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


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

‘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 or to commission a design get in touch via the contact form.

Holly & Co Ad Break with Royal Mail Business

Super excited to be the winner of the independent ad break on the Holly & Co podcast sponsored by Royal Mail Business.
You can listen to this weeks Conversations of Inspiration with Holly Tucker podcast with Sir John Timpson by going to the link here with Holly & Co

Passion, pain and perseverance: the highest highs and the lowest lows. Hear the powerfully honest conversations and life lessons of those brave enough to make the break and do what they love. As well as gaining hard won wisdom from the nation’s favourite founders, creatives and entrepreneurs, you’ll also discover the most incredible stories behind the UK’s best loved brands — from Innocent and Boden, to The Body Coach and The Mobo Awards.
Since launching notonthehighstreet in 2006, and then Holly & Co in 2017, Holly Tucker MBE has dedicated her life to empowering small businesses and bringing colour to grey. So each episode is filled with a kaleidoscope of fascinating experiences, delivered with wit and warmth.

I loved sharing my story, and recommend listening to the podcast for some positivity and boosts of motivation.

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.

Co-Investigating for the Newbridge Project

Recently I was commissioned by the Newbridge Project to explore the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown.

It raised questions of economic depravity, depression, mental health, capacity for adaptation, and resistance to hardship. Responses were collected via conversations between friends, family and wider communities. These collated findings in a visual study of multiple conversations spanning 4 languages, 40 participants, survey monkey questionnaires with anonymous responses across Newcastle upon Tyne.

Whilst my first response was from the perspective of a documentary photographer (see past projects) I quickly came to realise the responses I wanted weren’t from simply observation on the streets, it was more emotive and through conversations with people. Varied groups of people created a diverse collective of data that I read through, and created illustrations from. I recorded these all in one moleskin sketchbook.

I wanted to explore the differences in each response, but what I found was they were more similar than anticipated. Family was the most important factor to all of the respondents, and though their lives had been impacted negatively by the corona virus one way or another – the outlook was very resilient.

What was interesting about the study was being able to see what my fellow other 8 investigators were doing. This difference in approach, creating and making has really made this approach unique by the Newbridge Project. More to follow on these soon 🙂

Here is the YouTube video showing the illustrations:

Dr.Death. Illustration by Sofia Barton (c)

The Newbridge Project:

Create at Home: Online Workshop

In these unprecedented times of the pandemic, moving most resources like teaching tools online and the popularity of workshops has increased.

Whereas my workshops would have been taught in person, with groups in a large room, it’s given me pause to change the methodology and format. For example, you can’t have one to ones with people who ask questions or a demonstration, but you can press pause and rewind a video and leave comments on some platforms.

So most recently I created a workshop for Durham’s ‘Summer in the City Festival’ , using a time lapse as a playful introduction to materials you have at home. My aim was to leave the resources as universal; materials any level of practitioner could use, and any age range could join in with. For this reason I chose ’Natural Ingredients’, ’Food Colouring’ and ’Pens’. Natural Ingredients included berries, tea, coffee, red cabbage in rice vinegar (But ideally was not limited to these resources, as some flowers, vegetables, or other foods could have a use). Food colouring was liquid based, and though I had a pack of 12, I reduced these to six more primary colours. The use of which was very similar to watercolour yet non toxic. Lastly I added more office based pens, such as biros, highlighters, explaining brushes, sponges and other things you could use. With the three free templates of Durham Designs including a cityscape, teacup, and can of soup, it became a supplement to an imaginative colouring exercise as well as a relaxing introduction of how to create your own imagery.

Using lighting and props in my bedroom as opposed to my studio, felt like a throwback to University where I would often bring camera and equipment home. When it eventually came with me on a journey from Edinburgh to Newcastle for the weekend. With this DIY version, I shot most of the video downwards facing a white table, with two lights on either side as a basic set up. I wanted the video to be as clear and clean cut as possible so used a white backdrop / c stand for the shot of myself explaining the concept.

I even created a stop motion animation as a quick introduction to the materials I would be using. The stop motion animal didn’t take long, nor was it as arduous as some people may expect. With software and apps these days it’s fairly easy.

Replacing the human element to workshops isn’t easy however, and I hope that my next few workshops are sufficiently explanatory in their role to instruct different aspects of painting or illustration. Most likely I’ll be using more text based animation, slow motions of brush strokes and (fingers crossed) more space if the studio reopens. In any case I couldn’t be more glad a degree in Photography and Film paid off, as strange as it is during this time.

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments, what do you think about online workshops, and have you participated in any during lockdown ?

To access Creative Home and other fantastic workshops from talented artists around the North East follow this link:

The Lincoln Imp Trail 2021: Wild in Art

I was absolutely delighted to have been selected as a painter for TWO Imps for Lincoln Big, in aid of St.Barnabas Hospice. Absolutely gutted I wasn’t able to add some fine details and give them a varnish however before the lockdown started with Covid-19. It’s been like a weird nightmare so far, like living in a movie with this disease and being in this isolation.

However I did make a free colouring sheet for Lincoln Big and the Hospice. In an attempt to cheer things up with what everyone’s going through right now. You can find it below 🙂

Download, Colour & Enjoy!

NB: The Lincoln Imp Trail was postponed due to the pandemic from 2020 to 2021. All updated designs of the two imps you see here will be unveiled before the future launch,