I am very lucky to have spent my teenage years developing my creativity with a local youth theatre group, Kildare Youth Theatre. I had the most wonderful opportunities there, least of all becoming friends with some of the most magical people I have ever met. One in particular, Sophia Cadogan, has also been the embodiment of beautiful things since I met her and now she is bringing that to the world through her artwork.
Sophia recently started posting pictures on her Instagram of her gorgeous pieces combining watercolours, exquisite typography and of course, my favourite, glitter!! The second I saw them I knew I wanted one so I asked Sophia to commission me a piece around one of my favourite quotes "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." I was so excited about what she would make and I wasn't disappointed for when this showed up on my doorstep I almost peed myself with joy!
I also asked Sophia if she would like to be interviewed for my blog so I could find out more about how she creates such wonderful work and share that with you in the hope start it might inspire you to indulge in your own creativity.
Has art always been a passion of yours or is it just something you've come to recently?
I have always loved art. Since I was able to hold a pencil I've been trying to draw. I began using Disney VHS covers as reference images in the 90's and slowly progressed from there. Art was my favourite subject all through school and through college, drawing and painting continued in between essays and assignments! In recent years I've had less time for it (what with creating a tiny human who now takes a fair amount of my time and attention) but as this tiny human became a tiny bit more independent (for like 10 minutes at a time anyway), I've been able to get back to it. Since I am currently working random, sporadic hours, I'm at home a lot with the tiny human so I decided that I might as well turn that aul hobby into something useful! Who says your passion can't pay your bills?? (Well, here's hoping!)
You are using watercolours in your most recent work - are they as difficult to work with as everyone says they are?
Um, yes! well no. Well, ehhh.. you see. I'm mostly self-taught when it comes to, well, most of this so I'm always terrified that I'm not even using the correct techniques. I have very little patience so oils never suited me, I like acrylics for more detailed pieces but for these illustrations I'm working on at the moment, the watercolour splashes work really well and I find it’s a really effective, vibrant look that’s quite simply achieved. It is very VERY easy to overwork them though, so knowing when to stop is very important I find! Less is ALWAYS more.
Is there anyone or anything that inspires your work or does it all just come from your imagination?
Inspiration is constant. I have a little ideas thread on my phone and in random notebooks that I jot down notes in as ideas come to me throughout the day. I could be searching through images or something idiotic on the web or flicking through books, just walking down the street and something will strike me as a possible idea. If anyone were to read it thought it'd be hilarious, oftentimes its just a meaningless string of gibberish or crap that I thought made sense at the time - ''hourglass-...ravenclaw-...why skin attached?... spill some popcorn- monopoly? '' -- just an example, Don't. even. ask.
I get really inspired by other artists, I was in Madrid recently in the Reina Sofia and swooned over Guernica and the other Picasso pieces there, so I came back and it was all geometrics, angles everywhere! I also saw some incredible war inspired drawings that really affected my line drawing technique. I was the weirdo in the gallery squinting as close as possible to the pieces without the surly guards coming to drag me out the door.
I also fucking love street art, there's a few amazing accounts on Instagram that are constantly inspiring. At the moment I am having a major moment for Joe Caslin, his recent project 'Our Nation's Son's' around Ireland is unreal.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of creating a new piece?
My favourite part is when the idea is still in my head and the page is blank because then I cant possibly fuck it up and its still mine and perfect and flawless, haha, no honestly, My favourite part is probably just seeing it coming together in the final stages (when I haven't messed it up). I also love initial sketches, there's something raw and lovely about an unfinished sketch, (although some would say that's just my laziness).
My least favourite part is definitely my inevitable fuck up. I don’t think there is a single piece that I've completed and thought, yup, 100% flawless! Those little imperfections help me to learn for next time though and make every piece unique I guess (or something something about making excuses for myself!). I also, love the part where it's all finished and mounted and done, and I can finally be proud! I spent years with just scraps in sketchbooks so it's so satisfying now to see some ideas become finished pieces.
If someone wanted to start creating work like yours - what would be your number one tip?
Try. and try and try over and over again. and mess up, fail and then try again. If you want to be an artist, make some art, and then do it over and over and over and over again. I used to go on and on about starting up something like this or getting more serious about my art but as long as the ideas were all safe in my head and I hadn't tried, I therefore couldn’t fail. I could be comfortable in the fact that 'I could do it if I want'. Once I got over that fear of failure and actually embraced it (cuz you're gonna fail, a lot) I slowly, slowly began to have little successes and then I found I was doing something I could actually be proud of. (There should probably be a Beckett quote around here somewhere).
Also, invest in a ruler. I eventually had to admit to myself that I am not a super human and NO, 'true' artists don't know how to draw perfectly straight lines (why the hell was I labouring under that illusion??). Rulers aren't for nerds and squares, they're for super hip artists too. Rulers for life. #rulernation
What's your favourite piece of work that you've produced and why?
I hate them all equally.
HA, no ok, It's hard to pick a favourite. I am AWFULLY fond of this watercolour I made for my mates' apartment. Probably it's because it was the first attempt at a portrait with watercolours and my first actual commitment to using my art in a non-hobby way. (I'm sure there's a better way to phrase that). Plus I'm really chuffed that it is actually in my friends' home (they didn’t just humour me and chuck it in the bin) which I think was confirmation that I could maybe, just maybe do this whole 'art' thing.
Also this: because It's on a wall in an actual house and that’s awesome and also because I can mural and I did not come up with a more natural and creative way to slip that in to this interview! Plus look! A toilet!
Extra special bonus question!!
Could you tell us about how you create your pieces especially the lettering and what drives your choices?
Ok, so I adore typography and once tried to save for a fancy and stupidly expensive coffee table book that was purely about typography. I think my money ended up going on something boring instead like rent or feeding my daughter BUT there's always ye olde google! I love lettering, calligraphy, any sort of handwriting porn and so I've always tried to emulate that. I guess mostly I try out a few different fonts by hand until I find one that I feel would suit the tone of the piece. Ya feel me?
Then I guess it's the composition is very important. You can go to class and learn about it OR you can wing it and mess up until you structure things in a way that doesn’t hurt your eyes and makes your picture-mind a happy mind. Whichever way works for you!! but, honestly, don't listen to me I'm just a dirty artist that’s trying her hardest to avoid getting a 'real' job.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Sophia Cadogan. You can follow her work via her Instagram account and even better, you can buy her work at her Etsy shop.
I can't wait to see what else is to come from this beautiful artist!