Home Is Where The Art Is
Sam Butler tracks down some of Sheffield’s creative types to find out who they are and why they do what they do.
Sheffield is a thriving hub of creativity – chock full of museums, galleries and exhibitions. But what about the art hiding away on city streets, in offices or pubs? Urban art that uses Sheffield as its very own canvas.
We sought out some of our favourite pieces, produced by some of our favourite artists, to find out what their work means to them.
“I made the streets my gallery, a place where I can put my stuff and hopefully brighten up somebodies day. I do my crap for the people that still keep their eyes open, people that try not to let the world get to them, that can still see beauty in amongst all the crap! I guess that’s why so many of my street pieces have lasted so long, no bugger can see or find ‘em! It seems people are more about the attention thing, what it brings to them; does it make them look cool? As opposed to doing something for a reason, to get a message out-there or, in my case, just to put something a little out of shot that, if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t even notice.”
Showing her signature character in most of her designs she reveals her interests and personality in every piece.
“It’s something I’ve always had a passion for. My main influence is life. I paint events that have happened and things that are close to my soul. I try not to let outside influences direct my work, I have a signature character in most of my designs – artwork is a personal thing and it gives people an insight into your world. I guess through my work there’s a common theme of love, life and loss… with a heavy horror tinge to it.”
“I’ve produced a lot of work for businesses, enhancing wall spaces for the likes of the Children’s Hospital, Sumo Digital, Hair Kandi – and even at Exposed. It’s always a nice feeling to see your work up in that kind of environment – but what’s really great is that you can see the work get old. The longer it’s up there, the more you realise that your style and the way you work gets better in time, so sometimes there’s a bit of a balance. I love the freedom of working freelance and the variety of work that comes my way. Don’t get me wrong though, there are down sides… such as when you have a quiet period or a bit of a wrangling with a client for whatever reason – but these are part and parcel. The fact I get to draw and make images for a living is what I enjoy the most!”
“I’m not one for creating dark art – it’s always meant to cheer the viewer up. The ‘bobblehead’ characters I use have gone down really well with musicians in Sheffield. Since they’re so recognisable, they do a lot to help a band’s image and ‘brand’. Illustration aside, a large portion of the work I produce now is poster based – for some reason I find line-ups and lists of event information irresistible.
Some of my favourite pieces went up in Fancie’s Ecclesall Road restaurant as my first miniature show of work. I’m proud of every single one of them. Other highlights are the music exhibitions in the Division Street pop up gallery and the Green Room – where I exhibited my work alongside Ian Tilton and Paul Harries.”
“I’m a French painter – who recently relocated to Sheffield from New York via Paris. I chose the name EMA in my teenage years in the early 90’s inspired by Emma Peel from the TV show The Avengers. I used to paint EMA pieces on trains and walls in France and New York. I don’t use the name so much anymore, although I do sign my work EMA from time to time as a ‘homage’ to my graffiti roots. One of my favourite pieces is the mural I recently completed on the side of Access Space on Sidney Street. I plan to paint more of this kind of stuff over the next few months.”