INTERVIEW WITH A PRACTISING ARTIST

Alysia Webster

1. What online platforms do you use/which do you choose not to use and why?

At the moment I just use Instagram alongside my website, and I find that for me the two work together quite well. I generally aim to use Instagram as a blog, and then link my website to show finished paintings. 

2. Do you have any practical advice for using these platforms that you wish you’d known sooner?

I’d say I’m still very much getting to grips with using online platforms; but I personally love it when you see artists sharing their process and their inspiration alongside finished work. So you get to know the artist a little bit more than you would just seeing a finished work on it’s own. 

3. What resources were particularly useful to you when you were starting out? 

I think one of the best resources to help with the overwhelming aspects of starting out as a practising artist, is talking to other practising artists. I’ve had so many invaluable conversations with my peers that have helped me along the way, and I’m so grateful for those friendships. A good example is that I was recently included in an exhibition that was a collaboration, and the idea formed simply by keeping in touch with artists I knew through my MA. 

I’d also have to say Instagram again! It has been such a key tool in discovering other emerging artists, finding open calls and opportunities, as well as being an easy way to keep in touch with friends from my BA/MA. But I’ve also found other great artists resources through using the app that I’d highly recommend like:

…there are so many! 

4. What would you say your balance is between painting and applying to opportunities/ working on your website/ the more admin side of things?

I think I have FINALLY managed to strike a good balance between admin and studio work, I’ve found that I’m most productive when I have set days in the studio. Then I’ll just set aside some time to do admin separately and follow up on emails, apply for opportunities, and update my website. Having a bit of structure in place, and keeping it simple helps me focus when I’m in the studio; because when I’m there, I’m there to paint and that’s all I need to think about. 

5. Do you have any tactics/ tricks you use when you’re finding it difficult to create work?

Sometimes the best thing for me to do is to stop working, take a moment, and do something different. Going for walk and getting some fresh air always helps! I also love going to exhibitions that I’m interested in, and that immediately makes me want to pick up a paint brush and get back to the studio. Another trick I use if I’m stuck is to do a full tidy up (because the studio is more often than not a complete mess) and then it feels like a fresh start. 

Again, there are days when I think you just have to push through the pain barrier and keep working. Occasionally the difficulty is that you’re working through a problem that needs to be solved, and if you keep going you might have a breakthrough moment… or you could feel like you’ve made no progress. But when it’s difficult in the studio, and it always is, I think you just have to keep showing up until you get it right. 

Alysia has a BA and an MA in Fine Art from Aberystwyth University. Outside of her studies, she has partaken in 7 exhibitions, including ARTIQ & Herbert Smith Freehills, The Graduate Art Prize, ‘Ones to Watch’ Sunny Bank Mills, and ‘Autumn Show’ Candid Arts Trust, as well as being featured in 4 Publications.