Tamsin Spargo

London, United Kingdom

Mediums: Acrylic, fibre art, ink, chalk

Style: Mixed media portraiture

Favorite Quote: “There is no reality but love”

Favorite Book: The Electric Michaelangelo

Favorite Movie: The Wicker Man


tasmin spargo portraiture


I work in mixed media portraiture and fibre art, and my work is concerned with relationships and human experience. I consider these to be universal themes put into the context on my own life and relationships. I use images of people I know so that I can become very involved with the work, and over the last 18 months I’ve been experimenting with weathering the canvas as a synonym for life experience weathering the individual.

Please tell us about your first experience creating.

I remember when I was very young, in playschool, every morning I liked to draw swirls and scribbles all over a piece of paper, and would do this without fail. I like being able to use lots of colours and lines, and becoming very irritated one day when one of my teachers made me draw a “proper” picture of my brother.


What music do you like to have playing while creating art?

I don’t usually play music whilst working, I don’t want to distract myself. I’m more likely to have the TV on in the background.


If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?

I work in customer service for a well known online gift retailer. I don’t enjoy it, I only do it for the money. I also do a lot of work for my friend’s art gallery, promoting and curating shows. I love doing this, even though I don’t get paid.


What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?

I’m continually working to successfully show a sense of closeness between the artist and the subject, a sense of the subject’s experience and history, and to put something of myself into the work. Resolving how to depict this is an ongoing process.


portrait art


Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:

I start with finding an image of someone I know or myself that I want to work with. Sometimes I just see an image that I want to work with, sometimes I decide I want to make work about a particular subject and then find a suitable image of them. I always spend a lot of time making preparatory sketches and drawing as I like to be very comfortable and familiar with the images I use before starting a final canvas. I consider colour quite carefully, sometimes the colour schemes I use have a relevance to the subject. The final canvas always involves a build up of layers and materials.


What things inspire you to create art?

My friends, my life, and my experiences. Work by others inspires me to push what I’m doing and develop my style further.


What exhibitions have you had?

2014    Interior 18 Stanhope Court, London
2013    Free Art Friday Pop Up 358, London
Gallery Launch, Camden Image Gallery, London
The REAL Reality, Vibe Gallery, London
Nes Open Studios, Nes Artist Residency, Skagastrond, Iceland
Showcase Cities February Exhibition, Rich Mix, London
The Sketchbook Project Touring Exhibition, Art House Co-op, Brooklyn, New York
2012    Middlesex University Degree Show, Truman Brewery, London
2011    The Sketchbook Project Touring Exhibition, Art House Co-op, Brooklyn, New York


Have you sold any of your artworks?

In the past I’ve used Etsy to sell work, but I feel that the audience on Etsy is not looking to spend large amounts of money, so I don’t think it’s necessarily the best choice of online shop. I’ve also sold pieces privately, on one occasion to the subject of the painting.


mixed media portraiture


How do you promote your art on the internet?

I have a Facebook page for my work, a Twitter account, and a blog. Social media is a really useful way to reach out to audiences and other artists. I also find websites such as Gumtree useful for promoting my work.


Tell us about influences.

Ghada Amer’s work really influenced me to use embroidery and is really important to me, and I’ve always been inspired by Frida Kahlo’s work because of its honesty and intimacy. Antoni Tapies’s work  inspired me to be experimental with materials and processes; I also love the way he builds up texture and thick layers. I also love Frank Auerbach’s drawings, as this encourages me to be experimental with drawings and portraiture.


Please recommend another artist you admire.

I love Chu Teh-Chun’s work because of the bold and vibrant colours he uses. His work is very expressive and dramatic, and this is something I’d like to bring even more into my own work.


Tell us something interesting in your life.

I love to travel as much as possible, I lived in Finland for a year, and also lived in Iceland for a month as an artist in residence.


Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?

Everyone has embarrassing moments, but I don’t think I’ve ever done anything particularly bad.


If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?

I would not waste time with people who held me back.


What plans do you have for the future of your art?

tasmin spargoI plan to do a masters degree in a couple of years, and want to continue producing, exhibiting, and curating, and hope that eventually I spend more time doing this than doing my day job.


Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?

Keep producing and developing your work, and put your work out there as much as possible, through exhibitions and any other means you can find.


Tamsin Spargo

London, United Kingdom

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