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A Magazine for Sheffield

Fem Sorcell Pattern, surface & space

We've been spotting the work of Fem Sorcell for a couple of years, popping up on walls and in exhibition spaces across Sheffield. Her distinctive flowing lines are detailed but not busy, clearly inspired by natural shapes and patterns, and her colour choices are distinct among local street artists.

The artist told us more about what she does and why she does it.


'Soft Noise'

What brought you to where you are currently?

I guess it started in London, doing makeup and prosthetics for film when I was 18. I really enjoyed painting and building things, helping films come to life, but I knew I wanted to push my drawing practice as it's something I just did all the time, so I decided to study Textiles and Surface Pattern in Leeds a couple of years later.

To be honest I was passing through Sheffield on a whim and just never left. It caught me with its good vibes.

It took me a few years to get back into the swing of art professionally after uni. It had killed my mojo. But every day I was still drawing, focusing on what I wanted to create. I would walk to work every day and spot interesting walls and spaces that I had an urge to fill with some kind of artwork, so I just started to do it on my morning commute. This started to lead to doing bigger work, which then lead to professional work.


Hyde Park, Leeds

Has your degree in Surface Pattern and Textile Design informed your art?

To be honest I didn't enjoy my course very much. It wasn't for me, but looking back at it now it does play in to my work a lot through the patterns that I use through space and surface. What I found at uni was actually the drawing aspect was what I loved the most. I want to keep expanding on my ways of combining a created piece of artwork with its environment.



You describe yourself as being "inspired by a wabi-sabi aesthetic". Tell us more about this.

Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that is closely related to Zen Buddhism. It relishes the imperfect and the transient within nature. It's a way of perceiving the world in which we are free from the boundaries of duality, where one thing is good and another bad.

Wabi sabi is inherent in the nature of street art, as it's not something that is expected to last forever. It also glorifies and makes people look at spaces that are otherwise seen as ugly, dilapidated and broken. I like to make work in these spaces and on walls, as it makes you look at the surface in a new light through art.

I invest a lot of time in creating artwork, so for me practicing non-attachment to a piece is really important. It's hard to let the work go and see it objectively when you are working so close to it all the time. It's something I'm having to learn to get better at.


'Muddy Water'

What have you got coming up for the rest of 2019?

Wow, 2019 has gone so fast. It's been a busy year. I have a fair few projects to crack on with, one exciting one in Sheffield, getting people engaged with public artwork, which I want to encourage more of. This is in conjunction with a project in Venice. I have also been working hard on my own projects behind the scenes that I haven't really put out there yet, dabbling in collaborating in making animations and trying out new processes of working.

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