“Being mentally preoccupied every day in regards to what you are painting, learning to trust what you are making is definitely a challenge and a reward at the same time”
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
SS: I grew up in London. I have alway been interested in making things from a very young age. I found school hard, so I would go to great lengths trying to distract teachers from my inability to read by making sure all my homework was presented as hand drawn storyboards that you couldn’t really shout at me for. Both my parents are creative so, growing up in London I was exposed to shows from a young age, some I refer to today as landmarks in expanding what I believed art was, like the 2012, ‘Patrick Keiller: Robinson Institute’, show at Tate Britain, that I’m still obsessed with.
AT: When did it become serious?
SS: It became serious when I knew that I could talk about my experience and understanding of an artwork and be able challenge my work in reflection. Being able to go to the Slade allowed me to be exposed to such a spectrum of work that my development came from consistently confronting my taste and rejection of specific aesthetics.
AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?
SS: Working with Edoardo Monti has been irreplaceable, he has given me support straight out of art school and has protected and taught me away from my own naivety and paranoia. And Alastair MacKinven who was my tutor who would be present and understanding in conversation with me where i’m trying to trick him into talking about fake paintings I’ve made and sit with me qualifying and explaining my position back to me.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Could you describe your practice?
SS: Research and Drawings. I paint large scale narratives tied to hyperbolic bodies, I try to use scale as a form of intimacy and contact, focusing on the libidinal power of unterminated desire. Rejection and objectification in their distinctions within the abject sexual body.
Degree show_installation view
AT: What do you want to reach with your work?
SS: I am sustained in my interest in trying to project desire through directness, so important care is given and put on the audience, as they are crucially involved in the narrative.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
SS: I am a super tall person, so my favourite tools are just stretchers taller than me (above 190cm)
AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?
SS: I laugh with my paintings at all stages.
Honey, 2019, oil on canvas
Nobody But You/Nobody’s Gonna Fuck Me Like Me, 2019, oil on canvas, 2×2 m
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
SS: I don’t think any painting wants to get finished. As soon as I can see the the rendered finished image in my head it’s just a constant fight with the painting, and it makes itself really hard to resolve, so paintings normally resolve themselves.
AT: There are any artists who influenced your works? Why?
SS: Annie Sprinkle, Carroll Dunham, Ernst Fuchsm, Kaari Upson. Chicago Imagists; Ed Paschke, Roger Brown and Christina Ramberg.
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
SS: It allows me to be able to find artists who have similar intentions and aesthetics to me and can help when you feel your art is misplaced.
Self Defense No Wrestling, 2019, oil on canvas, 215×185 cm
Inside, 2019, oil on canvas.
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
SS: I generally feel like it’s like a magician picking an audience member….
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
SS: Being mentally preoccupied every day in regards to what you are painting, learning to trust what you are making is definitely a challenge and a reward at the same time.
AT: What do you do outside of art?
SS: I drink a lot of water.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
SS: My goal is to be able to carry on making art