by Lesley Samms | Pure Fine Art
What’s the Story? – Artists talking about their unique journey.
In this edition we speak to two artists whose practice is 3D/sculpture based; recent Wimbledon College of Arts graduate, Sophia Mepham and leading body cast sculptor, Louise Giblin MA MRBS. Here in their own words Louise and Sophia tell us a bit about their own unique journey and give us a glimpse into their lives as working artists.
Louise Giblin MA MRBS
Born in Woking in 1963 the daughter of an engineer and a painter, Louise’s family moved to Isle of Wight when she was just 3 years old. Louise was educated on the island up to the age of 18.
“I didn’t really get to see many galleries or museums as a child as a trip to London from the Island was a big deal. We did however get to see the treasures of Tutenkhamun at the British Museum and that had a huge impact.
“After A Levels, I was planning to be a painter like my mother, however, during my foundation year at Portsmouth College we visited Whitechapel Gallery to see ‘British Sculpture in the 20th Century’ a major show. Afterwards a tutor told me that he’d worked casting death masks for an undertakers and I asked him to teach me to life cast. From that moment I was hooked.
“I went on to study BA 3D Design for 2 years and then Fine Art Sculpture BA Hons under Antony Gormley at Brighton. I finished my formal education with MA History and theory of a Modern Art at Chelsea.
“The very best thing about being an artist is the making. The worst thing is the back pain from bending over work etc, the cost and the hours! A big exhibition can take thousands of pounds to produce, up to two years to prepare for and 6/7 day weeks working until the early hours – but it’s always worth it.
“I have three studio spaces – one for wet stuff; one for smelly stuff and the third for tidier work, such as drawings. I’m pretty tidy and organised as some of the materials I work with can cause health problems. Producing Health and Safety Risk Assessments when I was a Head of Art was time-consuming but taught me a lot about care when dealing with materials. A lot of famous sculptors have developed life threatening work-related illnesses.
“One unexpected thing to know about me – I make most of my best friends at my exhibitions! I especially like meeting people who have never thought much about art and then start to get really interested in different aspects. When I had my solo, ‘Body Casting Olympians’ at the Mall Galleries in London, sports men and women – a whole cycle team – an Olympian martial arts fighter for instance – visited a gallery for the first time and got really into the work. It was really enjoyable.”
Louise’s artwork can be viewed at Saffron Gallery, High Street, Battle and Urbane Art Gallery, Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh.
Sophia Mepham BA (Hons)
Sophia was born in London in 1989.
“My parents always did a lot with me, I was the only child until the age of 6. My Mother stayed at home and we did a lot of crafts, painting and making together.
“My Mother has always been into photography and my Grandma on my Father’s side was a sculptor, so I guess I’m a mix of the both of them.
“When I was 7 years old we moved to Kent and that’s where I went to secondary school. I wanted to pursue a career in Fashion Buying, so I went to The Fashion Retail Academy but while there I decided I wanted to be able to create and make and that’s how I ended up at Wimbledon College of Arts studying Sculpture. The funny thing is my sister is now studying Fashion Buying at University.
“I really liked Wimbledon College of Arts because it was small and had a lovely community feel, also it was part of a much bigger University; University of the Arts London (UAL). It was appealing to be a part of something bigger but still be in a small college environment.
“I like things in my studio to be very organised, white and clean. I won’t be able to concentrate if it’s cluttered. I also have to have my own space.
“A lot of my current practice is to do with measuring. I have to be extremely precise, or else everything will fall apart. My palm sander is an absolutely indispensable item – it makes everything so perfect and smooth.
“Recently I’ve started to get back into Fashion, so a lot of my inspiration at the moment is coming from the fashion world. I find walking around London very inspiring too.
“My artistic journey has only just begun but I think it’s very important not to follow the crowd, you should always do what you want to do and always be truthful to yourself and others.
“My life ambition is just to be happy and enjoy life to the full.”