LEANNE SURFLEET

butterflymidpro_670CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

LS: I’d describe my artwork as deeply personal, nostalgic, delicate and aesthetically quite dream-like.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

LS: I draw inspiration from such basic things like light, colors, the weather, how I feel on a particular day or by people around me. I’ve gone through quite a dry spell for inspiration the last few months, but even just the other day a stripped bare wall in my house inspired me to take photographs. It comes and goes as it pleases.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

LS: Ideas come out of nowhere for me, they can literally just spring into my mind and I’ll be like whoa, okay! I usually just run with it, either by literally grabbing my camera and going for it or by writing notes down on the theme or feel I want to work with, then I’d think about what cameras and film would be best for the aesthetic of the project. I try not to push an idea too much and let it flow naturally and take photos when it feels right rather than force something which wouldn’t feel right or true to my style.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

LS: I love when people feel familiar with my photographs, like when they get a feeling or emotion that triggers inside after seeing them. That’s a great feeling to be able to spark emotions in people.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

img_0016_670LS: At the minute I don’t really consider that I have an ‘artists’ lifestyle, I’m currently working full time in a Visual Merchandising role so that takes up a lot of my time. I also put time into working on my website, artist statement and reaching out to people about my photographs. But other than that I mostly spend my time visiting my boyfriend or we go on little trips and adventures together to cities to explore, we have a thing where we look around for vintage & record shops, botanic gardens to take photos in and then good places to eat & drink nice beers.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

LS: Personally I work better acting on impulse when it comes to artistic tasks such as photo projects. In my life generally I do like to have a direction to head towards and plan things out but I can’t do that with photography, it has to come naturally for me otherwise if I plan to take photos at a specific time or day I’ll just be forcing it and the outcome wouldn’t be as good or genuine.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

LS: You have to keep going, you have to let people know you’re there and that you’re still creating if you want people to keep following and supporting you and your work. And of course an obvious one, always stay true to your own style.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

LS: I don’t personally regard it to be of highest importance, although I do think as a human being it is somewhat important to have your own personal style and taste to be yourself and to be unique or individual. I don’t care too much about others personal style or taste and it would be nice if everyone thought the same, everyone should be able to look however they want and not get bullied or laughed at for it.

img_0024_5CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

LS: Sometimes the hardest thing about being an artist is having to explain it to people who are not really into art or photography, they’re curious but they just wouldn’t get it if you try to explain what you do to them. Also, making a living out of art if it’s really more personal than commercial.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

LS: I love having a creative outlet to express myself with, I don’t know how I’d cope without it. I feel like I’d probably explode or have a mental breakdown if I wasn’t able to create and produce photographs.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

LS: Francesca Woodman, Nan Goldin, William Eggleston, Tracey Emin, David Bowie and Grimes, among many others.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

LS: I think the internet in general is extremely useful for artists today simply for publishing artwork and the vast amount of people across the world that you can reach within seconds. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be an artist before internet times, I think it was probably a lot more rewarding to publish artworks and have exhibitions then because it would’ve been a lot harder to have exposure.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

LS: Yes, I do agree with that, I mean, I don’t know how other people see the world, but I have a feeling that I’m able to see a lot more in detail and appreciate little things more than some people who may not follow creative paths. It’s one of the things I enjoy the most about having a creative and curious mind, just taking everything in and noticing the world around me.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

LS: I do enjoy it very much. A couple of cities I’ve visited most and would call my favorites are Amsterdam, Nottingham, and Cambridge in the UK.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

feb02_670LS: I don’t have a favorite particular author but a couple of my favorite books include The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

LS: I do have future goals and they are mainly to pick up the pace with taking photographs again like I used to, and I have some exciting plans coming in the next couple of months for my work!

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

LS: It means that I can somehow express myself and allow others to see a part of me that I could never verbalize. It also helps me cope with anxiety as a kind of calming mechanism.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

LS: Not really, I just hope that people view my photographs and want to know more.

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