Five Minutes with Sally Kirk

Sally Kirk discusses how lockdown has slowed her business and learning to be kind to yourself.

Firstly, how has the last six months treated your art business? 

I think over the last six months Covid-19 has had quite an impact on everyone. At first I felt very shut down and could not create. So, I focused on getting a new website set up which has a e-commerce element allowing online sales.

I am feeling a bit freer now and the art is starting to flow again. Recently, I was completing a mentoring programme at St Ives School of Painting, but this has been put on hold to be completed hopefully In January 2021.

I am also using my spare time to work hard at becoming an expert with social media.


What inspires you to create art?

I am inspired by the world around me. Whether it is Dartmoor or our wonderful South West coastline. I try to spend time in both locations. My Dartmoor images tends to be more minimal, as inspired by the empty wide open spaces. My coastal images tend to be more complex and interweaving.

I search out interesting motifs, shapes, colours, patterns and I recombine them into a new possibility. Fragments of memory. I like to over-lay, distort, and reinvent. Reality is usually my starting point, I use sketches and photographs to inspire me. I might recombine different viewpoints, manipulate scale, introduce mood though colours and tones or try to show the beauty in the unusual forms that interest my eye.

I have also found lately that I am giving a life back to my inanimate structures – the sea is creating new creatures and monsters. My meandering lines are recombining and meeting in new and unexpected ways.  


What is your creative process? 


My process is quite fluid depending on my mood.

I work with a variety of media.  Mixing it up, acrylic paints, inks, collage – I experiment to see what takes my fancy on any given day. Some days it is collage, other days my process is all about detail and pattern, and on some days it is mark making and texture that floats my boat.

My process is influenced by my mood and my memory of a place. I like to let my artwork evolve out of experimentation.


What advice would you give an artist starting their career? 

I think it is a bit early to give advice, but the one thing I try to do is let my business evolve.

I have to be very honest with myself and aware of my own reactions to things. I find if I put too much pressure on myself to get things done, I freeze up and can’t achieve anything. I have to treat myself with kindness – It is a work in progress.

I also find this useful: ‘Imagine what it would be like if you could not fail’, this helps me in moments of low confidence.


What is the most rewarding part of being an artist? 

I used to be an art teacher and I loved seeing students gain in confidence as they improved. I also loved to see the pleasure they got from seeing their work displayed. Now I am focusing on me and my artwork, so I am gaining in confidence and enjoying seeing my work displayed. It does not get much better!

I also love the feeling of freedom I get, when I allow myself to play in the studio and experiment with new media.  Usually in the workplace you are trying to be a grown up. How great is it to make a mess and not care what other people think.