WebinArt Emerge Member Focus - August 2020

In the third of our Emerge member focus blog posts for the 2020/21 WebinArt programme, we are proud to introduce four up-and-coming creatives - Oli Page, Laura Parker, Jay Clarke and Hannah Moreton.


WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire's year-long professional development programme for creative businesses. Our Emerge members are early in their career and benefit from one-to-one tailored business mentoring sessions alongside a whole host of live online events and resources.


Click here to find out more about the WebinArt Programme. WebinArt 2020/21 is generously subsidised by our funding partners - Leicestershire County Council, Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Hinckley + Bosworth Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Blaby District Council + Rutland County Council. 

Oli PAGE

Eye On Leicester


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.  


Eye On Leicester is a website dedicated to putting the spotlight on creative individuals

who make Leicester special! The interview format is super simple in a bid to make them easily readable and accessible whilst gaining an insight into the sector. I have enjoyed chatting to every one of the interviewees who have included VR creator Alex Ruhl, producer Jiten Anand and artist Marcus Dove amongst many, many others! I started Eye On Leicester at the start of the lockdown phase both to keep myself busy during a quiet period of work and to fulfil the idea which I had had months prior without having the free time to do so. 


How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?

Now with lockdown easing, it will be a challenge to see how Eye On Leicester fits into my regular routine. What makes it especially difficult is that I actually will be commencing with another new challenge in life: training to be a teacher! What the website will definitely do, however, is keep me involved in the arts and creative sector which makes me very happy!


What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?

The biggest challenge I've faced is building an audience from scratch. I'm by no means a social media expert, but I've been able to grow the community through Instagram and hopefully that can translate into other platforms at a later date. I'm very happy that (as of writing) the Instagram account has over 400 followers and I've had well over 1000 views of the website. Building that community is very exciting and provides a platform for the next steps and new opportunities. 


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?

The short term goal is to find that balance in my new adventure. Maintaining the offer I have created for the community is very important, but I must remember that self care must come first. Once I've found that balance, I want to extend the offer of the website to include feature articles on topics that people are passionate about and that spread the positive vibes that are needed in a time of uncertainty and negativity in the mainstream media. 


How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?

The WebinArt Programme has been a great help! Not only has it provided me with a mentor who has given such wonderful wisdom and support (special shout out to Tricity Vogue!), but it has helped me feel part of a wider community that has welcomed us all with open arms. The webinars are incredibly helpful on various topics and can provide answers to questions I both knew and didn't know I had!


What has inspired you recently? 

I take inspiration from so many areas and mediums and lockdown has given me time to expand my horizons even further. I'm anticipating the new IDLES album having recently listened to the promotional singles. IDLES always find a way to mix cultural and social issues with inventive lyricism and awesome riffs!

The history podcast You're Dead To Me has been a great avenue into historical topics I was unfamiliar with such as the Haitian Revolution and is created and hosted by the writer Greg Jenner (of Horrible Histories fame!).  


The most recent Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite is a must watch for film fans. Not only is it a fabulously entertaining film mixing multiple genres and helmed by the immensely talented Bong Joon-Ho, it comes with a powerful portrayal of class divides and inequality. 


See more of what Oli does and Eye on Leicester here -

Website: www.eyeonleicester.co.uk

Instagram: @eyeonleicester / @olijpage

Twitter: @olijpag

Laura Parker


Tell us a little bit about your creative business and how you got into it.


I have always been exploring the world of creativity and have dipped my toes in a lot of disciplines. I studied Graphics, Photography and Textiles in A level and I think this was the time where my love for mixed media Art formed. I then went on to study an Art and Design foundation and graduated fromUniversity of Westminster in 2017, studying Illustration + Visual Communication.


The Natural World has always been a source of inspiration and much of my work holds meaning to stay connected with nature, or to spread a message to help nourish and save the environment. In a heavily technology-based world, it is easy to become disconnected to what is around us. I myself have been prone to this, remembering my roots and remembering that we ourselves are part of nature, has really helped my mental well-being as well as realising the simpler things in life creates more happiness. I really enjoy spreading this message within my creative work.


