“Dreamlike, quiet, intimate” is how Fermie describes her work in three words.
In our interview we discuss training, intentions with scale, influences, daily routines and loneliness as an artist.
Fermie’s work is indeed, intimate, frank and beautiful. Her work speaks of quiet places, understanding and a certain loneliness. The often urban environments, speaks to each of us, and are particularly remnant in this time. There is a stillness and a softness, a dreamlike tender.
“I think an artist’s life has to be lonely in many ways, or at least for me it does. It is in solitude where most of my ideas come up and are given the space to be created without any judgement or early criticism from outsiders (although that doesn't mean I don't judge my own work).”
How were you trained BobbyE?
I spent one year studying photography BA in the Netherlands before I decided I wanted to explore drawing, painting and sculpture and continued with a site specific/fine art BA at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, Belgium.
After completing my bachelor I moved to London to attend the Drawing Year post graduate at the Royal Drawing School, finishing in 2015. I absolutely loved it and have since moved my practice from observational drawing to painting from imagination and memory.
Who or what are your biggest influences, and how do you find them? How do these come out in your work?
My biggest influences are usually my immediate surroundings..Finding small beauties in daily activities, or going for long walks and taking in the surrounding nature.
But also books, stories and adventures of and with friends, houses and spaces I encounter on walks, sounds and music.
They all directly feed into my work I think. I like making up my own stories of things I come across every day.
What three words would you use to describe your work?
Dreamlike/ quiet/ intimate
What is your intention with scale?
I like the idea of a small piece creating an intimate relation with the viewer. A tiny work claiming someone’s attention by being so small they have to come close.
I started making small paintings when I was painting a series of self portraits and to me the small scale suited my personality more.
As an introvert it has always been a struggle for me to take up any space in a place or a group. I have learned how to adapt and be ok with not taking up space either.
But I hope my small scaled works are a way of showing that quiet voices can also be heard.
It is a way for me to remind myself that being the quiet one is ok!
Do you have a daily routine Bobby, when you get in the studio to get into the flow?
I always try to go for a walk in the park before going into the studio. It clears my head and it's usually when I come up with my ideas for pieces.
When I get to the studio and need to focus I put on instrumental music (Andrew Bird's Echolocation always works well) and go through the pictures I've taken on my phone to spark some memories or ideas I'd had during my walk.
Once an idea has shaped and I know what I want to do I can change the music to a podcast or more lyrical music. I have no idea when I start if I will be able to keep my focus, and quite often I can't.
It happens quite regularly that I have to stop and go for a coffee and read my book.
On other days, when my ideas are clear and I know where I want my painting to go, I can keep going. Although this is very rare!
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I think an artist’s life has to be lonely in many ways, or at least for me it does.
It is in solitude where most of my ideas come up and are given the space to be created without any judgement or early criticism from outsiders (although that doesn't mean I don't judge my own work).
Yes of course.
I am a lonely artist, I love being on my own and need it to create works. I don't think I would do well in a big open space shared studio.
On the other hand, I also have the need to meet up with my artist friends and discuss our works. And Instagram has given me such a sense of community, especially during these times. It's been amazing!
I agree! Such a community. It's wonderful, despite it's faults. Bobby, are there any up-and-coming female artists you have your eye on?
Too many to mention! But since I’ve been able to buy other artists' works thanks to the artist support pledge, I've bought works by Lindsey McLean, Mary Herbert, Holly Mills, Clare Dudeney, Emily Fairly Baker.
I am hoping to one day own pieces by Pia Bramley, Elvira Rose Oddy, Rachel Victoria Jones, Charlotte Edey (I can keep going!)