Following the recent What Next? Sunderland event on Wednesday, the latest and 36th branch of a national campaign to bring together artists and cultural players from grass-roots to those on the top of the trees, I left with a renewed passion. I’d signed up as social media coordinator to help with the Sunderland effort, and am so excited to see how the community of artists and cultural players can influence arts here, in a city so often overlooked in the shadow of its more “culturally significant” cousin, Newcastle.
It was there that I met Sophie Lisa Beresford. She told me about her upcoming art show “Geordie Mackem Magic” at Arts Centre Washington, and I was quickly won over and wanted to check it out; not in the least because she’s one of the most enthusiastic and engaging speakers I’ve ever met. Her work, she explained, explores her identity of “raggie” (a local term for chav (a national term for a downgraded member of working class society)), and how her art reaches past the barriers places on her by society to For more on this topic, I thoroughly recommend you check out Owen Jones’ ridiculously insightful “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class”.
Long story short, Sophie’s now a member of our 99% Perspiration Facebook group, and was promoting her event. Meanwhile, another Sophie, our guest blogger and journalism student Sophie Dishman, is searching for a new contributor to her A Day in the Life… blog series. I introduced Sophie to Sophie and, voila, a connection was made. That’s why I love the group.
A big thanks to 99% blogger Sophie Dishman for allowing us to reblog her Day in the Life series. Over to you, Sophie!
This week I spoke to Sophie Lisa Beresford. Sophie is 30-years-old and is an artist and by her own definition a healer.
How did you get into your job?
My job is within me – it is who I am and always have been. I committed myself to art and healing and subsequently opportunities for me to exhibit my work and offer healing to others opened up.
What do you like about your job?
Fulfilling my life’s purpose. I am the type of human being who can’t sleep or feel at peace if I am out of alignment with my purpose. It is like a fail safe mechanism that ensures I am driven to fulfil my purpose, if I am off track I feel very ill and disorientated.
What I like about it is being myself wholeheartedly and having the opportunity to share what is truly within me, with other people.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
Being an artist takes a lot of Faith in yourself and your work. Wading through and cleaning up the inner mess and moving a forward is what I have found to be a challenge.
What do you think are some of the challenges in the creative sector?
The challenges for me are the practicalities and form filling and building a business as a hyper-creative and dyslexic person. Acquiring funding etc. can be difficult for some artists as some of us are not wired to readily understand how to access the networks we need to access, in order to move our work into the community most effectively.
Understanding the dry, mechanical parts of being an artist in business can be a hurdle.
If you did a degree, how has it helped you?
It helped me train my ferocity in self belief. You are challenged frequently when studying fine art. Rubbing up against ideas and being challenged frequently was not easy but it sharpened my blade (metaphorically).
Why did you pick to work the sector that you work in?
I chose to work on planet earth as a human artist. I chose this sector as humans are in a state of important evolution. We need art to support the evolution of humanity’s perception of who and what we are, so that we can grow beyond the cultures we were born into.
Describe a typical day in your job.
- I wake up, listen to spirit and hear what I am to act upon. Then I exercise my body and focus upon what I am creating now.
- I may be required to liaise with people from different organisations to organise elements of an upcoming art show. I may make art, be part of installing my art or even perform.
- As an example: the day I took images for my new show upcoming this month (March 16 2016). I woke up and put in my 1.25 meter long hair extensions and put on my goddess make up and donned my top secret magical outfit.
- I woke up my photographer who was sleeping on my sofa (she slept over the night before) and she made us some breakfast. She got her kit together as I finished up my look for the shoot.
- We left in a taxi, headed for Sunderland city centre in the early hours of the morning.
- We chose to do the city centre shoot before the town opened in the morning as my costume was revealing…
- My photographer set up her kit in the centre of town near market square and gave me the signal.
- I cast off my cover/large coat to reveal my handmade top secret super magical costume!
- I posed in the centre of town while she captured the images we needed to complete a set we have been working on for the NGCA Sunderland.
- Once we got the pics we headed off to another location and continued to add to our collection of shots.
- These images will be exhibited this year in Arts Centre Washington & NGCA Sunderland.
Any advice for people wanting to get into your sector and/or the creative industry?
It’s often left quite unknown how to get into being a professional artist, or it’s really hard for the artist to understand how to take practical steps towards this – as they may find it hard to key into practical systems as I do.
My advice is just bring yourself forth, bring what is within you (this is your gold) out into the world and share it with others.
This kicks off a momentum that brings opportunity to share yourself and your work more and more.
This is how I ‘became’ a professional artist.
I say ‘became’ because I have always been an artist, it has no beginning or end for me and no actual time when it became a ‘profession’.
It is important to understand the value of your work to the experience of other people and then bring it forth from within you for the world to ‘eat’.
Then opportunities can appear that allow you to offer more food to the human table.
Stay productive, stay awesome!
– Interview by Sophie Dishman –