In association with our Shop art display, each month we select an 'Artist In Focus,' one of the local artists featured in our Shop art display to find out what inspires them and how they create their artworks.

This month's 'Artist in Focus' is Stephanie Wilkinson whose uses vibrant colours and patterns to create striking work.  

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist.
It began very informally while living in Indonesia. I attended classes with an American artist and rediscovered the enjoyment of drawing that I had as a child. As it went well I signed up on an A level course and eventually, 12 years later, gained a Fine Art degree.

What inspires your designs?
I enjoy eclectic sources. I make a beeline for museums and galleries whenever I can to gather visual memories or photographs of things that catch my eye - stained glass, ceramics, Japanese prints or textiles. I also collect books by designers and painters from around the world eg Matisse, William Morris, Josef Frank, Gillian Ayres. Out of this comes inspiration to create my own designs.

Your works are mostly created in either charcoal and acrylic on canvas or Promarker pens, how do you decide which materials to use?
It helps me to keep both types of work going. What I learn from one, I can use in the other and vice versa. It also depends on the exhibitions that I have coming up and how many pieces I need to produce.

Can you explain the process behind creating a piece of art?
The canvases start in a very loose style with rough sketching in charcoal. I then mix up a few colours and distribute them randomly, applied with different sized brushes.  I then alternately draw and paint, gradually building the surface and bringing out the form until I finally arrive at a composition that I am pleased with. I’ll be exhibiting some new pieces in June in ‘Unleashed’ in the Art Fund Prize Gallery at the Lightbox.

You also teach a range of workshops, can you tell us about any that you particularly enjoyed?
At the recent Polar Bears and Penguins at the Living Planet Centre, I worked with the Schools and Youth Education Team to inspire sixty school children to create colourful patterned animals using acetate and pens to fill a 4 metre glass window.  It was a very enjoyable project and we were all pleased with the result.

You can learn about Stephanie Wilkinson by visiting her website.  

Find out more about the Shop Art display

Image credits: Stephanie Wilkinson 'Pattern Jug and Bowls', 'The Lamp Room', Floral Cloth & Teapot' © the artist.