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Studio Secrets

Mimei Thompson

Photo by Paul Murphy

Describe the things and images that you have around you in your studio and how they influence or inform your work.

At the moment some of the things there are postcards of work by William Blake, Helen Chadwick and Gabriel Orozco, medieval, religious and Mexican 'day of the dead' imagery; a dried blowfish; lots of print outs of googled images; collages, drawings, books of plants and creatures and National Geographic magazines. Some images are used as source material, some as inspiration.

Its also great to see what my studio mate, Sarah Gillham, has been up to, and have a cup of tea and a chat with her if she is there. She is unshakable in what she does and its great seeing her work develop.

Describe your working methods and processes.

The imagery tends to brew up quite slowly. If ideas stay with me I chew over them, and if they don't go away I tend to use them to start a painting. At the moment, I collect lots of images, but work mostly from my head and from rough scribbled drawings directly into painting on canvas. The painting itself is generally worked all over quickly in one go, in a session of few hours, and then worked into much more slowly over the next few weeks and months. Sometimes the work changes a lot in the process, sometimes less so. The way that I work keeps changing all the time, though.

Which single item in your studio is most important to your work?

Nice clean large glass palettes. (I resisted being what I thought of as a 'proper' painter for rather too long, but am coming round to it.)

Which artist/s most influence your work and which recent show has been inspirational?

Helen Chadwick, Hans Bellmer, Roberto Matta, William Blake, Pipilotti Rist, David Cronenberg, Glenn Brown, Alan Michael, Alexis Rockman and Matthew Ritchie are some I can think of right now. A number of artist friends have been very important, too, for both discipline and encouragement.

It was a treat seeing Sean Dawson's painting and 'photo paintings' last night at the 'Dream of Putrefaction' show at the Fieldgate gallery - I remember seeing his work years ago, and being very inspired by it. I also enjoyed discovering Cathy Ward's work recently (in the journal 'Strange Attractor', and then on her websites, including www.herworld.net) and look forward to seeing more of it.

A recent show that has been inspirational... I have to say that 'Slippery Slope' at the Eagle Gallery, which I put together with Sarah Douglas, was inspirational! The artists (as well as ourselves) in the show: Dafni Barbageorgopoulou, Katherine Kicinski and Ursula Llewellyn, all make amazing work, and were a pleasure and inspiration to work with.

Is your studio a refuge or a place of torture?

Definitely not torture. It can be a refuge from normally accepted standards of hygiene, but is generally a working space more than a refuge.