Create’s visual artist Sheridan Quigley talks about her experiences working on Create projects. (Interview from 2011.)
“I have always had art in my life. My parents are artists, so I grew up steeped in it. At school and university, though, I tried hard to be ‘normal’ – people’s perception of artists was that they were bohemian and flaky! So I studied Modern Languages & European Studies and spent a large part of my working life in the City doing law and accountancy. In my late twenties, I went to Central Saint Martins to do a part-time MA in Fine Art. I only got into art properly about six years ago, though, and am now a painter/sculptor, working across a wide range of artforms.
“I think what art brings to people is ‘the art of looking’. The more you look, the more you notice and the more you want to understand. Everything is fascinating.
“I started working in community settings when someone from the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex saw a workshop I’d run for an after-school club and asked me to run a project at a school based on ‘Utopia’. I worked for a while as a teacher for ‘gifted & talented’ children and also for Creative Partnerships.
“People learn better through a creative process – it’s all about the creative experience and using it to develop the whole person. My favourite project so far has been creating a memory tree with the older people during art:links, being able to give them a different creative experience. The new materials and techniques expanded their comfort zone and they made something amazing! I really enjoyed building relationships with them over the 10 week project too – normally when you run workshops, you just see people for half a day! The sense of continuity added a whole new dimension to the project.
“I love the communities that Create chooses – I get to work with groups that don’t tend to have access to art and are often far removed from anything creative.”