Monday, April 11, 2011
I "met" Concetta Perot last summer when we were both taking the same e-course. She is a fabulous mosaic artist living in London. She makes small mosaics, large public art mosaics, commissions, gallery work, and teaches mosaics to kids and adults. It's my pleasure to present this interview with Concetta.
Where do you live and how long have you lived there? Is there another place which you consider your hometown?I live in London, in a place called “Tooting” (which some people think sounds funny!). Been here for 22 years so its the longest I have lived anywhere but my roots are in the South of Italy (both parents emigrated to the UK in 1960) and I lived in Italy as a child.
Tell me about your family.
Neil, my wonderful husband of 17 years, Isabella (5) and Toby (4) my gorgeous kids, Pom Pom, Rosie and Chloe the cats and various numbers of goldfish! We are lucky to live in a neighbourhood with amazing community feel to it and consider many of our close friends and neighbours as family too.
Do you work at a job other than making and promoting your art?
Well, other than household management and parenting (!).... I gave up my previous job/career 2 1/2 years ago. I was a qualified social worker, running a training department in a national children’s advocacy organisation. Loved my work but the creative path was calling me and having children gave me the opportunity and courage to make the change (which took a lot of guts). I have not looked back.
What hobbies do you have, or how do you spend your spare time?
Gardening - we have a very small garden that makes me happy and we are part of a community farm which is wonderful. I love to write. I love to read. I love being with friends and sitting round a fire, drinking whisky, playing guitar and singing.
How would you describe yourself as an artist and the art that you do? Do you give yourself a title? Do you have an artist statement?
I am a mosaic artist. Mosaic is the most amazing medium - most people are not aware of the existence of contemporary (as opposed to Roman/Byzantine) mosaic. I love the colour, the reflectivity, the possibility. And I love that mosaics reflects life - broken-ness is beautiful.
What type of art do you spend the most time doing?
I make wall art, sculpture and jewelry. My own projects are almost always on the shelf as I have been so busy since going pro. Happy and sad :) :( about that!
Can you give me a timeline of how your art has developed over the years?
I started about 10 years ago. Pretty much self-taught with the support of the amazing online community of mosaic artists. Just after going pro, I took a master class with the amazing teacher and mosaic artist, Sonia King. That confirmed me in my skill, corrected some of my bad habits and gave me some new insight and technical skills. I feel I have flown ever since.
Has your art always been similar to your current style?
It’s always evolving. I feel myself developing month by month - growing in confidence both technically and artistically, going deeper with every piece I make. I just follow my nose - make what either my heart or opportunity (materials, commissions)lead me too.
If you were making art solely for yourself, not for sale, what would you make?
A very large mosaic of a dove, in lots of shimmering shades of white, to go over my bed - the reason I ever started to mosaic in the first place!! I would do large scale, dramatic pieces. They take ages but there is something stunning about scale. And then weeny jewelry to give to friends!
Are most of your mosaics commissions, or do you have some in galleries or other venues for sale?
A mix of all three. My problem at the moment is that I do not have enough pieces! I have done lots of commissions - small and large - which has to date been very fulfilling. I have work in a wonderful place called the b-gallery. This is a lively centre for arts in Bedfordshire (just outside London). Last December, I did my first solo exhibition which was wonderful (and exhausting). You can see it all online here. I also have work in an online gallery called Unearth (but only one piece there at the moment as need to made more!). I take part in group exhibitions such as the forthcoming “Gothic” exhibition in Lichfield Cathedral during May organised by the British Association for Modern Mosaics and the “Forest” exhibition in May organised by Opus Mosaics.
I think artists now are realizing that they can’t rely solely on selling originals of their art. What other things do you do that add to your creative business income, such as, teaching, writing, or anything else?
I run classes at my small home studio twice a week - which I love love love. My blog is regularly populated with images of my students’ works in progress and me gushing about how I enjoy making ‘mosaic addicts’! I also do series of workshops at a lovely place nearby called the Artyard. Lastly, I do community mosaic projects - two ongoing at the moment. The funny thing about the community mosaics is that they have come to me (I haven’t gone out seeking them) and they, so far, tie in directly with the experience I have a social worker for 20 years (children in care, refugees). Serendipity....
I met you online when we were both taking an e-course taught by Kelly Rae Roberts. What was your motivation for taking that course and did it fulfill your expectations?
I love Kelly Rae’s spirit. I resonated with her experience as she too was a social worker turned artist. I wanted to learn from her experience of developing a creative business. The course was resource rich and she shared so freely which is beautiful. The biggest gift of the course was that it makes me take myself seriously as a business woman as well as an artist. I am in the middle of ‘flying’ and Kelly Rae’s course definitely provided currents of air under my flapping wings! Before taking this course, I also took Marisa’s “In the Fishbowl” class which was brilliant and nicely complimentary to ‘Flying Lessons’. Both these courses provided materials and helped me to make important mental shifts.
Can you talk about your art friendships you’ve met online, how you’ve cultivated them, and what they mean in your artistic life?
There are some people I have met on line (through taking both Kelly Rae’s and Marisa’s course) who immediately felt like kindred spirits. I feel a sense of sisterhood with them and hope we can meet one day. In the meantime, we shoot off emails to each other to check in, ask questions, offer support. It’s precious. And of course we visit each other’s blogs. I am lucky in that I have also met several people in real time and one blogger friend Amelia happens to live round the corner and we have become good friends and meet regularly to catch up and help each other on the journey.
Do you still take classes to learn new art techniques?
I did Amelia’s Experimental Art E-Course. Fab for playing with different mediums, having fun and just unleashing creativity. She is just enrolling for a class that starts mid April and I thoroughly recommend it!
Where do you make your art? Do you have a dedicated space in your home, or an outside studio?
I have an out building at the bottom of my garden which is converted into a studio. Small but does the job as I don’t have to walk far to work.
I hope you've enjoyed my interview with Concetta Perot, mosaic artist. You can check out her website here, and her blog here.