Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview | Louise O'Hara
Mixed-media & Textile Artist
This week we take a look inside the studio and chat with Cheshire based mixed-media artist Louise O'Hara...
How did you come to be an artist?
That’s the golden question, how did I become an artist?... I was always interested in being creative and never interested in more academic subjects, I went to art college, uni, fell into the trap of working in many jobs that I didn’t enjoy to earn a good living. Then I finally saw sense and went back to uni to do my Masters Degree in Fashion and Textiles and the rest is history.
Describe your work in three words
Tactile, layered, serendipitous
What draws you to creating collage/mixed-media based work?
I have always been drawn to the work of collage artists from a young age, Kurt Schwitters, Mimmo Rotella, Joseph Cornell, to name a few. And I love the process of layering, tearing and reworking, leaving a trace of the previous but contributing to the new.
Merzbild-Rossfett, 1919 Kurt Schwitters Marilyn, 1991 Mimmo Rotella
Does the area in which you live, influence your work? And / or other areas
The area where I live does not really influence my work, my influences come from where I have travelled over the years, the lakes, the Yorkshire dales, and Scotland with its dramatic coastlines and rugged landscapes. With that said I wouldn’t leave Cheshire anytime soon.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
During my Masters Degree in Fashion and Textiles I discovered ‘wabi Sabi’ and its ethos of ‘beauty in imperfection’; I am influenced by tactile aged surfaces like peeling paint on walls and fabrics which are threadbare but laden with memories and stories to tell. These influences have a strong presence in the tactile surfaces which I create in my mixed media pieces.
Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?
I cannot work in silence, I usually have a playlist (joy Division, Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, 10,000 Maniacs, Kate Bush, I like an eclectic mix of music) or listen to the radio, I think this really helps break the isolation of working alone as an artist in the studio, I love music with a faster beat, this helps me get into a good work rhythm in my painting and on the sewing machine!
If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?
There are many artists I would invite for tea, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, Derek Jarmon and Kurt Schwitters if we had space for four! It would be lovely to hear them talk about their creative process and their ups and downs experienced on their artistic journey.
What drew you to exhibit at the Watergate Street Gallery – do you have a criteria for choosing the galleries where you would like to show your work?
I was drawn to exhibit with The Watergate Street Gallery purely through their friendliness and interactivity with myself as a customer whilst looking around the gallery. I believe galleries should be a place for everyone to feel welcome and not intimidated. Other criteria for selecting galleries to exhibit my work would be the other artists which they represent, I am always drawn to galleries who represent the artists work which I like.
What are you most excited about artistically in 2020?
Well 2020 what a year so far! I started the year with lists of what I wanted to achieve and probably unobtainable goals I wanted to aim for, I have torn that up now and reflected on what is truly important to me. One word, TIME…. time with the family, time spent creating and most importantly enjoying what I do - I hope this happiness is reflected in the work I produce. My main happiness comes from customers who have bought work and contact me to say how happy they are and how much better and detailed the work is in the flesh….. This is what excites me artistically these days.
Please click through to view Louise's full collection of both limited editions and original artworks at the gallery here.