Pictures to Make You Smile!
Who doesn't love a fairy tale?
Heidi Rhodes is a contemporary textile Artist based in Brighton who creates works of art that take us to that dreamy place of fairies and childhood stories..
After graduating from Chelsea Art College with a BA(hons) in textile design specialising in weave Ishe discovered machine embroidery and found her perfect media.
Heidi loves to draw and drawing using the sewing machine adds that special extra dimension. Using techniques, she has developed over the years, which involve an experimental use of thread, Heidi produce Textile pieces with a fairy-tale quality. Inspired by the magic of childhood, this is the filter through which the artist produces her work.
Heidi likes to mix fairy tales with iconic scenes, such as Brighton Pier and The Houses of Parliament, and there is often an element of humour to be found in her work.
Collections she has produced are, Brighton Bathers, The Naughty Fairies' 'The Pageant' 'The Olympics', The Poppies at the tower and most recently 'Star Wars in Stitch'.
Heidi likes the challenge of recording magical events in stitch, a sort of textile journalism/illustration and enjoys surprising people with unusual and eclectic mixes of story characters in her pictures.
We asked some questions to our lovely artist, so we can find out a little more about her.
Art5: Where do you live?
Art5: How many years have you been with ART5? How did your relationship with ART5 start; we contacted you or vice versa?
Art5: contacted me a few years ago. It's a very happy gallery to sell through and we were particularly well looked after through lockdown.
Art5: What would you call your style of art?
Painting and drawing with thread.
Art5: Did you study Art or are you self-taught? What did you study?
I studied Woven Textiles at Chelsea Art College and Illustration at Brighton University. But as far as embroidery goes, I am self-taught.
Art5: Is painting a full-time job or do you do another thing? If you also do something else, what is it?
I am an artist full time.
Art5: Have you always been an artist?
I think you are born an artist. I have had several other jobs predominantly in social services, mental health, and teaching art, but that was before.
Art5: What are your hobbies?
I have just started painting again, but I love walking and reading. My favourite thing at the moment is blackberry picking, I find it very therapeutic and you can make a pie!
Art5: Where do you create your art?
I make my pictures in my gallery, in my flat and at my parents’, I am a bit of a gypsy at the moment.
Art5: What mediums do you work with?
Fabric and thread.
Art5: Professionally, what is your goal?
To push myself as an artist and evolve, and to be true to myself as an artist.
Art5: Does personal history work its way into your practice?
I love fairy tales and recognise their importance in our lives, that’s why they appear so often in my work. I had a pretty magical childhood and I think that shows in my work. I also like to reflect historical events in my work, such as the Olympics, the pageant, Royal weddings, the Poppies at the Tower and very currently Covid 19. The fairy tales wear masks and distance in some of my new pieces.
Art5: How might who you are be reflected in your current work?
I think my current Covid pieces show this.
Art5: What are you presently inspired by— are there particular things you are reading, listening to, or looking at to fuel your work?
I will continue with my Covid fairy-tale pieces, life reflects art, art reflects life. Also, I have been photographing the Pavilion to make a new collection of work inspired by it.
Art5: How has your style changed over the years?
My work is less collaged and more using the sewing machine as a tool to draw. I also make more use of loose threads in my images to add movement and energy
Art5: What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?
Balance. Knowing when to stop and risking doing what you think is right as opposed to what you think you should do.
Art5: What makes you laugh?
My partner Stephen.
Art5: What is art for you?
A way to reflect life, a form of communicating what you see, of saying “look, life is beautiful”.
Art5: Three things in your bucket list.
I don’t really have one, but I would love to rent a studio in Paris, walk the streets and photograph it and make a collection of work It would be magical
Art5: Where is your favourite place in the world?
It changes all the time.
Art5: Who are your favourite artists?
I am a big Grayson Perry fan. I also love Chagall, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and animation artists like Peter Firmin.
Art5: What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Don't rest on your laurels!
Art5: What is the best part about creating art?
Knowing you have spent your day well. Making people happy. I also find being creative very calming.
Art5:What is indispensable in your art studio?
My sewing machine and my hoops.
Art5: What is your favourite website?
Art5: How would your best friends describe you?
Funny, kind, hardworking, very family minded, chaotic.
Art5: What do you worry about and why?
Since Covid I have stopped worrying about lots of things. I’m just wanting us all to get through this time with big lessons learnt and my friends and family well and into a better world.
Art5: How do you define success?
Success is defined in lots of ways, knowing people have a picture on their wall that they love, that I have made, feels good.
Art5:: What does family mean to you?
Art5: Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My parents, relentlessly hard workers but have had lots of fun and adventures too!
Art5: Your favourite book or author?
My book on fairy artists.
Art5: What is your favourite food?
Art5: What is the most interesting thing about you?
Art5: What are you the most grateful for?
Kindness of friends. I have been very blessed with this.
Art5: What words of wisdom would you pass unto your childhood self?
Appreciate what you have. If you look hard enough you usually have what you need. Slow down. Less is more.
Art5: How do you want to be remembered?
Through my work
Art5: Do you have pets? What are they?
No pets at mo.
Art5: What is your fondest childhood memory?
Being with my grandma and grandad.
Art5: What music do you listen to? Do you paint with music?
I like most music, but when I work I listen to story books. My favourite song is Wonderland by Alexander Wolfe, it describes the same world as my pictures.
Art5: What makes you cry?
Art5: What is “home” to you?
Where I feel content.
Art5: What motivates you to succeed?
To make the most of a life given to me. "The challenge in life is to be yourself in a world trying to make you like everyone else."
Art5: In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
Art5: Favourite or most inspirational place in Brighton?
The Palace Pier lit up at night.
Art5: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
If you are sad when someone dies, honour them by making the most of your life.
Art5: Name something you love, and why.
I love my car because it’s done 180000 miles and is still going!