In the Studio with Georgie Somerville

British artist Georgie Somerville explores themes of fluidity, moving image and storytelling through her artistic practice. We met with Georgie to tell us more about growing up in Surrey and how she's been keeping creative.

When did you first begin to see yourself as an artist? 
Ever since I can remember, I’ve drawn, painted, sewed, anything that involved making something. When I was in junior school there was an afterschool art club on Mondays, it was my favourite part of the week. My art teacher basically had to drag me out every time it ended. I think I was always the messiest kid and my studio is still a tip to this day.
Where are you from and what was your upbringing like? How has this impacted your work?
I grew up in Surrey which meant I was in the countryside whilst still being close to London. I came to the city a lot and was always drawn to the mayhem. This sense of motion and agitation, causing landscapes and faces to blend has inspired a lot of my recent work. I live in East London now and I love the landscape of the East End. I have this photography book about East London in the early 20th century and I take a lot of imagery from it.
Paint us a picture of your artistic journey. Have you gone through the traditional route of art school and what was your experience?  
I began a foundation year at Central Saint Martins in 2019 but I dropped out. I’ve been painting every day since. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to university, I’ll see what happens.
What’s the message of your work? How would you describe your aesthetic?
The message of each piece changes between each painting. Currently I’m doing a lot of experimentation, so there isn’t always a coherent theme or aesthetic between the works. I’ve felt a pressure to recognise exactly what I want to say straight away, so instead, I’m keeping all doors open.

Are your works planned? What do you want people to take from your work when they view it? 

I don’t like planning my work too much. I’ll look at images, colours, or words until something stands out, but after that it’s about getting it down as quickly as possible. When I overthink things and change an idea a lot, it won’t get finished. The more I paint, the more I’ve noticed that people are often drawn to my simpler, intuitive pieces rather than ones that are overly considered.

What are your ideal conditions or catalyst for creating a “good” piece of work?

I wish I had an answer to this but realistically I never really know. It’s never a straightforward journey; feeling clear and positive doesn’t then produce a good piece of work. Sometimes it might but equally it might happen when I’m feeling restless and cynical.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to keep up the momentum with which I’ve been working over the last few months. I honestly can’t stop at the moment. I’d like to do a show at the end of the year and include everything I’ve made since leaving university.

How have you been keeping creative during isolation?

As there’s been a lack of contact and conversation over this time, it’s tricky to not get tunnel vision. I’ve called friends over facetime for critiques as the lack of perspective makes it easy to get stuck on one idea. I loved having all this time on my hands though, I’ve painted every day.