Monday, May 18, 2009

An interview with Bea Menier

Bea Menier will be one of the artists taking part into the Swindon Open Studios 2009. Here she talks about her art, what inspires her and how she gets ready for the Open Studios week-end.

Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to our readers?

Born in Cirencester in 1953, I lived in Fairford and spent my early years growing up in the Cotswolds. The surrounding countryside has always been very inspirational to me. I then moved to Old Town, Swindon and from a very young age I became fascinated with old buildings, back alleys and secret places.

Q - How did you become interested in art?

As a child, I can remember making stuff and having a great sense of adventure. I would draw and paint my daily collection of stones, twigs, in fact anything that was ‘strange or unusual.’ I would make collages out of sweet wrappers etc. Then growing up in the 60’s, I was greatly influenced by the vibrancy of colour and the extremes of design, both in clothes and d├ęcor and I decorated my bedroom at the age of 12, painting large vibrant flowers directly on the walls.

Q - What inspires you most as an artist?

I am greatly inspired by nature and the unusual, the extremes of weather, patterns in reflections, shadows. I love being on roof tops and sketching chimney pots or lying on the ground and sketching a miniature forest of mushrooms.

Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?

I love oil paints, I love the way it can be spread and dragged, its buttery texture and the aroma. I have also had extensive training in furniture restoration and decorative paint techniques. Oil paints lend themselves to this form of art. I have recently become very enchanted with using India Ink and I’m currently using and exploring this medium.

‘The Snow Fall’ - oil on canvas (41cm x 49cm) by Bea Menier

Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?

I paint, I sculpt (in natural stone and ciment fondue), and I love working with print, making my own books and writing poetry and journaling. In 2005 I began an artist’s journal and have made a daily entry ever since. At the time of writing, I have produced 1,593 images in my journals documenting my journey through life.
My art is all about my internal response to the external world and I like to respond to external stimuli consciously using all five senses. My favourite quote is by Voltaire “All arts are brothers – each is a light to the other.”

‘Emergence’ - sculpture is Alabaster by Bea Menier

Q - How would you define your style?

I like to paint in a stylistic manner.

Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?

I like artists who have approached their work with great depth, people like Heindrich Wunterwasser,
Margaret Macdonald, Trace Goldsmith, John O’Carroll, Andy Goldsworthy to name but a few.

Q - How do you choose the subjects of your works?

They choose me.

Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?

I like to think that preparing for an exhibition is not just about showcasing my work. It is also about creating a sensory experience for people who come to visit. I like to show a few examples of past work and then focus on where I am in the now. I also like to display my journals – this gives my visitors a glimpse of my journey as an artist.

The artist's studio

Q- You took part in the Swindon Open Studios in the past, what did it bring to you?

It was a great time for connecting with people, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with amazing people, each one of whom, left an impression and I valued their comments and shared time together.

Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?

For me, art is an organic process and at the present time, I am drawn to creating art with natural substances like soot, sand, beeswax and just recently I have started to use coloured ochres, recently obtained from Clearwell Caves in The Forest of Dean.

Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?

I can honestly say that I am living my dream. I came across a quote some time ago which really resonated with me ‘Goals are dreams made manifest.’

Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?

The one thing that I would like to share is to keep alive the vibrancy and wonder of what life is – The journey is more important than the destination.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Promoting Swindon Open Studios 2009

Our goal is to bring as many people to this event as possible and to have as many local artists as possible taking part. So far, Swindon Open Studios 2009 is listed on the following sites:

Thank you to all these sites for spreading the word.