I consider myself a mixed media Artist because I cannot stick to one particular form. Ideas start from a rough sketch and this then depicts whether I choose to create in paper, digitally, as a 3D installation, using embroidery or painting and I find myself going through different phases- I’m currently on the paper and digital phase.


I have never doubted that being Artist is what I want to do, it is a natural form of expression and it makes me happy. I had a weird limbo experience just after graduating and took some time off for a few months, as the panic started to kick in… what am I actually going to do with an Art degree? But I got back into creating on a daily basis last year, when I had my own home studio space. I realised I will always be an Artist, but to make a career from it is going to a lot of hard work. some tough challenges and will just take time.


I started an Instagram page while at University and it has organically grown since, it is an amazing and inspiring platform and a really great way to build audiences and join supportive communities from all over the world. It is also a great log to see how your work changes and develops over time.


How does your practice and business fit in with life responsibilities?


I have two part-time jobs; I work in the retail shop Tiger and I’m also the Media Designer for wonderful independent Art school called Mini Picassos. So, I tend to squeeze my own creative practice in when I have a day off, in the mornings before work or evenings after work. It can be a juggle and if I have a day or two without creating, I start to get a bit twitchy and eager to get making again. As troubling as the Lockdown was this year for many, I was able to concentrate solely on my creative business without the usual life responsibilities, and it just engrained the full-time Artist dream deeper and made me feel more motivated. Creativity is a form of therapy, a way to process thoughts and a way to relax, I am forever grateful of it.


What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


There are a few challenges that spring to mind - I have introverted tendencies, and enjoy working by myself alone and getting absorbed for a few hours in making, which is great and I really value this time. I find it much easier to express myself through pictures than with words, so a big challenge I face is being able to explain or talk about my own work to other people. Another challenge that I believe many creatives struggle with is promoting yourself and your work, and having the confidence to approach potential client / opportunities. I could make work all day every day, but the business and marketing side of things does not come naturally. Lastly, I can also be my own worst enemy andsometimes struggle to break away from negative mindsets and not allowing myself to be proud of the milestones and achievements that I’ve made so far. Being kind and less hard on myself is something I’m working on.


The biggest success up to this point was probably having my own solo exhibition in 2018. It was both terrifying and exciting and a very big learning curve. The Private View was during the ‘Beast from the East’ and London was full of snow, and yet people still turned up and it was so humbling and an amazing feeling! This year I had my work published in Popshot Magazine, that was also a really great achievement.


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


Short term plans for my business is to keep creating regularly. To build a wider online presence, which during this current climate seems like a logical thing to do. I am in the process of creating a t-shirt campaign with some new designs, that I’m very excited about! For the long term, I plan to contact independent Shops, Businesses and Galleries and gain further exposure in Leicester and beyond! I am thoroughly enjoying creating my own work and have really appreciated the positive response and support. The long-term goal is to be able to do what I love full-time.


How is the Webinart programme benefitting your business so far?


The WebinArt programme has been really valuable so far, being part of a community that shares the same dreams and goals, have experienced similar struggles and uncertainties has been a real comfort. I love being at home working, but sometimes it can be lonely and overwhelming particularly during isolation, the WebinArt community has been really supportive and full of positivity. The archive of resources and live webinars have been incredibly insightful. Building a business can be daunting and sometimes feels impossible, the resources have been so helpful at breaking it down into smaller elements, so I can learn and develop and not feel swamped and unproductive.


I have really enjoyed the 1 to 1 mentoring; my mentor is the wonderful Jo McLeish creator of ‘The Media Room’ and she has been really great at helping me break down and set achievable goals to gain further exposure and opportunities. Really looking forward to seeing what the next 9 months of the programme brings.


What has inspired you recently?


Nature, always but perhaps now more than ever. Being confined at home has made me really appreciate being outside, I have begun really observing what I see and admire all the small miracles. Without a garden, the first 8 weeks of lockdown was tough, I will always remember the first day we could sit out in the park, smelling the grass and soaking up the sunshine – I had really taken it all for granted. I always look forward to long walks in the middle of nowhere, that’s my ideal day out.


