Guest ArtistFrame 61

Sofia Stevi

Guest ArtistFrame 61
Sofia Stevi

"One can tell if a painting is happy or sad."

Interviewed by artist Keanu Arcadio, you can visit Keanu's website here: artist's website

I think it would be good to begin this interview by asking how did you come across using cotton as a material and what began as the routine of using cotton as a material? 

I always was interested in fabric and had a collection of different kinds of fabrics from a young age. Painting in cotton came through appreciating a nice cotton shirt but not liking it enough to wear it. So instead, I painted on it with black ink. Then I decided to do it more formally and started researching all kinds of different qualities of cotton fabrics to use.

Where did the themes of materializing psychedelic and sexual symbols derive from? Were there any particular books, movies, theory that cemented your interests? 

My themes just come from my mind, myself and my moods and feelings (and probably all the visual information that has been stored in my brain since birth). One can tell if a painting is happy or sad. I like reading the news, I like comic books, I don't watch tv. I think pop culture is terrible nowadays, I don't feel I can relate. I would also like to slowly quit the internet. Right now I am reading a poetry collection by CAConrad called While Standing in Line for Death and it is affecting and wonderful.

  (Installation shot) Baltic

(Installation shot) Baltic

Did you have any dreams that you documented as potential material and would say that your dreams alter depending on your daily diet? Or would this be a superstitious question? 

I know in England they say that cheese makes you have wild dreams or something similar. We don't have this in Greece and I like cheese (even for dinner!) and it has never affected me. I don't write down my dreams but I remember a lot of them since my childhood. I still visit the same places in my dreams as when I was a child. I don't edit my life or my dreams to use in my work, I think it just comes up anyway. Two nights ago I had a dream that made me very sad, it was about my mother not liking me and/or my dog anymore. Perhaps it is going to come up in a work, perhaps the sadness is going to come up. I like to invent new stories for my works and I think these new stories can also be dreams.

In terms of naming your work, is this something you do as soon as you finish a piece? 

Most of the times yes, and sometimes I am so slow to decide. But I really love it when I have the name earlier on!

The colours you use in your painting have a Sigmar Polke, Louise Bourgeois feel, could you tell us how you came to use this colour palette? 

I think my colour palette came naturally through work. The colours I use are colours I am comfortable with and are chosen because they can convey certain ideas and feelings that I want to work on. Also sometimes I just feel like using them. These days I am working with black and white though, a bit more. 

  (Installation shot) Baltic

(Installation shot) Baltic

"lizzie & laura" 2017

 "Set for Play" 2017

  Sofia Stevi, Newcastle Journal

Sofia Stevi, Newcastle Journal

Do you have any rituals or exercises before beginning a painting? 

The space must be clean and uncluttered, I have to be clean and warm and comfortable. Need my smokes and my coffee around. 

Tell us a bit about your studio?

My studio is two rooms on the third floor in a 60s/70s building that used to house leather shoe makers' works.

Baltic

All images are courtesy of the artist and Baltic
Interview publish date: 15/02/2018