Using vibrant colours, bold shapes and intricate line the work of Andrea Soos is a beauty to behold As a regular contributor to the Artist Meets Mother hashtag I have been keen to chat to Andrea about her practice for sometime and I am excited to feature her today. In this interview Andrea talks about her mother artist journey, how she doesn't strive for perfection as a mother artist and how her work is expanding now she more time to spend in her studio.
Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires your practice?
My art is very process driven. I really have no idea what the finished piece will look like. When I really let go and allow the process to carry me is when I achieve the best results. My paintings are very much a playful approach to drawing and mark making and are inspired by a long standing sketchbook practice that I am finally exploring on a large scale.
Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?
I have 2 boys, ages 9 & 13. Both have seen the evolution of my art career as a teacher in the schools and galleries, to teaching at my home studio, then a studio owner and now returning to working at home again (though in a newly built backyard studio!) I realize that being home for them after school or being available to take them to their baseball practices is just as important as it was to be with them when they were toddlers (and just as time consuming!) so I am transitioning back to working from home for now. Teaching art was a great part time job to help me stay creative and practicing art while they were little.
Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?
I think that I have always worked quickly but being a mom means squeaking out a few minutes or an hour here or there so my art became faster, more layered and spontanious. I don't have time to be perfect, which is great because I don't know that art should be perfect.
Tell me a bit about your process. Is your process different now to how it was when they were small?
If I am working large i use acrylics, drawing tools, spray paint and paint pens to get a variety of layers and marks. My paper pieces and my sketchbooks often include a bit of collage and gouache or watercolour too. I used to only work small or under 42x48 but now that i have a bit longer in my studio hours, i am exploring big pieces (up to 65 x 75 so far)
Describe to us your work space. Where do you create?
My new space is only 100 square feet so it is very purpose built. One side is a wall to wall counter with shelves and drawers underneath. The other wall is plain, with no wall sockets, light switches or windows so I can tack up my large canvases. The only furniture is 3 rolling carts and an easel.
What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?
I think that my art is about not being too precious or perfect and so it is a way I can ease some of the worries or anxieties I get with the role of being a mother. My mom likes to point out that i am more controlled in my real life and less so in my art, so it must my therapy. It certainly brings me a sense of well being if I can get some studio time in each day - I am a better mother on those days.
What challenges does it bring?
Time is always the challenge. Being present and available for the kids and my art practice is a tricky balance and it is always changing. I think moving my studio home will help a lot. The last three years of running a teaching studio and trying to paint out of that space was hard on me and my family. Running a small business is time consuming and trying to fit in my own art practice as well as my family was trying. I made the decision to focus on my art full time and though that means losing the studio I built and loved, I think it is the right decision for us right now.
The images used in this post were photographed by Sarah MacNeill and Berkley Vopnfjord.