Day 85: Olivia Brearley

I absolutely adore how today’s creative feminist (@oliviabrearley) is inspired by the unique, foraged and found objects we decorate our homes with, and how vintage pieces, in particular, carry a personal and creative history of their own; of the people and art who came before in a time gone by.

1. Hello there! My name is Olivia Brearley, I’m 22 and an Illustrator and Print Maker based outside of Leeds in the UK. I paint most of my artwork using good old fashioned ink and paper, but I love transforming my work to prints and textiles through screen print and hopefully soon Riso print.

2. Developing my practice has always been a difficult one for me – and is something I’m still figuring out to this day! My first lightbulb moment probably happened during my dissertation project in my third year of uni, when I interviewed a few different artists about their gorgeous maximalist homes, and how their spaces and objects help influence their practices and reflected who they are. This was also the first time I used black ink to paint a wonky vase, which I loved and then it all kind of went from there! Right now I’m still working on building my drawing confidence, experimenting with different subject matters, getting some prints ready to go and slowly getting there with finding my ‘signature’ style.

3. The main inspiration behind my practice is definitely my love of antiques and sentimental objects. I always have such a rose-tinted imagination of the stories, people and places that might be behind them, and love finding ways to translate these visions into my paintings. Almost as if you’re looking into a moment in time in someone else’s life. One of my favourite places to visit for inspo is a jumble stall at Leeds Market that’s bursting with second hand bric-a-brac and vintage items. I think a lot of it comes from the houses of elderly people who have recently passed, but think I kind of love the idea of how their legacy continues through their belongings (probably a weird thing to say, but we can just call it deep and conceptual for now).

4. Being a creative feminist means the world to me. If it wasn’t for my fellow creative feminists I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am at all today! On my course at uni, I was surrounded by so many other amazing creatives who were always there to pick each other up and support each other when things weren’t going great. Even post university, I’m so lucky I’ve found this still to be true within the Instagram community. I think the true beauty in creative feminism is the feeling that you can celebrate every success as a community, and that with every fall you’ll always have a group of inspiring brothers and sisters ready to pick you back up. It’s a really powerful thing and this is a great place to celebrate it!!

I have absolutely savoured this beautiful interview and each time I read it, I don’t want Olivia’s beautiful story to come to an end. But before it does, I want to pause and reflect on how like so many great artists and collectors such as Henri Matisse and Peggy Guggenheim, Olivia savours and cherishes her inspirational antique finds like special friends who carry their own mysteries and stories. Each piece finds a home within her utterly beautiful artwork. I also want to reflect on the incredibly profound and true belief shared by Olivia that as a community, we creative feminists share in each other’s individual successes. This particularly struck a chord with me as a huge inspiration for this community was to celebrate the successes of my incredibly talented friends and I really believe this sits at the core of creative feminism. Please show Olivia a beautiful and bright welcome to the fem fam by following her page @oliviabrearley and commenting your love below. Thank you for sharing your magical story with us Olivia.

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