Monday, 18 March 2013

An Artists Interview with Nansy Ferrett - Campbell

The Sea and Other Stories.
Aprils exhibition is by two extremely talented artists Nansy Ferrett-Campbell and Jenny Aitken:
We interviewed them both and first up is Nansy Ferrett Campbell

Who are you and what do you do?
Nansy Ferrett - Campbell - I'm a wordsmith. I write words and paint with them, sing them, get other people to sing them, I lull my babies to sleep with them and I SHOUT THEM WHEN I'M ANGRY! I talk to my cats, I talk to my garden, and I talk to the vans and the trucks and the trailers that I've owned. I say them in my sleep. I never shut up. I'm a bit dyslexic but there's magic in them words and I can crack their code and find it.
Why do you do what you do?
 Because if I didn't do what I do I'd go MAD in a BAD way rather than remain so in happy slightly manic way.
How do you work?
Quietly on the outside but the noise is riotous within.
What’s your background?
Derbyshire born, daughter of the most beautiful people who ever lived. Raised amongst cats and coal and worn out shoes and more love than you can fit in a fifty foot phonebox.
What art do you most identify with?
Kids drawings, age between 3-6.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Writing words, painting words, singing words, getting other people to...ah, you get the idea!
 What themes do you pursue?
Cats and caravans, trucks and trailers. It’s a big world and we're small on the surface.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
When my little girl had meningitis at 4, I thought I was going to lose her forever. But I didn’t. As the doctors discussed the life support machine, I took her head in my hands and imagined I was a channel and the horror would come out of her head and out of me. She came round. The whole experience from her becoming ill to well was a big shaky finger telling me we are little - big things happen that we can't stop or control, but we can do little things to try and help, and help moves outwards in ripples. I painted the story but it didn’t feel like I painted it.
 What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
 Hop picking, gardening, arts workshops, cleaning, singing at weddings, working at festivals.
 Why art?
 What else is there?
 What memorable responses have you had to your work?
 The feeling of nostalgia seems to be the most significant response. People say it time and again, it takes them back to a time in childhood or it strikes some chord deep within them that moves them. Not every painting for everyone but the odd person will just be struck by one particular painting, as if it was painted just for them, and who's to say it wasn't?
What inspires you?
Everything. The very ordinary everything’s of everyday life. Every little moment is a story, a clip in time that really happened to someone, who, in a hundred odd years’ time, will be dead and although we preserve the great achievements of a person, who saves the little moments?

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Solitude is not a lonely place. I could spend days alone, given the chance. But I am blessed by two girls who came into my life and were willing to sing the words I keep writing! Together we are’ Red Ruff’. Paint alone, sing together. I also have 3 kids and cats for company. And if they aren’t around, I just talk to me socks.
 What do you dislike about the art world?
There is a level of clickyness. There is some rubbish about things having to mean stuff and great depth and concepts. Big words to make people think you're clever but they just think you're a precocious ****. (Fill in the stars - there’s only 4 so it won't make a clever word!) It’s all crap. Do it cos you like it.
What do you dislike about your work?
I see other painters and I can see they have a painterly skill. People look at their work and think "WOW!" I don't think that will ever be the case with mine. I think it touches on something sweet, special, moving perhaps, but I'm not a real artist. I'm just illustrating moments.
 What do you like about your work?
The process of doing it.
What research to you do?
I look at other artist’s works, old school in books and gallery’s and new people out there in Facebook land. I have managed to personalise Facebook into a kind of arts forum. When I turn it on I see lovely images, not comments on who's eating what. (Not that I'm oppose to documenting the mundane!)
What is your dream project?
To write and illustrate a book with Neil Gaiman, obviously! Isn’t that what everyone wants to do?

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
 Errr... well, I'd love to be compared to Kurt Jackson, or on a local scale, Jenny Aitken and Gareth Buxton, both of whom blow me away, but we're not comparable so it's hard to say!
(Aldernay Light house by Jenny Aitken)

Favourite or most inspirational place?
Moors, forests, hills, anywhere vast but that has a little hut, boat, caravan, etc., in eyesight. Somewhere blasted with weather where the trees have grown into the shape that the wind blew them into.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?  
When you're parents are out, don't cook chips, put money in your mouth or give dad's beer to tramps.

Professionally, what’s your goal?
To support me and my children from my work without having to be crippled by a broken drive shaft or a bald tyre.
Thankyou Nansy!  Read more about Nansy here.