Our Artist of the Month blog series is back, and we couldn't be more excited to showcase the incredible talent of artists from all corners of the world. From expressive abstract paintings to detailed pencil drawings, get ready to be blown away by the creativity and skill of these amazing artists. So if you're looking for creative inspiration or just want to appreciate the beauty of art, our Artist of the Month blogs are the perfect place to start!
Kicking off our 2024 series, we introduce you all to the talented Tracey Paterson, a contemporary British Australian artist who produces gorgeous, vibrant artworks created in a naive style. We had the pleasure of chatting with Tracey and getting to know more about her and her craft...
Q. Where have you found inspiration lately?
A. Everywhere! I really notice lots of little things and I’m always trying to make sense of the world, so I like to paint things I’ve seen today or if a memory has triggered something, it might be something really nostalgic that emerges. I think I’m also feeling a little homesick at the moment, so there’s lots of memories of Sydney popping up but usually muddled up with British things too.
Q. Is there a piece of art or a project that you are particularly excited about right now?
A. The thing I’m most excited about right now is my work going into a gallery in Glasgow this month - they’ve chosen my work specifically as my bright joyful colours are a counter to the grey long winter there, so I’m really thrilled that they found the joy in my paintings, which is exactly what I want people to feel when they see my work. I also love the fact that it’s Glasgow, which is where my husband is from.
Q. What kinds of tools or references do you like to use when creating artwork?
A. I am only just starting to keep sketchbooks which I sometimes go back to as a reference. I don’t really like to work from photographs, although I know a lot of artists do this really well. I prefer to just paint the way I feel about things, and sometimes this is so abstracted that a realistic reference is the opposite of what I need. I am using more paintbrushes lately, but I also use cloth, paper, my hands or any object to apply paint or splashing ink and water around.
Q. What artists or artworks (from your life or art history) do you admire or consider influential to your work & why?
A. I love all sorts of art and I’m always wanting to see more. I don’t think I’m influenced by anyone particularly although I love seeing artists I follow becoming more and more successful because it inspires me to keep pushing myself. I remember the first time I saw Impressionist art, an exhibition came to Sydney and I just fell in love. I knew I needed to go and see the light in Paris for myself and it changed my entire path, then I ended up moving to London where it was much easier to travel to Europe, and London has now become my home too. Sometimes people say that my art reminds them of other artists, Ken Done has been mentioned to me a few times. It’s really interesting that people see that, I remember Ken Done from growing up in the 80s, and it feels like a real honour for people to say that.
Q. What advice do you have for other new or aspiring artists?
A. I think it’s important to believe in yourself but also understand that self doubt is part of life for most creative people, so be kind to yourself even on the days you don’t feel are your most successful creative days. I would say don’t spend too much time trying to explain or justify yourself to people who aren’t supportive. I feel like finding your tribe is important but so is resilience. Find people who you connect with and can be authentic with. But this is true in life, not just art!
I have found it is really easy to spend money on things as an artist starting out that won’t be helpful. There are an overwhelming number of open calls and fees for exhibitions. But do your research on what will be right for you. I think unfortunately there are a lot of businesses who can exploit artists if you’re not careful, so again, do your research and trust your gut.
Q. Professionally, what has been your biggest achievement so far?
A. Getting my work into fine art galleries. It feels like an important milestone for my work. I have work going into some lovely galleries in 2024 and already planned for 2025.
Q. What is your first memory of creating art?
A. Dipping things into oil paint suspended in water in kindergarten. I loved how the paint just flowed and did unpredictable things and the bright colours I can still remember.
Q. How do you spend your time when you’re not creating artwork?
A. I love to walk in London, always finding new things to see. I love to travel and I have a long list of places I am trying to get to. I also love going to the theatre, especially musical theatre - I’m fascinated by how creative people can be and what they can achieve with sets. I also love live music, and I’m trying to see more of that. Fitness is also really important to me. I think focusing on strengthening our bodies as we get older is really important, for all sorts of reasons, and I’m determined to get fitter and stronger.
Q. What work do you most enjoy doing?
A. I enjoy making paintings that are really big and messy. I feel most expressive when I can be free of worrying about too much mess or getting things ‘right’ - I want to do more bigger format paintings if I can.
Q. What is your dream project?
A. I would love my work that expresses my quirky Australian/British experiences to be seen by other Aussie/Brits - whether it’s in a famous gallery that more people can see, or projected onto the Sydney Opera House as part of the annual Vivid festival. I would also love my art to be used in design, and I’ve had some early discussions with fashion brands about this, but I’d love to achieve that goal.
It's been an absolute pleasure getting to know more about the talented Tracey; she's an inspiration to us all! Her stunning artwork can be found on her website, shop, and Instagram, so make sure to check them out. We'll be back again in February with another edition of our Artist of the Month blog series, so stay tuned!