Music has always been a brilliant source of inspiration; it can really lift me out of a glum mood. But I also love listening to the lyrics of songs, and very often this is how new ideas form. I have recently been listening to a lot of Khrangbin, Tame Impala – Inner Speaker, The Stone Roses, Four Tet, La Luz and always the Beatles. Within you and without you by the Beatles is possibly my all-time favourite, the final verse:


‘When you've seen beyond yourself, Then you may find peace of mind is waiting there, And the time will come when you see we're all one, And life flows on within you and without you.’


Just incredible! I find myself writing this quote down in my sketchbook on a regular basis, as a gentle reminder and the continual search for transcendental inner peace.


I recently found a vintage magazine I bought a few years back and did nothing with at the time. It was a 1953 Picturegoer, the photos and colours are just beautiful. This inspired me to incorporate photos within my collages and it has been amazing fun. Usually I start my sketches with a blank page, working with photos changes up the way I generate ideas and how to piece develops is muchmore experimental and less linear. The chosen photo is the starting point and the rest of the piece comes together from it. I have always had an interest in film photography and combining photomontage with other materials. Along with a strong passion of collecting (hoarding) papers I also love to collect old photos; they hold their own stories and it's interesting to work with something that already has a history.


See more of Laura's work -


Website: www.lauraparkerillustration.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/laura_pee_illustration

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LauraParkerIllustraton

Shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LauraPeeIllustration

Jay Clarke


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


I am a contemporary mixed media artist specialising in the human form. Work ranges from 2d to sculpture and video installation.

How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


My creative practise extends into running workshops for adults with disabilities.

What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point? 


Innattention exhibition was my main challenge and biggest success so far. Organising my first solo exhibition came at the same time as preparing for my graduate show. 


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


My short term goals is to complete a masters and broaden my experience in running creative workshops. My long term goals is to be represented by galleries and build my international influence through exhibitions, festivals, fairs.

How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?

So far I have learned a lot about the practises of a variety of creatives and quite importantly the e-workshop on leading workshops online leading up to launching a workshop on hand casting as part of a large scale international art festival through June and July.


What has inspired you recently? My recent inspirations come from documentaries on about classical art and surrealist theory surrounding psychology and mental wellbeing. Other inspirations come from digital design and technologies due to the restricted access on facilities and materials. 

See more of Jay's work - Website: jaylclarke.com Instagram: instagram.com/jaylclarkeartist/ Facebook: facebook.com/jaylclarkeartist

Hannah Moreton

Drawn By Hannah 


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.

Having enjoyed observational drawing with stitch and paper shapes at university I begin exploring creating more refined pieces which developed in portraits. The first piece I made as a finished piece was whilst on Maternity Leave with my eldest daughter, and it was a 30th Birthday present for my childhood friend. How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


Being self employed allows me to fit my work around being a parent of two children. I have a studio I share with my husband in Hinckley town centre. I work ad hoc evenings and weekends at the moment, but come September I will be able to dedicate two full school days a week to working in my space.

What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


Until September 2018, I worked from a home studio. When my eldest started school I moved out into the space I share with my husband. Once my was born the forlowing June and was small enough (read imobile) I could work around her feeding and sleeping, wearing her in a sling.  However this did not last long as she begun crawling very early, so length of time spent working, which coincided with lockdown, tailed off.  So my main challenge and success have been one and the same. Having to work during evenings and weekends, has taught me to speed up parts of my process, meaning that my output during the time I have has made sure I am not behind with my current project.


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?

Short term I am drawing the project I have been working on to a close. I have approx 18 piece of work with another three to complete before my first exhibtion in December. Long term I want to grow the more commerical side of my work, babywearing and breastfeeding portraits, as well as my commemorative pieces. How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


WebinArt has allowed me to engage in dialogues with other creative people, no matter what disapline. This has helped give me momentum to push forward with my work. The online interviews and webinar's have provided me with food for thought for further development. What has inspired you recently? 

My online network of other artist mothers such as Fiona Lewitt ( Growing Basi) and Amy Gilbert (Hello Treacle) Breastfeeding

Inclusivity


See more of Hannah's work - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drawnbyhannahuk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrawnByHannah

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