It’s Tom from Red Propeller, how’re you doing?
As well as providing us with frankly stunning artwork to sell, I was hoping you’d be able to answer a few questions for me? Little nuggets of information for people to chew on, get to know the pieces a bit better, and yourself a bit better! I think it’d go a long way in connecting people to the art, the artists, and the gallery.
Please, feel free to be as verbose or succinct as you’d like, completely up to you.
(And feel free to pick and choose the questions, answer all of them if you want, or just a few, it’s all good!)
Looking forward to hearing from you! All the best Tom
What/who inspires you? (Day to day, in your work, anything you like!) Sea, river, stream, spring, vortex, pool, puddle, rain, hail, spill, splash, tide, rip, current, backwash, ice, tap, leak, gutter, gush, flow, flood, tears,... The irreverence and the joy that is Water.
What’s a typical working day like? 'Ideally' I get up at 7 to practice yoga, then after breakfast I go down to the sea for a swim. If it's too stormy I do a coastal walk instead - or both. Down at the sea I make sketches, take photos, make pencil or mental notes - I observe.
In the summer when it's warmer I snorkel and make underwater films. I gather information and experience here at the sea. After a hot shower and a hot drink I go to the studio. The studio is part of our house but has a separate entrance that you get to through the back yard. I break for lunch and then go back down. I often go for a coastal walk in the evening then back home to cook. I enjoy my plant-based cooking adventures/experiments! In the evening I like to watch a film, a drama, or a nature documentary, then I go to bed and read before sleep. At the moment I've got several books open by my bed that I 'cherry pick' from - I'm re-reading Tao - The Water Course Way by Alan Watts, Raids on the Unspeakable by Thomas Merton, Chuang Tzu's The Tao of Nature, and for some almost-fiction - Tove Jansson's Book of Winter. I need a recommendation for a new fiction book!
Favourite piece of work you’ve seen recently? A large bright pink buoy I found while swimming this morning. It had become free and was dancing to the rhythm of the gathering storm waves in a rockpool. There was the darkening cloud-laden light and rock, crashing waves, and then there was the buoy - a startling bouncing bright bright punctum pink of jolliness.
What are you currently working on? I work with an open process, which means I do not have a set outcome in mind. The nature of my process is to work spontaneously without preconceived notion.
What’s next I am always about to find out...
Favourite medium and why? Water - I feel there is so much to learn from water; water is teaching all the time. If I'm not under it, in it, on it, or by it, I'm reading, researching, talking, writing, drawing, painting, dreaming, writing about it...
When you first felt like an artist/what got you going/what was that spark? There is only the spark.
Tea or coffee? Fresh coffee with hot Oatly Barista oat milk - it's the best. I avoid dairy as I don't like the way animals are farmed. They're considered as mere 'product' which is archaic. I used not to drink tea at all until I was invited to meet with a Buddhist master monk in China at a temple a few years ago. He kindly made me green tea and I thought it would be rude to refuse, so I drank the cups and cups of it he made, and found it was good. Chinese artist friends often bring me more when they come over and visit.
Favourite artist? Many of my favourite artists happen to be friends of mine. They seem to magnetise towards me from all over the world. I think I must be magnetic to brilliance! Seriously though, I recently read that certain proteins in our cells are magnetised so if we were lost at sea we would instinctively know which way North is. I have great respect for the sea and take great care, usually keeping to the littoral and sublittoral zones, but anyway if you're by the sea, you're never lost!
Do you listen to music as you work? If so, what’s your jam? If I'm working outside I am listening to the water obviously, and in the studio lately I am listening to the in-between sounds, the incidental sounds, the un-sounds. I love it when it rains outside, or if the door is open and I can hear the stream in the yard. Today I want to listen to this morning's podcast of Julie Mullen's radio show for Dartington Sound Art Radio, as she invited me to read my text works out as 'artist in residence'.
Dear Tom, thanks for making contact - great to hear from you. Above I have pasted and then answered your questions. It's been interesting. Keep in touch and get back to me if I can be of any more help. Best wishes, Susie