Illustrating the female form with artist Sasha Compton
How would you describe your art in three words?
Explorative, positive, expressive
How’s your journey been as an artist?
It’s been an adventure so far. I always knew I wanted to be an artist yes, that’s the only thing in my life that has been so certain. I grew up in a creative family and I loved getting stuck in to all practices of art. My lowlights are in the struggle of knowing exactly which form of art I want to express my concept in. It’s actually a privilege though to be torn in so many wonderful directions. As long as the concept resonates with me then I tend to start with that and see where I end up.
I did an art foundation at Central St Martins which really helped me to direct my work to a more illustrative style. Being around my fellow creatives at Chelsea College of Art was a highlight as it was so inspiring to be surrounded by talented friends who questioned my work and its meaning, and with whom I shared strong interests.
Although lino-printing, painting and ceramics are my main focus currently, I spent a number of years working in the fashion industry as a Graphic Designer previously. I think my love for the female form and bold colours came from that exposure, I really like that together those two elements can bring a lot of positivity.
Do you have a life motto or a saying that you live by?
If you don’t succeed at first try, try again (because some days I will need to get into a different frame of mind to have another crack at it).
You’re currently based in Amsterdam but originally from North Yorkshire. How has living in Amsterdam impacted on your art?
I find living abroad and being exposed to a different culture incredibly inspiring in itself, as it means that I am so often out of my comfort zone.
One of the fantastic things about Amsterdam is its proximity to the natural world, with its historic canals reaching right across the city. Amsterdam beautifully changes colour with every season. It’s a very inspiring city to live in, every corner reveals another picture-perfect scene full of heritage. There is a creative air to the city, with lots of small and wonderful independent galleries hidden away in the Jordaan.
I really like the slower pace of life here which encourages me to take time to appreciate the small things. This is reflected in my art.
What do you dream of achieving through your art?
I strongly believe in the emotive power of art. I would love for others to be able to connect with my art, to question and enjoy it.
What does a day in the life of Sasha Compton look like?!
No day is the same! I tend to go on a run first thing in the morning, if I’m lucky I’ll catch the sunrise in the reflection of the peaceful canals. This time at the beginning of the day is so important to me; to get my creative thoughts flowing, and prepare for the day ahead.
I’ll tend to do some admin with a good coffee (and Mochi of course) and then see what I wrote on my to-do list the day before. Sometimes it’s collecting prints from the printers, heading to the ceramics studio, whilst other times it’s exploring avenues with a new project in mind, finding the most appropriate ways of expressing what I have bottled up in my head.
If I’ve been creating in doors all day, I’ll go for a lunchtime walk with my fiancé (I got engaged in July woohoo). I find it very hard to stop when I am in the work-zone, however my work is always much better when I do take a step back and think forward.
You created two fantastic artworks for The Motherhood Prints. Can you tell us a bit more about them?!
With pleasure, I loved creating for the Motherhood Prints. ‘Stretch’ and ‘Wonder’ represent my interpretation of the stages of motherhood, using colour to convey emotion, and simple lines to give a fluid feeling of the journey of motherhood.
I tend to draw from real life poses as I find it a more organic process, there is so much atmosphere to capture when something is real, just like painting ‘en plein air” or from a still life. Due to the current restrictions, I decided to use my own body as a guideline (these images of course weren’t sent through to show the process!). You can read more about my inspiration for the pieces online.
And finally can you share with us two women that inspire you and why?
I really admire YBA Sarah Lucas; visually her artwork isn’t always to my taste but I love the concepts behind her pieces. The witty way she uses her art to question gender, sex, life and death, often with a very dry British sense of humour. It reminds me how important a concept is.
Yayoi Kusama is another inspiration for me, from an early age she was set on being an artist, many critics tore her work apart yet she kept going. Kusama’s work is a form of art therapy for her and you can really feel that through her expressive forms and use of colour.