"Only You Can Make It Happen" | An Interview with Drawing Prize Runners Up, Rosalind Barke

Etruscan Landscape by Dorry Spikes

Curating exhibitions really allows us to see just how many brilliant ways artists can use the exact same medium. It's fascinating to see the variations of styles that use more or less the same materials. So of course our eyes were bright and our mouths dropped open in amazement when we went through all the entries for the Drawing Prize competition we did in partnership with London Drawing Group. Selecting the finalists was not easy, but it was worth it see how well all 10 artists work were situated together in the 'OverDrawn' exhibition at Buster Mantis.

On the opening night, we announced one winner of the Drawing Prize, Ruth Chambers. Along with 2 additional artists to win a gift from the London Graphic Centre, to help towards creating their work. Those two very talented artists were Dorry Spikes and Rosalind Barker.

Private View of 'OverDrawn' Exhibition

When we asked what prompted them to get into art in the first place, Dorry remembers her childhood art class;

"The village art class was about communal joyful art-making in a local artist's kitchen. I went there with my friends from the age of four until I left for art foundation at 18."

Where as Rosalind recognised it's never too late to continue what you love "Despite being very shy I was popular in primary school with both the boys and girls because I could draw the Flintstones and their families as dress up paper dolls!

After pursuing a lengthy career in nursing and three teenage sons later, I found it was not too late to finally use that art foundation year I did back in the 70’s. I immersed myself in a degree in Fine Art graduating with distinctions in 2009. Much like life, six decades of people watching, and extraordinary cultural changes have influenced my practice and make it a mix of darkness, beauty and fragility."

Token Women: Circles by Rosalind Barker

Dorry says "This is constantly shifting, but all artists that have the bravery and commitment to turn up and get on with making. I'm interested in the intention of visionary artists like William Blake and also inspired by artists that work across mediums like Ana Maria Pacheco. Instagram. Podcasts like Talking with Painters have introduced me to inspiring Australian artists like Luke Sciberras. Writers and theatre companies often inspire me as much as visual artists." Both artists agreed that other artists influence and inspire their art practice.

For many artists, finding time to enjoy non-art related activities is quite a challenge. Dorry knows it's easy for her to find joy in eating good food and swimming in the sea “I’ve learnt that as well as living and breathing art, I sometimes need to think through ideas by doing something completely different. I like to walk, cook, meet with friends, jump in the sea - so whatever I’m currently working on gets space to percolate.” said Dorry. Whereas Rosalind can relate to the artists that somehow continue to find themselves relaxing into art related activities most of the time.

"My absolute favourite thing has always been to escape into a pocket of time and day dream. As a co-curator of the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery and co-facilitator for Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum, it is very rare that I can now lose myself so completely. Fortunately drawing has the similar meditative quality to day dreaming, the appeal that time and space fracture and there is just a focus on the drawing. I am joining Drawing Breath, a drawing and meditation weeks retreat in Umbria with Professor of Drawing Tania Kovats on April 27th, so I am hoping they will help me find a space for my favourite day dreaming (but that’s making art!)" says Rosalind.

Of course any good artist is continuously looking to improve, so we asked "What is the one that thing you want to get really good at?"

"Getting on with creating without the self doubt and self sabotage." said Dorry, which we already know that so many other emerging artists can relate to.

Rosalind seeks to allow her art to better communicate with it's viewers. "I want to create drawings and sculptures that are a catalyst for personal reinterpretation, the impact and effect of the work on a person who chooses to engage with it is the core of my interest. I acknowledge that the viewer needs the independence to take from the drawing whatever it means for them. Access to statements about their meaning from the perspective of the artist are irrelevant, the work has to stand by itself, but even for a nanosecond I always want to connect."

When we asked for some advice we could pass on to our readers, they dropped some pretty great jewels:

"Remember to play and be prepared to rip it up and start again" said Dorry.

"Only you can make it happen." said Rosalind.

Both Dorry and Rosalind stay busy pursuing their art, and we're excited to see and share the cool things they're doing.

Dorry says "I'm back in Wales and have joined Aberystwyth Printmakers, the local printmakers cooperative so I'm hoping to develop some of the drawings I made in Uganda into paintings and prints. I've also recently started hosting ‘art socials’ - I held my first couple in Kampala and one in Wales, I have always been a bit intimidated by the idea of formal teaching so wanted to set something up where a small group of people come together and draw in a playful way. I keep them free and informal as I like it that people who haven't done any art classes for years come - It's magical to see the joy of people remembering. I’m hoping to continue to host these wherever I travel and live."

Find Dorry Spikes on Instagram at @DorrySpikes to keep up with her new projects.

Rosalind says "My next exhibition is Contemporary Art + Ritual at The Crypt Gallery in London from 16th – 21st May I will be showing ‘us’, male and female life size sculptural drawings in dust and ash. The media was collected in my ‘Drawing Machine’, a model named and made by Dyson for the cleaning ritual of dust removal. The ash is from my domestic open fire grate.

I'll also be having an open studio for our inaugural weekend on the 18th & 19th May, where I welcome everyone into my creative base. Visitors will be able to see my current drawings for Ex Libris at The Ideas Store Canary Wharf in June. The Ex Libris drawings are exploring my childhood relationships and fascination for a set of Chambers Encyclopedias from 1886 that I bought at a school jumble sale combined with our many pet tortoises, now a rarity in the domestic space. The work is an exploration of drawing methodologies, memories and the changes in the nature of where and how ideas are stored and sought out. There is also a studio members exhibition at Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery in the preceding week. The private view is Thursday 16th May at 5:30pm."

Keep up with Rosalind Barker on Instagram at @rosalinddrawing

To find out about Dorry's future workshops or Rosalind's exhibitions and open studios, visit the Events and Workshops tabs on our Opportunities page

While you're looking around, find more of our Exhibitions and check out pics from the opening night to see the other 8 brilliant artists that took part in our amazing Drawing Prize show 'OverDrawn'.

If you're an artist and want to share your work with us, join our MailSquad and follow us on Instagram to be the first to know about upcoming opportunities.


Lauren Little

Lauren was born in London, but grew up in Canada where she received her degrees with distinction in Fine Arts and Education. Now she's back, she continues her work in creative arts by making art and teaching it, while developing opportunities for early career artists as the founder of the online platform Dark Yellow Dot.

#Drawing #ArtCompetition #Inspiration

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