are in small editions (the plate gets squashed and loses detail through the printing process) I'll start of my doing some pencil studies of my chosen subject matter. Once I am happy with the composition, I create my printing plate...usually going totally overboard with pattern. Once I have printed my collagraphs I look at the positive/negative shapes in the finished print and create a design from this and this is what I use for my screenprinting onto textiles/stationery. So this gives me a set of limited edition wall based art plus a more 'graphic' simplified image that I can take further for surface decoration/pattern repeats.
What do you do to get inspired?
What do I do to get inspired? Well I have learnt that when I try to be inspired ....nothing happens! I would LOVE to say that I walk about everywhere with a sketchbook, but that would not be true. Having said that I do have a sketch book that I take occasionally which I sit and doodle in. I always look at what I do and at the time think it is nothing special. But I have found that when I go back to look at my doodles they have a different feel and I am finding that I am using this more in my work. It might be an ornate lamp or piece of pattern in a curtain that I noted. I also like looking at nature (i know everyone says that!) but the shapes/patterns found in plants/animals/birds/fish never cease to amaze me. I have found that my work evolves when I just play about with pattern!
Where do you work best and why that place?
My studio...although it is in an old school building which is not insulated and is VERY cold this time of year. I do love it though. There are other 'creatives' there too. SO it is nice just to have folk around. That is what I missed the most when I left Illustration at Dundee....the studio environment. I think what I like most about it is that I am starting to make it my own. At first when I moved in it was pretty sparse, but as I have started to grow in terms of what I am making/doing so is my wee place. I have 2 presses now/3 GOCCOS and my walls are starting to be covered with my work....oh yes and there is that inky smell!
What media do you prefer and why?
mmmmm let me think...Have I mentioned that I like printmaking? There are several reasons for this. There are so many ways you can go, whether it be drawing a sketch on paper over an inked surface to create a beautifully fuzzy mono print to building up a more complex image through a reduction linocut. The possibilities are endless! Plus you never really know what to expect when you put a piece of paper on top of a printing plate and put it through a press. There is alway an element of excitement when lifting the first proof.
If you could choose to draw one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
If I could draw one thing for the rest of my life...it would be people! It is an area that is not evident in my current work (as I am catering for Trade Show audience) but life drawing/the human face was an area I was besotted with at Art School and is an area I want to explore further for more gallery based exhibitions in the future.
Any advice to other aspiring artists?
Enjoy, explore and make the most of the gift you have been born with. Whether you choose to make it a career or prefer to keep it as a (dare I say it)
hobby; create Create CREATE!!