An interview with Victoria Wainwright: SEOS artist, Social Media Officer, ACO, printmaker and silversmith
What is your background?
I have always been a doodler, but for some reason when it came to choosing my destiny I chose to take the path of the bookworm. One English degree later, I stomped off to Drama School and acted up all over the place for about ten years.
Finally, I have come full circle back to drawing. Being generally quite crafty, I just love making stuff so I started making silver jewellery and christening boxes too.
Now I concentrate on my silvery empire, doing the odd commission and teaching art at Kent Adult Education. I am still learning as I go and having fun along the way.
What inspires you?
I particularly love Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Rackham and Toulouse Lautrec. I am drawn to illustrative styles, especially those with a dark or silly sense of humour. My current favourite artist is Swedish illustrator Staffan Gnosspelius, who cruelly puts new work up every year at www.urbanart.co.uk, tempting my beleaguered purse. I have just bought this one. Check out that awesome yawn!
With silversmithing, everything inspires me. Sadly, most of my ideas pop into my head when I am on the motorway, desperately hoping it doesn’t fall out of my head as I tackle the roundabout. Everyday silly stuff, like egg on toast was a great excuse to use up my copper and pop a bit of gold on top. Copper gets grubby so it becomes burnt toast for a while. I charge extra for this amazing feature!
How do you stay fresh?
I love teaching at the Adult Ed because my students inspire me. I also do all my print making down at Seal Chart Studio, where the lovely Lindy Webster encourages me to try new things. After each etching I should put a list of credits as my fellow etchers give a all sorts of clever ideas.
I am still learning and am constantly tempted by new tools, tantalising me on my twitter feed or in the hands of my students. I am currently flicking and spraying watercolour everywhere which is very liberating but causing some distress to my cats. I am also cutting up some of my old etching plates and making them into jewellery.
There is always something new for me to learn but I am one of those people who just has to do it, make the mess and the mistakes.
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How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Although I remain adamantly anti social media as a portal for personal trivia, I do find my own business feeds and the SEOS pages which I manage extremely useful and rewarding, from seeing great photos that inspire me, new work from my fellow artists, exhibitions to opportunities that I would never have otherwise have heard of.
How do you find SEOS for you?
As an actress I remember tirelessly treading the streets in full costume, giving out leaflets only to find the weather or the football has conspired to keep away all but one audience member who read the leaflet, stuck it in the diary and then actually turn up.
I roll my eyes wearily when people say there hasn’t been enough publicity, as if they were expecting it to be written across the sky or swirling about in their coffee. And now being an ACO and a committee member, I know how much work goes into getting each of those few visitors.
We didn’t have huge numbers through our doors this year and sometimes I do feel a bit of an idiot pacing around an empty studio, with all this new work emblazoning the walls, my army of Perspex purple ladies dripping with new silver pendants.
I feel so sorry for that first visitor as I try not to get too excited by their arrival and overwhelm them with coffee and trinkets. But every year I so enjoy those arty conversations, getting to know the new owners of my work and the added bonus of a bit of tasty wonga.
It also gives me a good creative focal point, forcing me to create new work.
Where can we find you next?
I have my next stall at the Kent Wildlife Trust Festival of Wildlife on the 15th and 16th of August and then I will be doing the Lambeth Open, with a friend on first weekend of October.
I love a commission, figuring out what the client wants, the fusion of ideas. It can be more of a challenge but I have been very fortunate to have had some lovely clients.
I am also doodling away, dreaming of finally being recognised as a genius, hoping to write the best children’s book or draw the best picture ever.
How about your roles as ACO and Social Media Officer?
Do get involved with us on Social Media. I can’t guarantee you fame and fortune but I can promise you that will come across something or something that will inspire your future. Tantalise us with your new work by posting a photo of it on our Facebook page so that I can share it or get twittering. You can also find us on Pinterest.
Remember, that I open up my studio too so avoid all posting your events at 6pm on the Friday as I will already be opening up my doors, savouring my tidy studio, bursting with new work over a congratulatory glass of wine.
I am looking forward to my next SEOS adventure so, in the meantime, I wish you all a very prosperous and crafty year.
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Would YOU like to be a Featured Artist?
On alternate months we try to feature an SEOS member in our newsletter and here on the website. Interviews are written by our roving reporter John Bird or can be can be question and answer based and sent by email or post. Don’t worry about your writing skills, we will make corrections if necessary. If you would like to be featured, send an email to the chairman www.seos-art.org/contact-info