Hi Magpies! This week I interviewed Alex Sickling, an up-and-coming artist who has just graduated from Leeds College of Art. I spotted Alex’s ceramic work at her degree show and got really excited about the way she mixes a contemporary drawing style and sense of humour with traditional subjects and processes. Her papercut pieces are ace too! Read on to discover more about this talented graduate…
Hi Alex! Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m an image maker and ceramicist. I use objects as a canvas for my images and I create papercuts as another element of my practice.
Your ceramic pieces feature your contemporary, funny drawing style yet retain a traditional sort-of-a look and thus they make me think of Grayson Perry’s pots – Discuss!
I’m a big fan of Grayson Perry! I guess with the current work I’ve been producing I have taken a lot of inspiration from the V&A and statues and ornaments I’ve seen in Leeds and York Art Gallery. A lot of the work I saw there was very traditional and quite serious which I found quite hard to look at and enjoy; I find adding some humour can help others look at these objects in a different light.
Your drawings have a really distinctive look. Have you always enjoyed drawing? How long has it taken for your style to evolve and become consistent?
I’ve always drawn. It’s funny to look back at old sketchbooks leading from school through to university and seeing how much my style has changed, it has only been the last year or so that I’ve found a way of working that I’m confident with.
Do you do much research? What form does it take?
My ideas usually come from experiences I have had and places I’ve visited. My research tends to be quite limited when I’m excited about a project because I’d rather just get straight into it than spend a lot of time researching. I’ve recently found drawing from life while sitting in galleries and museums very useful.
Do you keep a regular sketchbook? What’s inside it?
I keep a sketchbook which is filled with to do lists, ideas for projects, rough sketches, final images, ink smears, shopping lists, names and websites of inspiring people.
Do you find you become attached to the stuff you make?
Yes I do feel quite attached to the objects. I think it’s because of the time involved, the changes that occur and the steps I take to make the changes. And because every object I make is unique.
Do you have a favourite pen or other favourite tool?
I have an old ink pen my mum bought me 5 years ago and another ink pen from Berlin which I recently thought I had lost. It sent me into a panic and I discovered then how attached I am to it!
What are your hobbies and interests outside of your creative practice?
I enjoy a good petting zoo! It’s good to get out, see some animals and feed a few goats. I like visiting independent coffee shops – I’d like to one day run my own but for now until I repay my student loan, I’ll continue to spend a lot of time searching for the best brownies and coffee.
Finally, what projects do you have coming up? And where can we see/ buy your stuff?
The next project I hope to start soon on will be a range of traditional blue and white pottery based on Wuthering Heights. I really enjoy visiting Haworth, the Yorkshire village which is said to have inspired the novel. I am also going to continue my series of mini sculptures leading on from my ‘Mini Statues of Venus.’
My website is the best place to go at the moment to see my work and contact me if there’s a piece your interested in, just until I get my Etsy shop up and running!
Thanks Alex! It’s been a pleasure.
Alex has a blog too, you can find it here.