International Postcard Show 2016: Artist Interview #1


Sharon is a British artist based in Presteigne, on the England-Wales boarder.
Her work is often inspired by her degree in Geography, masters degree in Archeology and her interests in domestic life, space and communication. Sharon uses a range of mediums within her work including textiles, print, drawing, collage, digital imaging, photography, performance and sound.

The work Sharon submitted for the Postcard Show was a selection of three digital paintings from a series of work based on old, found photographs of women at leisure.

‘I work in very close detail with these images to the point of them feeling abstract. I also like to observe the posing of the photographs and what this might reveal about the relationships between the women in the photographs. I rarely work with figurative images so this is quite a departure. Rather than produce work which hints at the themes of family, the domestic and communication as I have been over the past few years, I felt it was time for a change in approach.’

All three postcards were sold at the International Postcard Show.  Congratulations!

(Above: Photograph of Sharon Hall-Shipp's postcards in the International Postcard Show, Surface Gallery) 

(Above: Photograph of Sharon Hall-Shipp's postcards in the International Postcard Show, Surface Gallery) 

JJ: When did you become a full-time artist? 

Sharon: I became a full-time artist in 2008 after many years of part-time involvement.

JJ: You've explored a range of mediums in your artwork. How do you choose which medium you are going to work with?

Sharon: The most important part of the work is the idea. Then follows a long period of thinking about which media and techniques would be best to present that idea, and then experimentation. Sometimes, though, the ideas really crystallise by just going with something I have found or have to hand. Even if nothing comes out of that, the process helps me to think. Often there are unexpected insights through the making, which will then lead me to another way of resolving the idea. 

JJ: Do you have a studio? If so can you tell us about it? 

Sharon: My studio is at home. I have a large room with a worktable for computer and graphics tablet and a separate space for working with other media. Loads of shelves with reference books and art magazines, box files for found photos and objects, space to sit and think, and lots of stuff everywhere!

JJ: Who or what inspired you to be the artist you are today?

Sharon: Architecture, graphic design and typography, especially from the 1930s to the 1960s were the things that caught my eye first, and fine art, which includes components of these, is always compelling. I am most inspired by conceptual and multimedia artists such as Susan Hiller, Fiona Banner and Martin Creed, land artists such as Hamish Fulton, and photographers such as Jörg Sasse and Candida Hofer.

JJ: Are there any creative skills you do not already have, that you wish to learn in the future?

Sharon: Animation and screen-printing and I'd love to be able to master Illustrator!

JJ: A lot of your work has been produced using textiles, drawing, printing and collage.  What are your views on digital art processes and do you think there is still a future for traditional art techniques art such as print, painting and drawing?

Sharon: I've been working with digital photography and digital drawing/painting for many years, longer in fact than with textiles, printing, collage and 3D. Photography and working with photographs will always be important to me. I don't draw a distinction between painting and drawing with paint/ink etc., and digital work. I like the process of making "real" things and of materiality. Sometimes I use this making more as a form of meditation rather than seeking to produce anything, or having an end result. I explore ways to combine all the techniques and processes I am interested in, if it suits the ideas I am working with. There's room for all approaches to art, and all methods of making it.

JJ: Do you ever get artists block? If so, how do you over come it?

Sharon: I don't get block as such, more feelings of dissatisfaction, or that I may be stuck in a rut; if that happens I keep working but on something different. I have learnt that keeping my hands busy doing something creative usually calms me and frees my mind to roam. One way that always seems to work is to use a found object as a basis for fresh thinking and research. I also like to discuss with other artists and to collaborate. Based where I am means a lot of this is done over social media.  

JJ: What advice would you give to aspiring artists who hope to make a career out of their art?

Sharon: There will be a way to do it, but there usually is some compromise. In the past I have had a variety of part-time jobs alongside, some of which have worked well - that is have not been too tiring or boring or intrusive to the extent you don't feel like making art in your free time - but some have been very counter-productive. We (my husband is also an artist) have elected to lead a very frugal life in order to have the maximum amount of time to make work. However, this can mean we haven't always got the resources to send in submissions, to travel to shows, update or buy new equipment etc. There's usually quite a creative challenge to overcome these problems! I think you can be a full-time artist in your head and practice, even if you do have to do other work on the side to get by. 

To see more of Sharon's work visit