The first artist to be featured on our brand new Instagram series, #ThursdayTakeovers, Shema Ladva is a painter who deals with people, nature or animals. We had the chance to sit down with Shem to find out more about her practice, inspiration and daily life as an artist. Check out @DegreeArt on Instagram to learn more!
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
The most influential art movement I enjoy the most is Impressionism and Expressionism movements. To imagine living in Europe especially Paris at the beginning of the 20th century where all the great masters came together and changed the art world. I often wondered how I would of survived as an artist if I was born in that era.
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I always retreat to my studio. That's my space. Since graduation, I've had several studios. Some better than others. But importantly my space is where I need to make my work and being away from my studio for a long period of time can be quite distressing. Sounds silly but my work can be all-consuming so distraction has to be minimal. Even more so when you're juggling a husband, a child and a couple of part time jobs.
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
Oh I'm bursting with ideas. It's having to find a way to control your impulses to turn everything into a piece of work. I normally carry my camera as a substitute to a sketchbook. I capture a collection of images which gets translated onto canvas as an explorative process, moving and removing colours until I'm satisfied with my palette. The process can stretch into many weeks as I tend to work on more than one canvas at a time. Keeps me on my toes!
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
Its always been the big giant, Picasso, his style, finesse and brilliance just blows my mind. Even after all these years and all the great contemporary artists that are around, Picasso just seems to hold onto the top spot.
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
I believe I would have been an astronaut even though I am quite rubbish at science. The idea of outer space amazes me. Earth-wise I would still and always be an artist.
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
Actually music is quite distracting even though I love music very much, it can stop my work process. I much prefer narrative or storytelling because I'm in an isolated environment, voices are more welcoming into my space. Radio 4 xtra is very good for this.
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
Most definitely Le Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso. I want to New York back in 2008 and the highlight of my trip was seeing this painting for real. It was one of the best experiences of my life. And if I could I would hang it at my home in Romford and invite all my suburban acquaintances.
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
It would have to be the National Gallery as it was the first gallery I had ever attended when I was 16. At the time I was the only student at my high school studying A-level art so the trip into central London was nerve-wracking even more so, traveling alone with my art teacher. The thought of making small talk made me quite sick but as soon as I entered the gallery all that nervousness fell away. I will always remember that day and the wonderful masterpieces I saw minus the awkward silences with my teacher.
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Be prepared to be poor. Make work you're proud of and don't give into commercialism....it can shatter your soul.
10) What is your favorite book of all time (fiction or non-fiction)?
George Orwell "Coming up for Air" doesn't know why but it resonates with my upbringing in Southall.
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non-traditional art setting, where would that be?
In schools. That's where it all begins. The reason I was the only A-Level art student at my high school was purely down to options. Most girls in the 80's were told to take up typing and the boys to take woodwork.
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
Be experimental. Try everything and we did. We studied illustration which covered printmaking, animation, mixed media, photography, 3D. It was amazing. It was also the time before students had to pay for their courses. We had the space to play and make mistakes and we made many mistakes but we all made some great art.
13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
Oh! I know exactly where I'll be. I will still be making art in a swanky studio or more likely in a shed at the bottom of my garden. Either way, I will always find a way to make my work with a bit more money in my pocket. Don't need anything else...maybe a van to ferry my work about.