By Kate Marsden
We’re visiting the rather lovely Dulwich in South London this week, to take in the equally lovely work of artist Laura Hepworth. Read on to hear all about her process, and how she sees the Just A Card campaign helping to strengthen the creative community.
Tell us a little about you. What do you do?
I am a Conceptual Artist based in East Dulwich, South East London. I create abstract monochrome paintings and installations, which identify with the complexities of the everyday by the representations created through process.
For me, the process of the artwork communicates the reasoning and resolve founded within the everyday. The definition of mark making has become a psychology, an act of release and reflection. A way of keeping myself grounded, to better myself daily and to keep my own mental health in check through the complexities of the everyday. On top of that, I work full time as a teaching assistant and artist in residence at a primary school in South West London.
What is a typical day for you?
So a typical day for me would be spent with children, a job I love very much. A lot of my time consists of organising new displays about the school and the few art workshops, where I have had the opportunity to gain more experience in teaching, and bettering the language that’s utilised in the workshops, to communicate the processes appropriately to suit relevant age levels which work for the children. As well as, offering creative advice and support to fellow members of staff within the school.
However, after work and on the weekends, are where the real fun begins! From the moment I arrive home, I spend a great deal of time working on commissions and the planning of my exhibitions, talks and workshops. One of which is fast approaching - this Christmas I will be hosting an exhibition, two talks and workshop events at one of my favourite spots in South East London. Two Spoons in Honor Oak Park will be featuring a collection of paintings from my current project ‘Transfers’ (2018) from Monday 3rd December, right through until January 2019.
Where do you work? What does your studio space look like? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
So the majority of the work I make in my backroom within my home, in Dulwich. Other the years, I’ve developed this understanding and idea that a ‘studio’ doesn’t have to be in a fixed location, it can be as flexible as you are and move with you. Whether that is the floor in your living room, your kitchen table or at the location you’re taking influence from for your work. Having said that, a great deal of my time when painting, is spent on the floor and that’s the comfort zone I step into every time I go to produce a new piece of work. A location I can go to, at any time, come away from and revisit whenever I just need five minutes to myself, and become immersed within the process of making.
Whenever I am not at work or in my ‘home studio’. I spend a lot of time with my family, going for a coffee down Lordship Lane in Dulwich, where there are plenty of indie businesses to choose from. And going to support my fellow local entrepreneurs, makers and artists at their events that take place in the area. You’ll find no place like South East London, it is buzzing with energy, there’s always something going on!
Where do you consider to be the main challenges facing designers/makers at the moment?
I believe a great deal of the challenges we face as creatives are sourced from just getting yourself noticed, on and outside of the influence of social media. I find myself in a position some of the time, trying to do ‘what I think is the best’ for my practice as an artist, however feeling ‘my best’ isn’t always enough to keep going. And only after discovering the Just A Card campaign did I become much more accepting of that. A realisation that the feelings I feel as a creative and the struggles I go through, are shared by every indie business owner, maker, gallery and artist that tries to do everything they can to make all ends meet.
What ambitions do you have for your business over the next few years?
So what’s next for me, I guess the next thing would be to work towards getting my hands on a studio. And begin exhibiting within more centrally based galleries in London. However, for now, it’s all about getting involved in the art trails for next year, like Nunhead Art Trail and Dulwich Open House.
Do you have any tips for fellow designer/makers/small business owners who are reading this and may be just starting out?
Be prepared to work hard for what you love, keeping faith and resilient is key in what you do. And know that ‘failure’ isn’t always a negative thing, it’s an opportunity for growth for you and your business. And see that every moment is a new moment, it has never happened before and it will never happen again. Which means try to live each day as its own separate day instead of overly expecting, assuming a specific outcome.
Please share any favourite independent shops/galleries and tell us why you like them?
Two Spoons in Honor Oak Park, run by it’s lovely owners Rosy and Luca, is one of my favourite spots in South East London to grab my breakfast and coffee fix during the weekends I visit my parents. Not only does it hold such a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere for families, but it’s beautiful interior beams with charm and character!
There are a couple of spots along Lordship Lane, about my new home in Dulwich. The first being Pearspring, my ultimate spot to get my plant fix, not only does this indie shop supply the most beautiful indoor plants and botanical goods, but it’s staff are really what makes the place as good as it is! With their welcoming charm, comes the engaging and interesting knowledge behind the plants they supply and how to best care for them.
Then there’s Kanella & Co, a beautiful coffee spot I’ve grown to love since I moved to the area. Not only do I love to meet friends here for a leisurely brew, but it’s also a fantastic little spot to meet and catch up with clients and fellow creatives within the community, to discuss new opportunities and strategies to encourage and learn from each other. To raise each other’s spirits and love for what we do!
Had you realised that Just A Card campaign’s message suggests cards as an example of a small purchase, we’re about encouraging all sales as they keep businesses afloat?
Yes! After discovering the campaign it’s something I’ve really taken on board since my last exhibition during the summer, and it’s something I intend to stick too. I always look to support my friends within the community that surrounds me in South East London. Whether that’s reading my friends blogs, buying one too many unkillable plants made by my dear friend and fellow maker Shannon Reed, also known as, Mockingbird Makes. Go to their shows, and promote their ideas and events on and off of social media.
How important is the Just A Card campaign message to you and your business?
Just A Card is such an incredible cause, and one so valued and beneficial to all creatives and indie businesses, in this day and age. Anything that encourages people to support us is worth a great deal. And in a way, which helps all of us, as fellow makers, indie business owners and artists help each other to learn new things from one another as well. This helps us to reach new milestones together to build up a stronger more stable foundation as a collective and community, and one that has the creative industry at the heart of it.
Where did you hear about the campaign and which Social Media platforms do you use most frequently? What do you think people can do to support Just A Card, and how will you be doing so?
I first heard about the campaign through my friend and fellow indie business owner of Space at 61 in Peckham, Shona Chambers, during the earlier stages of planning for my recent exhibition at her gorgeous venue, back in July.
A great deal of my time and work has been invested into Instagram, there’s just a lot of fun to be had with it. From posting on your grid, to uploading photos and videos to your Stories. Of which I use on a regular basis to promote my events, work and process through my Instagram live Series, which I will be looking to air in November in the run up to my next exhibition at Two Spoons during Christmas.
By supporting Just A Card, there is so much that can be done. Just by talking about its message, what it means to me and how it can relate to the lives we lead every day. Whether that’s passing it onto your friends, family and even clients. The more that know Just A Card’s message the better, and the stronger we’ll be for it. I think it’s probably safe to say my partner has grown a thick skin to the amount of times I’ve spoken about it or asked him to take a video of my happy dances!