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MEET THE MAKER
Meet the maker - Soozy Barker
22 August 2018
Add a dash of colour to your walls with a distinctive art print by Soozy Barker.
Interiors editor Rory Robertson caught up with Soozy recently at her studio in Windsor amidst her canvases and brightly coloured paints.
Who? Soozy Barker
Lives? Windsor, Berkshire
Occupation? Professional artist
Makes? Tranquillity artwork, exclusive to Next
On arrival Soozy is charming and naturally friendly. She instantly welcomed the Next team into her old Georgian townhouse by offering a cup of tea and a generous smile.
It became apparent quite quickly that Soozy is a serious artist, with a fully equipped studio, just in view of the kitchen window, at the bottom of her country-style garden. As we walked down the garden and stepped inside, it was packed with colourful canvases, inspiration sketches and overflowing with Soozy's bubbly personality.
Soozy has recently contributed to Next's art collection with Tranquillity - an exclusive print for Next, available to buy both in-store and online, in her signature style and a pretty blue and pink colourway.
SHOP TRANQUILLITY PRINT
Q: How long have you lived and worked in this lovely house and studio?
A: I have lived in Eton for 20 years. The property is family owned and very old. It dates back to the 16th century or possibly earlier. We have various deeds going back centuries and we believe the house was originally built as an Inn. It remains to be a very sociable house - friends are always welcome. There is something magical about knowing that many people lived and worked here. It reminds me we are part of a continuum. Latterly, during the Victorian era, the ground floor area at the front of the property was converted into a shop. When we moved here 20 years ago my father, who is also an artist, used it as a gallery space. These days I work from the studio in the back garden, it's great for working on large scale canvases and gets fantastic natural light. I've made the studio a comfortable place to spend time, thanks to some pieces from Next Home, including the Jute rug (hardwearing and full of texture) and my console unit which doubles up as my desk. My black spindle dining chairs are also from Next - I'm a big fan!
Q: How do you normally work?
A: I normally paint in the afternoon and evenings. I spend a lot of time researching colours that I might use. It's a time consuming process of building up layers and textures, a method of working, which can also end up being quite messy! Occasionally I work outside to avoid completely covering the walls and floor of the studio in paint. We have a garden table and chairs setup from Next, so I can sit and work at that when it's sunny.
I have to listen to music while I work. Music that brings out a strong sense of emotion, it focuses my direction and opens my mind. To me the process of creating a painting is not academic, it's completely driven by how I feel. You can't just turn it on and off.
Q: Where do you get inspiration for your work?
A: My main inspiration is from nature. Nostalgic memories from childhood wanderings through the countryside. I've always felt at home outside amongst the trees and wild flowers. Growing up we had a large lily pond and a beautiful weeping willow tree. I was fascinated by the reflections, patterns and colours of the flowers and plants. I would often sit in the dappled light under the canopy of grey leaves dancing on the water. A magical place that stays in my mind and heart always. It inspires everything I do and it is the inspiration behind the Tranquillity print for Next.
SHOP HARWOOD CONSOLE
Q: What kind of places and spaces does your work normally hang?
A: My work is hung in ultra modern, classic, contemporary, Scandinavian, period and shabby chic style homes. In short, my paintings are truly versatile. Because they are often abstractions, they look equally great hung with modern furniture or amongst traditional antiques. Some of my paintings have been the starting point for interiors too, for example I've seen customers in the past buy cushions, curtains and even a sofa to match the colours in the painting they have bought.
Shop Soozy's look...
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