Today’s Words of Wisdom artwork comes from Sister Arrow…enjoy!
Describe a bit about yourself and your work?
I do graphic arts / illustration from a home studio in Hampstead, where I get a lot of nice walks and inspiration from the heath at the end of my road. My interests lie mainly in the study of natural history; culture, artefacts, flora & fauna. Along with a bit of quantum physics.
I am really into pipes at the moment, I love ritualistic and personal objects—things that we keep in our pockets and attach meaning to. The combination of materials and actions involved in smoking one fascinates me, along with how the practice evolved in the first place. Also snuff bottles are so enchanting. The idea that people would carry around this ornate vessel and then spoon out some powdered botanicals and snort it, just so wonderfully describes our relationship with nature and how we delight in discovering wild things we can then tame and contain for our own pleasurable purposes. And how having things of our own is very important to us.
What are your words of wisdom and why?
‘Know that life is mystery’. I think if I were to give myself some advice every day I would tell myself this again and again, because I am so often caught in the trap of thinking that I can work out everything, control life and make it all perfect. Then I get mad at myself when this turns out to not be true. It’s hard to reconcile the contradiction between science being able to explain how almost everything in our physical universe works to the minutest mathematical detail, with there being so much about the human experience that cannot be easily deciphered or predicted. I try to philosophise daily and imagine what I am doing from a distant viewpoint in the cosmos—it calms me knowing I am just this tiny insignificant thing in comparison. You really can’t know everything and it would be boring if we did. The mystery is the bestest bit.
Who is your role-model?
There’s not a specific one, but the following incredible people are a handful of those who have helped inspire the wavering vision I have of what I want to do and be; Louise Bourgeois, Beatrice Wood, Henri Matisse, Tracey Emin, Cornelia Parker, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Miró, Rachel Ruysch, Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, Eduardo Paolozzi, Miranda July, Auguste Racinet, Kathleen Hale, Hayao Miyasaki, Tove Jansson, Jan Švankmajer, Jeannette Winterson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Björk, Joni Mitchell, Jane Goodall, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Maria Sybilla Merian, Elizabeth Blackwell (the botanist). The way they have lived their lives is as important to me as what they have created.
I have got a new print in progress tentatively called ‘Norway House’ and am close to finishing the 2nd instalment in my sci-fi storybook series, Physis. I’m also very excited to be working on a project called Jiggling Atoms with the Institute of Physics run by Camberwell Press. Can’t wait to learn more about particles and make some interesting visual response.