Ellie Spafford is a Guernsey-born artist, currently based on-island. Her focus is visual arts, and she can often be found with the GAC’s Community Arts Team covered in paint!
You’re a visual artist; how and why did you get into this field?
It sounds like a cliché, but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to draw every day. Although I have experimented with a variety of mediums, I always come back to paint. I love paint! I invariably end up using my fingers.
Can you talk about how you progressed after graduating?
I immediately committed to several group shows, and curated an exhibition for international graduates in Guernsey (at the innerstreet Market place).
However, like many graduates, I found myself missing the huge group studio where we would all bounce ideas off each other, and it was hard to produce much work in the first few months. But after a long trip to Madagascar, I began painting all hours of the day and night again. I became more confident and my work slowly changed as I was working only for me.
What aspect of the making of your work is the most challenging, the most enjoyable?
Most enjoyable has to be the first few minutes starting work on a new canvas. I often want to leave it like that! All blank space, with only one colour breaking it up.
The most challenging part is knowing when it is finished. I might work on a painting for hours, and then in the last few minutes completely go over it in another colour, blocking out huge sections.
Being Guernsey-born, in what ways has the island influenced your creative practice?
The landscapes around the island are such an enormous influence on my work. And the weather is amazing! So emotive.
Almost all of my work involves water, so I am literally inspired all the time. I love the outdoors lifestyle here too, swimming in the sea all year round and walking on the cliffs.
Can you talk about your current most recent project?
For my most recent exhibition I worked on abstract landscapes, based mainly on my travels to Madagascar and China. The paintings were a combination of drawings from on location and working from memory. I really enjoyed this series and was fortunate to be able to travel, but now I’m working on a series exclusively on Guernsey.
What does the immediate future hold for you?
I am intending to do another solo show in July.