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sophie kathleen

they/them | Etsy | Site | Instagram

Hey Sophie, how’s things?

Hey Megan, I’m doing well thank you, the sun is shining on me through my studio window right now which is making me smile and I’m excited to be doing this interview - thank you for having me!

For those that don’t know tell us about yourself

Hey! I’m Soph (they/them) and I’m a queer illustrator and yoga teacher! I love running my small business which includes my Etsy shop, selling at markets, running workshops and life drawing classes and working with like minded clients. When I’m not working I love to be near water and in nature, close to my friends, doing yoga/resting or dancing somewhere!

Talk to us about your illustrative style

I’d describe my style as colourful, playful and expressive. Where a lot of my work has powerful/heavy messaging it's important for me to still have fun in the process and for this to show in the final piece - I think this can help intimidating topics feel more accessible and inviting to learn about and share. 

What do you enjoy the most about illustration?

I honestly just love drawing, it feels so good! Being able to take an idea or emotion from my body and turn it into something physical that others can relate to is the best feeling. Connection and expression are always my two biggest driving forces, as a very emotional person (and scorpio lol) I sometimes tend to intellectualise my feelings instead of processing them - drawing/illustration helps me be present and really feeeeel things. Knowing that when I then share my work, it might bring others comfort with their emotions is amazing, I think art is so powerful at making you feel less alone

I noticed you work in different mediums, do you think that gives you an edge?

I hadn’t thought of it giving me an edge before but I guess it does, yes! I work in multiple mediums because I don't think any creative should be confined to just one, and I love so many of them. My most used medium is digital illustration, but my paintings, textiles and ceramic work all influence how my illustration style and ideas develop. I also love working on a large scale such as murals - there's just something so satisfying about seeing your work so big! I really think that such a huge part of being an artist is exploration and bravery - so for me, keeping different mediums and techniques in my practice ensures I’m still trying new things and also creating just for fun!

Talk to us about your passion for feminism, LGBTQ+ empowerment and tackling taboos, why do you believe this is important?

As a queer, female bodied person, things such as sexism, homophobia and negative conditioning around my body image/menstruation are things that have affected me deeply (and still do). I’m so passionate about speaking up for my community and being the representation I needed when I was younger. Freedom of speech is a powerful thing and I’m grateful that my art is able to help me express what I’m passionate about. I love learning and sharing about periods from a queer and gender neutral stance because I truly believe that connecting to our natural cycles is an act of resistance against patriarchal norms and holds so much power. 

Let’s talk about the creative industries as a whole, what does it need to improve on?

Oooh representation for sure, and by that I mean true representation, fair pay and equal opportunities for LGBTQ+ and especially queer POC. Every marginalised creative will probably have an experience of being brought onto a project as the token artist, there to show that the company is being inclusive. You see a lot of this during pride month and other celebrations and it's hard to navigate sometimes, as it can be tricky to tell what the clients true intentions are. 

You’re vocal on your beliefs what is your advice to creatives wanting to do the same?

Practice being vulnerable and make art about what gives you rage in your belly - channel it into your work. In saying that, creating art that's meaningful doesn't mean it always needs to be political or include powerful messaging to be impactful or help people. Art about your experiences and emotions, or that shows your process is just as brave and important. I would say if you’re afraid to share something, it probably means you should, and remember you can't please everyone, if it pisses some people off you're doing something right! You are important and your voice deserves to be heard!

Your work has been displayed in many different exhibitions, talk to us about your emotions behind this.

Seeing my work in galleries/exhibitions is so wild!! I always get emotional and think about 15 year old me who didn't think their art was any good and was so afraid to be seen. I’m so proud of how far I've come as a person and an artist, and seeing other people view my work in public spaces really solidifies this for me - I’m so grateful!

Who are your standout creatives?

Two amazing artists who I’d love to see featured would be the illustrator/tattoo artist Boe (@boestudio.s) and Charile/Bunnyteef (@8unnyteef) who is an incredible all round artist, film maker, photographer and illustrator

For my final question, whats next?

For right now, I’m focusing on going slow and integrating the personal work I’ve done so far this year but I also have a big personal project I’m beginning to work on which I’m very excited about and also have lots of prides/markets booked for summer! I’m manifesting more murals and long term projects this year such as illustrating a book or card deck - it would be such a dream

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