Leave the dull behind and enter the wonderful world of Soozy Lipsey!
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Soozy Lipsey to discuss her work, her process and more.
R: Hi Soozy. Thank you for doing this interview with us. Let's jump straight in. Your approach to art seems incredibly fun and not to be taken too seriously. Is this something you feel strongly about?
S: I would say my art parallels my life in many ways. I think life is a serious business and in the same breath really not so serious. Similar to feeling significant and yet totally insignificant. I find humour really does defuse the tension of these paradoxes. So in an answer to your question, I think having a laugh in life, especially laughing at ones imperfections, is crucial and I like to show that in my work. I have a sense of humour - its a way to really connect with people. Knowing how to really laugh at life is a skill I think and so wit is something I really admire in people.
R: Your work beautifully captures the unexpected to produce both whimsical and macabre emotion. How do you perceive your own work?
S: I think some of my work really plays with the tensions: life and death, light and dark and weak-strong. l think my work has different levels of interpretation but if it doesn't disturb the viewer in anyway, then I fear my work is just passing people by which isn't of much interest to me. Being disturbed keeps us awake. A 'Do not disturb ' sign is not something I would hang anywhere near my artwork.
R: Re-imagining and revitalising vintage art is something you adopt within your work frequently. What’s the feeling behind it? Is there a reason you choose to do this?
S: I think the past is where we draw our wisdom our guidance - it's incredibly important. One of my favourite Quotes is from a Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard. He says 'Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.' I think anything with a sense of history has a quality about it that new things just do not have. I am drawn to these qualities intellectually, aesthetically and emotionally. I like to revisit something with a sense of age - something that has existed for sometime and then change it. Therefore, it embodies a new lease of life.
An example of that was buying an old picture of a vase of flowers and cutting it in half and hanging just half the picture. The idea behind this was to offer the viewer just half the story, the rest was up to the viewer to imagine. I liked the idea that the discarded half remains in the past. It also played on the human drive to always be desiring, and by withholding half the picture the viewer would hopefully be in a state of momentary satisfaction as I had left them desiring the other half or even imagining it. I hadn't given them everything, which hopefully captured their attention for longer than I would have had I just hung the full picture.
R: What’s your process when creating a new piece? Do you have a “routine” or a method you stick to or does it flow much more naturally?
S: There usually is no great plan other than trying my very best to do what I perceive is my job as an artist. This being to keep myself on the outside of most conventions, especially routine because routine and habit can dull the senses. It makes us spoilt and complacent and even entitled. I think it's the artists role to look at life with a sense of enquiry. If my work embodies that even a fraction, then whatever material or style I use is irrelevant really.
R: What are you favourite mediums/materials to work with? And what are your favourite themes/subjects to capture?
S: I like print as it's accessible and affordable which is a key thing for me - art can be purchased by a wider audience. I love old objects, paintings and great thinkers, philosophers and tubes of paint. My favourite themes would have to be the human condition.
R: How do you keep your studio/workstation? Is it rather neat and tidy or could it be considered its own work of art?
S: It's a total mess when working on something. The idea of anything 'becoming' that doesn't generate mess is a mystery to me. Birth is messy business, after all. Neat and tidy is something I like to visit once in a while just to ground myself and to pretend I have everything under control.
R: You’ve previously collaborated with Dan Hillier to produce ‘The Meeting,’ beautifully capturing your unique styles together. Have you got any future collaborations in the works? Or is there an artist you would like to work with in the future?
S: I have no plans to collaborate in the near future however, I think collaboration is brilliant! If there is anyone out there who fancies a collaboration, don't hesitate to get in touch!
R: And finally, do you have a favourite artist?
S: I can't resist giving a mention to my absolute love, Rene Magritte. He is my hero. I'm not one to put anyone on a pedestal but as far as I'm concerned, his mind and execution of ideas never cease to disappoint and amaze me. He is a poetic genius!
Soozy Lipsey re-imagines the traditional with contemporary whimsy, adding a touch of the fantastical here, and a dash of the macabre there, for visually provocative aesthetic. Re-purposing existing - or ‘found’ - objects and images, Lipsey transforms nostalgia into the uncanny though combinational techniques.