Hello my name is Meg Mosley and for me, art is all about communication and I find it hugely rewarding that I can empower others and inspire them to think differently about the everyday.
What is your job?
I’m a freelance artist involving performativity, photography, film and installation.
What does your job involve?
I work to commissions from both art galleries and community arts projects. I give artist’s talks to schools and arts institutions and my work is documented in my online gallery www.megmosley.co.uk I have also supported my art practice by working as a freelance publishing manager at Positive Press Ltd for the last five years.
Celebration and the social diversity of everyday life are the major themes in my art work and I use my skills to investigate how people come together through ritual, rites of passage, social bonding and journeying. I try to inspire participants to open themselves up to becoming a cohesive group through the potentiality of unexpected interactions and adventures, with a strong emphasis on intergenerational work.
How did you get to this point in your career?
It was personal experiences during my MA that emphasised the importance of the celebratory and sense of community that I had always had in my background but hadn’t brought into my art before. I constantly seek out projects that might offer me opportunities to work on interesting ideas and always give each one all my energy and enthusiasm. Much of my work is interactive and investigates how we collect, hold, control and classify our interpersonal experiences from the fragmented ‘small stories’ that we use to define our lives and our place in the world so I can work anywhere and everywhere.
I am now about to start a secondary PGCE in Fine art so I can teach, I’d like to build on this so that I can eventually teach art foundation and BA students. I’d love to then do a practice led PhD so that I can further refine the focus of my work.
What training did you do and where?
I studied at St Martins College for my foundation when I was 18 and went on to get a first class honours in my Fine Art BA at Middlesex, which helped me later apply and win a full AHRC scholarship to do an MA Fine Art at The Slade School of Art in London. I was also lucky to receive artist’s residencies at the Prague School of Film and Photography during my BA, which developed my confidence in photography, and the Norway Cultural Centre after graduating from my BA.
Which piece of work are you most proud of?
My first documentary ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ because the trip was pivotal to my art, giving me the opportunity to chronicle an intensely charged social event using video and photography. As the trip got underway, I found myself feeling that I very much belonged to my grandmother. It paved the way for my interest in the sense of belonging. Since the trip she has become the inspiration for a whole series of artworks. You can see more about this on my documentaries website.
What do you need to succeed in your industry?
Passion to communicate and inspirational mentors who understand what you’re trying to say!
Who’s your work hero / heroine?
I love Sophie Calle for her writing and her work birthday parties, Cindy Sherman for her photography and dressing up, Tracey Emin for her personal stories and Jeremy Deller for the people and their stories in his folk archive.
Closer to home it would have to be my Mum and Nan who have both businesses from their own passions. I have learnt from them that no matter what fascinates you, it’s passion and drive to share that will make you successful. For me, art is all about communication and I find it hugely rewarding that I can empower others and inspire them to think differently about the everyday.
What inspired you to do this type of work?
In my family we celebrate absolutely everything – that’s how we deal with life. I photographed a year of our celebrations with a voice-over. This led me to search out ways in which other people create the stories of their lives and how they open themselves up to become a cohesive group. This artwork is, inevitably, also concerned with how we store and classify our experiences in the apparent safety of our private archive of memories.
What do your family/friends think of the work you do?
My family are very funny and sharp, both bigging me up and bringing me back down to earth to keep me on my toes. I have an excellent boyfriend who is not in the arts but can appreciate its power. My friends appreciate that my art is very much part of my personality. I’m very lucky!
What are your tips for anyone wanting to do your job?
Be passionate…good stuff will happen only when you put it out there…Have good mentors but be your own strength, make up your own rules in your art.
TOP TEN CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS:
1. Charles Saatchi’s Sensation Exhibition of 1997
As a child who believed that everything must be preserved from the precious to the mundane, I believe it was my obsessive habit that made me an artist. The awakening came when at 17 years old I went to the 1997 ‘Sensation’ exhibition in London and saw the work of artists who were communicating all their quirks and obsessions in their art – artists like Tracey Emin and her tent of lovers. From that moment, I was hooked.
2. Friends, Family and Flowers
This was the title of my MA show event – it stands for everything overtly celebratory: Stemming from the idea that when people graduate, and other important rites of passage, there is a coming together of friends and family. This also leads into my love affair with celebrations, carnivals, festivals and anything that offers plenty of kitsch and has a melancholy to it.
Welcome To Our World is a project that documented my transition from researcher to performative artist. I worked with artist Edwina Bridgeman and the service users of a local community centre, exploring ‘home’ with participants with a range of physical disabilities and sensory loss. The role I developed was to elicit the enthusiasm, joy and poise of the people I was working with and to record these qualities through photography and video.
4. Katie Price…
…and anything bad taste chic, everything ‘Chav Couture’ and celebratory – I believe in the fun and flamboyant – especially characters that use this to enhance like my grandmother. Bad taste chic is good fun in my eyes – I’m in love with the mainstream and like occasions that go into overdrive.
5. Photography & talking!
For me, it’s not stand alone photography but a way into people’s stories.
6. Britain’s Got Talent
I feel like these shows have become the Diane Arbus context of our times. They have such tinselly theatricality and demonstrate the demographic diversity in which we live.
7. Joseph Cornell
My aunt took me to an exhibition at Tate Modern and I was mesmerised by his assemblages created from found objects. At this stage I was still busy archiving collected objects as my art and I’m still in love with archives and collections to this day.
I’d probably watch a biography or docudrama about absolutely anyone. I’m nosey and fascinated by people! Nobody is ordinary – all people are fascinating. I also particularly like brilliant storytellers like Stephen Fry and David Attenborough, I could listen to them forever.
9. Small Towns
Many people draw inspiration from cities but I come from a small town where all kinds of strange characters are familiar and accepted.
10. Glastonbury Festival
Music and dancing…cut right to the spirit of things, everyone becomes creative in their dress and community camaraderie.
If you would like to see a preview of my current work on the art of belonging – go to level 2 of my online virtual gallery:
These answers were taken from my artist interview with The Creative Way an online resource sharing how creative people got their jobs, and inspiring young people to take on the world!