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Tuesday Interview - Sarah Spendlove

Cute furry, felty, illustrative, animation goodness! Just a few of the many adjectives you could use to describe the work of this week's Tuesday Interview with Sarah Spendlove. A full-time illustrator/mixed media artist, based in Manchester City Centre, Sarah recently graduated from Bristol’s University of the West of England with a 1st Class BA(Hons) Degree in Animation, focusing on character design and fabrication. Now going boldly into the world of art fairs and craft events, as well as supplying independent retailers and galleries! Don't miss out!

1) Hello Sarah. What a great 2013 you've had. What was your biggest achievement?
Besides my graduation, it’s got to be running my own business, especially when I’m putting my work on display, and seeing the public’s reaction. It was a bit scary at first, but when it makes someone smile or laugh, you know they’ve made a connection with your work on a personal level, which is what I always aim for.

2) Tell us about yourself, what makes you tick?
Other than my love of cake, what also gets me out of bed and into the studio is my drive to get ideas down on paper, in their most finished and perfect form on my first try. The quicker I do it, the better they look. If I spend too long on something or re-draft it, the original concept goes out of the window. It’s not a conventional way of working, but keeps me busy and churns out lots of new pieces in the process.

3) What are you working on at the moment?
There isn’t ever one project, more like half a dozen on the go, and another dozen in the pipeline! I’m always making new paintings of my characters Ellie and Jamie, who catch frogs, get muddy and have acorn fights in the woods. When I’m not painting them, I’m working on a commission, booking next month’s art/craft fairs, or prototyping new 3D designs in clay and wire.

4) Awesome! Where do you get your inspiration from?
Facebook, Etsy, Google, or whatever craft site/blog I can get my hands on! There are so many artists networking online, happy to share new ideas and tips. I follow groups like the Manchester Craft Mafia for news on the latest art events, and dozens of individuals who prolifically share pages/ websites and photos of brilliant artists with truly original work.

5) What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I don’t know any other job where you can wake up in the morning and create something that has never been seen by another person before, but now exists right there on paper. Some of my stranger creations include Derek, the five legged, tofu loving alien, and the ever present Frog of Anxiety!

6) Oookay! ;) Any other illustrators or artists you've discovered recently?
I’m always following a busy artist called James Hance, who does flawless combinations of popular and cult classics, then there’s Angela Smyth and Chris Ryniak, whose works are both completely different but always make me smile. My newest discovery is an amazing Lincolnshire based illustrator called Little Black Heart, who does these tiny aceo paintings, all finished with incredible detail. Using her creative talent, and a bit of paint and ink, she transforms ordinary rocks into zombie rocks, which look amazing!

7) What's been your proudest artists moment so far?
Strangely, it’s making a customer cry, with happiness of course! I like to think my work makes people happy, and when I present them with a commissioned, personal piece of art, I hope it connects with them on the most positive emotional level. Whether it’s a pet or a family member, I always hope it gets a good response, and tears are in my top three!

8) Care to share any advice for artists looking to sell their work?
I trade at markets, fairs and events across Lancashire and the North West, and have to say that once you start selling to the public, you have to keep up the momentum and let people know where you’re trading. The same goes for supplying retailers and galleries. They have their own advertising, but you’ve got to remember to big yourself up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and anywhere else you have a base for networking!

9) Thanks. And finally, what would be your dream job?
Beyond drawing for a living, which I'm lucky to be doing, it would have to be running my own cake shop or teaching snowboarding where there is no snow!

Sarah's work can be found at www.sarahspendlove.co.uk

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