12 April 2011

Interview with Sophie Bottomley

artisan interviews Sophie Bottomley, whose architectural sculptures are on display in Critical Craftings: Unleashed 2011 until Saturday 14 May.

Sophie Bottomley's works in Critical Craftings: Unleashed 2011. Photo: A. Higgins
 Tell us about your background – how did you come to be a creative practitioner?
From early on I have always loved to make things, however I never thought I would be able to make a career out of it. When I finished high school I decided to study architecture which I fell in love with and slowly found my own way of working which has come to be the most valuable experience of my creative practice to date. However, architecture in university and in practice differ greatly and the types of conceptual projects we were able to develop at uni were not the kinds of projects you are able to do in practice, unless of course you are Frank Gehry or someone of his league. After 4 years I stopped studying and took a year off, where flicking through the pages of Pol Oxygen Magazine I encountered some practitioners that seemed to get away with conceptual ideas of space in the name of art. At this point I decided I had to stop fighting it and see if I could make this art thing work. I have just completed a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in Sculpture at QCA and am just in the beginning of my Honours year.

Sophie Bottomley, Feeling outside the box one's in (detail) 2010, pine on pine stand. Photo: A. Higgins.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration generally strikes when you least expect it but currently I find books on philosophy, qualities of architecture, and how the body perceives space to be some of the most inspiring. A discovery can strike from anything that’s why it’s important to always immerse yourself in as much as you can. I am always looking at design and art magazines and blogs, as well as going out and seeing art. Sometimes just being outside of your everyday environment can provide many unexpected encounters.

What other creative people do you admire?
I think anyone who is making a life for themselves following a creative pursuit is someone to admire. But more specifically I love the work of Mikala Dwyer, Roni Horn, Tara Donovan, Ann Hamilton, Matthew Barney, Hany Armanious and Robin Rhodes.

Sophie Bottomley, To escape from silence (detail) 2010, paper on pine stand.
What’s next for your practice?
I am currently studying Honours at QCA where I aim to push my ideas of space even further in the sculptural field. It has long been my goal to merge my love of architecture and sculpture in the creation of large scale spaces that evoke an emotional or sensory reaction in the occupant. Perhaps I’ll even try to change the face of public art and the ‘plop art’ phenomenon that so often occurs.

I couldn’t live without…?
The people I surround myself with daily and my dog - definitely the artist's best friend being a constant companion in the studio.

Favourite café/restaurant?
Currently Flute at Coorparoo.

Favourite weekend pastime?
Trips to the beach, Bangalow or Maleny.

Sophie Bottomley, Within two limits (detail) 2010, air-dry modeling clay on pine stand.

Sophie Bottomley, Feeling outside the box one's in 2010, pine on pine stand. Photo: A. Higgins.

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