Katie Sollohub is a Sussex-based artist who is interested in documenting and recording the places she lives and works in through drawings, paintings, performance, photography and poetry.
In 2014 she was awarded a Arts Council England grant to fund her year-long residence at JMW Turner’s House in Twickenham, which is soon to be restored and opened to the public in 2017. "Being a part of this historic project has been a great privilege and an inspiration for me," she says. "It has allowed me to really develop my relationship to place and architecture, and has nurtured a fascination with the area I hope will be long lasting, as I have subsequently been invited to create work in other venues of historic importance, including Pope’s Grotto and Normansfield Theatre."
Her work explores the narrative components surrounding objects, memories, interior and exterior spaces, brought to life with her spectacular use of colour and detail. You can see a selection of her most recent work A Guest in Turner’s House on the Turner’s House website gallery here.
I am looking forward to my month-long residency at Borgo Santo Pietro during August this year. As my work is always in response to place, and this is my first time here, I imagine my work will start as an exploration of the place, the immediate space around me, including the studio and the surrounding landscape, whether it is a simple still life, objects in the studio, freshly picked wild flowers, or a record of my walks to and from the studio each day. Having seen photographs of the hotel itself, I would love the opportunity to make work about the sumptuous interior spaces, or the play of indoor/outdoors in the gardens where furniture and plants frame the space. I usually start by making studies on paper, using sketchbooks to experiment in, with inks, drawing materials, collage and mixed media. Small portable materials will allow me to explore the surroundings easily. This process is also a wonderful way to teach and share a way of looking by immersing in the experience, drawing as you walk.
Given the opportunity to do work on a daily basis, away from the distractions of home, I can foresee a very productive month. After the initial exploration, finding my place, I shall enjoy getting stuck into some painting – my preferred medium is oil paint – I usually work fast, on several paintings at a time, sometimes on quite a large scale. I work intuitively, following my instincts, trusting in the process - and this is also the approach I take in my teaching. I like to encourage others to open their eyes and see their surroundings afresh - drawing or painting from observation, with a playful curiosity, experimenting with materials so the work becomes expressive and personal to each participant, regardless of experience. In my own work I will try and stay present, suspend judgement, as I encourage others to do when I am teaching. I shall see what inspires me, and really enjoy what emerges. I will come with no fixed plans, so that it will be all about new experiences, new spaces, new ideas.