Be Canny Wild & Free

Delighted to have been asked to be part of Love of the Norths Exhibition in Spanish City.

I’d been noticing spring emerging and various insects emerging. After a little bit of research (and a wander down the local nature reserve ) I’d found out about various butterfly species that frequent the North East Coast. Can you spot and name them ?

Originally inspired by a design of a trio of butterflies on a vintage matchbox, these butterflies were displayed on fresh spring green leaves with a bright pink background. I’ve made this a little different to what I’ve illustrated in the past with a smaller font and a singular border. This one off A2 canvas will be available to buy during exhibition starting tomorrow 4th April 2022

Details:

https://www.fortheloveofthenorth.co.uk/

Art Matters Now – Home Away From Home

I was commissioned by Art Matters Now to create artwork around the theme of migration. I explored the many ways of transport immigrants can take, the landmarks of Sunderland and the hopes and dreams people have. Adding the flower of the area in blooming across hands reaching out for one another.

Reflected on my own history as a child constantly translating, dealing with racism and finding my own way to communicate through art.

You can read the description of the artwork below from https://artmattersnow.org.uk/home-away-from-home/

‘The idea for the ‘Home Away from Home’ publication project emerged from my experiences navigating a new identity as an immigrant in the UK. They were formed against a backdrop of a global pandemic: worsening xenophobia, little real-life contact and the further marginalisation of minoritised people. In these testing and precarious times, I am eager to create a collaborative platform for artists and writers from a minority ethnic or diasporic background—like myself—to connect with each other and communicate through creative expression. I hope that this can be a place where we can define the terms in which we wish to be seen and heard.

I was fortunate to be awarded Sunderland Culture’s 2021 Creative Development Fellowship, which enabled me to commission work from artists and writers as part of this publication. The project has evolved over time and now manifests in two forms: a physical publication and a digital VR exhibition that both presents and extends the ideas through multimedia works.

The first edition of ‘Home Away from Home’ looks into the fluid notion of ‘home’ and narratives surrounding it—from frustrations to contentment, shared vulnerabilities to collective hopes. The publication brings together artworks and texts by five contributors who have made Britain their home. These individuals are Claudia Obag, Dovile Lapinskaite, Marga RH, Sofia Barton and myself.
Readers are invited to reflect on how the ideas raised might relate to their own experiences of belonging and their sense of home. Is ‘home’ defined by a location? Or is it defined by people? Is having a home a right? Or is it a privilege?

— Christie Chan’

Unite – Sofia Barton

New Matchbook Series

I’ve always wanted to draw a matchbook in contrast to the matchboxes I do. This design was the first to pop out of my head as it were. The shy bairns get nowt print was quite popular lately so I’ve used the saying again, this time adding a LIT match and of course the Geordie icon – the magpie sitting right next to it.

To buy this print see my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SofiaBartonArt or to commission a design get in touch via the contact form.

Durham University Art School Prize 2020/2021 Heroism

I recently did a talk for Durham University’s Summer in the City Festival Art Prize Art School event talking about the minority suffragettes in British History who helped pave the way to women being able to vote. It was a great few weeks seeing all the different talks and discussing what heroism means to so many people. Super excited about being a judge for the Durham University’s Art School Prize for 2020/2021 too!

The talks (including the one for Minority Suffragettes), workshops & activities can be found here: https://sitcfestival.org/art-prize-art-school/



Making my first Matchbox Book

A video showing how a matchbox book was created. Artwork celebrates South Asian suffragettes and hidden figures in history ( part of the Narivad series) and a sneak peak into the makings of a matchbox book for the North East English Coast.

Materials used: Watercolour paper, ink, glue, black paint, white card, Stanley knife, ruler and scissors.

Boro Through History – Street Art Project- CREATIVE FACTORY

I created some artwork for specifically Middlesbrough- to show the place through time, social and economical changes. This was through extensive research, an inspirational meeting with Gordon Dalton and Thomas Rhind as well as a day of just sketching what I could at the Dorman Museum. I went back through my photos I took at the Dorman, the rich history pouring out before me as I struggled to focus in finding just a few key themes to focus on.

I found myself in the Old Town Hall cafe, sipping my coffee and scribbling down some notes. What really stood out was a nostalgic toy shop that locals had good memories of, really eloquent Victorian baths, an impressive Art Deco style Cinema, the new Orange Pip market & the park, and of course the Football stadium full of many stories.

Obviously the project is a little delayed right now due to the safety of people involved planning this fantastic initiative of artists who will have works across Middlesbrough. All varying in their disciplines and mediums. I thought I would just share a little bit about the artwork I did, my excitement at the eventual instalment of it on street walls, and the joy I hope it will bring.

Nasty Women North East

I had the pleasure of being part of Nasty Women’s North East Residency with Lady Kitt at the start of September and it was such a great experience that will remain with me for a long time.
Not only did I meet likeminded creative people but was met with a collective experience with the common goals of feminism in the modern day world.

In London, for example, 78 per cent of the galleries represent more men than women, while only 5 per cent represent an equal number of male and female artists.
And beyond the statistics, women artists and curators face unique challenges, from the subjects they bring to light to the work they choose to present. As Tate Modern director Frances Morris has said, women have been discriminated against for centuries, and major institutions have typically failed to support the careers of women artists working on the margins.

You can imagine then, the small percentage of ethnic minority women who get representation. In BBC 4’s ‘Whoever heard of a Black Artist’ these points are highlighted about Britain’s hidden Art History.  [https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bcy4kd]

The residency itself consisted of support from Lady Kitt and Michaela who curated the experience at Praxis Gallery in Commercial Union House. The main objective was developing our original ideas for the submission of the Nasty Women Art Prize however the days were split with talks and one to one supportive sessions.

As part of this we listened to a talk with the directors of Vane Gallery in Newcastle, Paul Stone and Christopher Yeats. Who both provided some much needed insight on exhibiting in a globally connected gallery. Vane represents a group of critically engaged artists from the North East of England, across the UK, Europe and the USA through projects at the gallery and elsewhere. The gallery itself has a variety of workshops, events and performances on throughout the year.

Leanne Pearce also came in to talk about her breastfeeding paintings highlighting how mothers are sometimes unable to feed their babies and the bonding experience of parent and child. She also mentioned the origins of The Thought Gallery in Birtley and by the inevitable hard work involved to create such a place.

The residency itself inspired me to paint more fine art and delve further into the world of lost culture, history and potential of female artists.