I discovered Sharon’s account on Instagram a few weeks ago and have really enjoyed getting to know her through the squares. Sharon is an artist, museum educator and mother of two living and working in West London. She also has the BEST smile. I wanted to find out a little more about her and her beautiful artwork.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘Seeing Ourselves’ series?
I have been working on the ‘Seeing Ourselves’ mixed media collage series, consisting of over 250 pieces, for the last two and a half years.
‘Seeing Ourselves’ explores identity, western beauty standards, representation and Afro hair. My limited-edition prints and bespoke collages have been acquired by collectors globally, and I have delivered collage workshops for clients including the National Trust. I create hand-assembled collages using photographs almost daily as a way to be present, reflective and mindful. Each collage reaffirms my right to ‘take up space’ even in places where she so often does not see herself represented.
I graduated from Central St Martins University of the Arts in London in 2011 with a BA in Fine Art, I hold a Post Graduate Teaching and Learning Certificate in post-16 citizenship education from the Institute of Education, and a BA in social science from Thames Valley University. The combination of experiences from these studies alongside my work experience in various educational and non-educational settings inform my current collage series.
2. Your prints are beautiful. Which is your favourite and why? (Or is that like asking you who your favourite child is?! 🙂
It’s impossible to choose a favourite print from the ‘Seeing Ourselves’ collection. It’s definitely like you asking me to choose my favourite child! Each collage work was created to express different emotions. They act like a page from a diary, a reminder of how I was feeling. On today’s post I shared a large handcut papercut piece featuring my friend, Karen Arthur. It has recently been purchased by an influential global venue and art collector.
3. Who or what was the last thing that made you laugh?
My friend Che was the last person to make me laugh as we spoke on the phone. She was laughing about how fabulous a teal liquid lipstick looked on me.
4. Whose home would you most like to see your artwork displayed in?
I would most like to see my artwork displayed in the home of Deborah Roberts. She is a phenomenal African American collage artist who I really admire for her powerful pieces and her humility. I met her last year at the opening of her Stephen Friedman Gallery show, she greeted me by saying my insta handle, gave me a signed copy of her book and some cards. I spoke with her last weekend on instagram and she was so generous with her time and support of my work.
5. What has been a positive to have come out of this lockdown period for you?
Lockdown has been a real rollercoaster of emotions as I’m sure it has been for many people. I have missed close friends but thankfully live close to family members.
There have been several positives to come out of lockdown for my career as an artist. I have been able to dedicate more time to working on the series, adding pieces to the website, launching new prints and a new card range. Sharing my work more confidently and selling more pieces than ever before to global collectors has been a major positive!
The loss of lives due to the global pandemic during lockdown has been heart-breaking. The Black Lives Matters movement has been empowering but again, the reasons for the sparking of the movement have affected me deeply. It is the pinnacle of hundreds of years of racism, trauma and oppression. Black squares and reading are not enough. Change needs to happen globally, it is the job of everyone.
6. In our fast moving world, rituals have the power to ground and stabilise us, keep us focussed and purposeful. (I like to light a candle and press the button on the coffee machine every morning, and practice a little yoga or meditation before bed.) Do you have a daily ritual that you can share with us?
I start my day with an organic rosehip tea and a bowl of porridge. I am trying to return to running so have just started couch to 5K with my 7 year old daughter so we have decided to run together 3 times a week. I usually write my Instagram post first thing in the morning. It helps me to process my feelings and when I write in a somewhat drowsy state, my posts are more free, open and revealing.
7. Let’s pretend we are allowed to travel this Summer. If you had a free ticket to go anywhere in the world where would you go?
I would go to Barbados! I miss it terribly and would love to see my friends and family. In addition to London, Barbados is also ‘home’. It’s been years since we’ve been there and I would love the kids to see it now they are 7 and 12.
8. What was the last thing you treated yourself to?
Hot pink sunloungers, and a coffee and coconut ice-cream from Fouberts in Chiswick.
9. And finally, because I’m beauty obsessed and love discovering new products, what would be your desert island beauty product?
I’m totally obsessed with bold coloured liquid lipsticks. My latest find is Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Insomniac’ which is teal coloured. I like unusual colours, I no longer want to blend in but prefer to be bold while living on my own terms in my mid-40’s.
Thank you Sharon, I really loved reading your answers and hope we get to see an Insta snap of your new pink sun-loungers soon!