A Studio of One’s Own

The incredible Picasso, being amazing in his envy inducing studio, 1956.

Anyone who actually makes things with stuff, knows how important it is to have a place to do the said making. I have painted and sculpted in places as varied as my cluttered little bedroom, to wonderfully large, well lit spaces, with all the equipment I could possibly need. Many a time I have been forced to put a hot water bottle up my jumper. There have been poisonous snakes, tarantulas, asbestos, and perhaps ghosts. On one occasion, I had several paintings to do for the affordable art fair, and no studio. I spilled turpentine in my bedroom. In the morning I awoke with what I assume was turpentine poisoning. I’m certain that any maker reading this will relate. I believe very few of us feel we have the studio we want/need. Other people desire a fancy, grown up car, a lavish wedding, holidays in Barbados. I want a big studio, and all the time in the world to make my stuff. I would be interested to know how many artists feel satisfied with their studio? How many sit in peculiar positions, balancing their canvas on the radiator? Anyone who makes stuff knows, you have to do what you can, with what you’ve got, in the space available. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. If you are struggling, you’re not alone. I’m fairly happy with my studio right now. It is warm, I have enough of what I need. It is, however, much smaller than I’d like, and has very little natural light. But…

If you need to go somewhere enough, you will go in an ill fitting shoe.

The best studio I ever had. Although, there may have been ghosts.
Cyprus College of Art, Larnaka, Cyprus.

Here’s some studio porn for you.

Jean Arp’s Studio, 1953. Wow.
Alexander Calder’s Studio, 1955. Look at those windows!
Willem de Kooning in his studio, East Hampton, 1964. (I can only dream of standing back from my work like this).

Interview For The Square Club, Bristol

Artist Interview – Sarah Hoskins

me studio copy

As part of our current Square gallery exhibition titled ‘Finding Form’ that is showcasing the work of Sarah Hoskins and Stephen Park we asked Sarah a few questions about her practice and arts career so far. You can read her answers below: 

1) You graduated from Wimbledon School of Art and then completed a Post-Graduate at the Cyprus College of Art – what are the main ways that your arts education influenced your practice?

I spent 9 months in Cyprus doing my Post-Graduate Diploma. The late Stass Paraskos was the Principle; he belonged to an earlier era. He was unselfconscious and had retained his naive enthusiasm. Technically not a tutor, but there everyday and working alongside us he rekindled an attitude in me towards ‘making’ as a primary thing which I had lost at Wimbledon. I had gained a lot from being there but I had also acquired an unhelpful internal voice and this was shut down in Cyprus. That was a turning point.

2) Since graduating you have exhibited in the UK and internationally – please can you tell us about any shows you’ve been a part of that really stand out for you and why?

In 2010 I returned to the Cyprus College of Art as a resident artist. I stayed on to become the head of their Foundation course, so I was there for three years in total. My current working methods and obsessions were born during this time. My first public exhibition of this work was in the college gallery not long before I returned to England, and was very well received. There was something very complete and satisfying about this whole episode from inception to exhibiting.

3) Have you always worked in colour?

Yes, I find it hard not to use colour. Colours transform each other and surprise me. I always enjoy this and it is inexhaustible.

4) What is it about shape and form that interests you?

I think ‘interest’ is the wrong word. It’s more of a compulsion. An involvement that is a bit like solving puzzles, but it is driven by a desire to make something that is new and whole that wasn’t there before. I think of my pictures as things that grow, like a tree or an aubergine.


5) Who/ what are your main influences when making new work?

In the past I worked through the influences of different artists. Many were obvious like Picasso and Matisse, others less so. The most recent was Jessica Stockholder, but these days I am more influenced by my garden, which is actually a cluster of potted plants outside my house.

6) Why do you choose gouache as a medium? 

Gouache suits my work because it is clean, flat, matt and you can overlay it without losing opacity.

7) In the current Square exhibition ‘Finding Form’ your work is presented alongside Stephen Park’s – how do you feel this pairing invites new readings of your work? Is this the first time you have exhibited in the same show?

We have an understanding of what the other is doing and I think our work is complementary. Exhibiting together feels like a natural thing to do.


8) Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/ how do you envisage your practice developing in the future?

My pictures are very time consuming to make, so I don’t expect to exhibit until early next year, except for opening my studio in September. I am beginning to explore the possibility of working on a larger scale and perhaps working in oil paint.

**All works in the exhibition are for sale and can be viewed from 10am – 6pm daily. With sales enquiries please email: nicol.phillips@thesqaureclub.com.**

Love Stass

Here is a short film about the Principle of the Cyprus College of Art, Stass Paraskos.  His son Michael has put together some interviews and home videos of Stass.  It is a revealing collection of memories, at times very personal and touching.  Stass tells his own story; how he came from humble beginnings as a shepherd in Cyprus and moved to England with only £5 in his pocket.  Becoming an art student and then an art lecturer, he went on to mix with many influential people including  Terry Frost and Herbert Read. He also tells you a little about when he was taken to court for obscenity.  I could go on, but he tells it much better than I can.  Watch this film, and learn more about an amazing man that inspired many people, myself included.

The End Result

Yesterday, we tied our hands together and made a large painting on the wall.

Hands tied together!  (I’m on the far left)

At work

Having to adapt to the situation.

The end result; made with acrylic paint; poster paint; felt tip pen; oil pastels; chalk pastels; sticky paper tape, and charcoal.