Five questions to Sophie Crichton

Five questions to Sophie Crichton

Sophie Crichton (b. 1993) is an abstract painter from Toronto currently based in Barcelona. Her works are a visual manifestation of her experience, her interaction with urban environments, and an awareness of urban pop culture. 

Since when do you paint and what are your favorite motives?

I have been painting seriously for the last four years. What motivates me are those moments of awe and surprise- whether it’s a discovery in my work or another artist’s or a state of mind. Sometimes that moment of awe occurs at the point of contact- other times it happens later on when I’ve spent more time engaging with the work, and the world. That’s another motivation for me; art has always been a way to move through the world and question and engage with it. This on-going dialogue is capable of answering, reflecting, rejecting and sometimes posing more questions than it answers. You get in as much as you’re willing to put in, and it’s ever expanding. 

When you create a new work, how do you proceed? What comes first? 

When starting a new work I more often than not begin without an idea in mind. I will start with a colour and form, or a series of lines or gestures that sort of set the tone. I begin to layer colours and marks to build up the background- erasing and defacing parts, in a way so that the layers begin to come forth and recede. Each work has it’s own tone and rhythm and each mark is like a beat. I work intuitively until eventually the work has momentum and becomes something of its own. I do have a sort of library of references around my studio- works on paper, gestures and colours I’ve practiced on a scrap piece of paper and my sketchbook which I will occasionally reference for ideas. Sometimes when I’ve created a work on paper I really like I will try to recreate it on a canvas but of course it always turns out different as the paintings take on a life of their own. 

From what do you get your motivation? 

My motivation comes from those little moments of awe. If I can stay in that state of mind that’s the best place to be. It’s about developing an alternate world and experience of things. Finding the uncanny in the mundane. Even better are those moments when I lose myself in the work in a way that I am not conscious of myself and I am just working. But when none of that is happening I just show up anyway and do the work. That’s why I call it a practice. 

Your life without art would be...

I can’t imagine my life without art. 

What's the best art venue in your city right now? 

The best place for art in the city is outside and in the street. Where life happens and people are. The writing on the walls, the people, the patina of urban life, tangled wires. It’s the old architecture and the narrow streets that cast dramatic shadows in the late afternoon, the way cigarette smoke curls in a sunbeam. I think art is a way of seeing and being. 

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