Artist Interview - Miguel Sopena

Artist interview between Shannon Skye Robinson and Lois Emma Harkin (Curating Futures Project Coordinator), and Miguel Sopena (Curating Futures Artist).

* Warning, mature content- nudity *

Date of Interview: 20th of December 2021

Participants: Shannon Skye Robinson (SSR) and Lois Emma Harkin (LEH) and Miguel Sopena (MS)

SSR/LEH: What is your background?

MS: I did not go through the Fine Art BA/MA route- After my Foundation I did a two-year, atelier-style diploma in traditional oil painting with a focus on portraiture and the human figure. My interests are very diverse so after graduation I developed an interest in abstraction and my current practice is a combination of both. I work mainly in oil paint at the minute even though I'm curious about and have explored many other techniques, including photography and printmaking.


SSR/LEH: How did you get into art/ creativity?

MS. I had always liked art but I didn't choose Fine Art as a subject when I went to uni. Much later in life I started drawing and painting, which is something I had always been curious about. I was instantly hooked and I decided to do a part-time Foundation in Art and Design- That was the start of my journey.

Artwork produced by Miguel Sopena


SSR/LEH: What do you get out of producing work?

MS: A massive amount of doubts and mixed feelings! If I'm lucky, I may feel pleased with the results, usually much later.

Artwork produced by Miguel Sopena


SSR/LEH: How do you want your work to be perceived by an audience?

MS: My work is essentially about feeling, I think, so my top aspiration is to touch something inside my audience that hopefully connects with their own feelings. When that happens, that's a big payoff for me.

Artwork produced by Miguel Sopena


SSR/LEH: Who are your biggest inspirations?

MS: Too many to count really. I'm quite big on the classics so I could name a lot of past artists, from Velázquez to Marc Chagall, from Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to Robert Rauschenberg. I love looking at other people's work and discovering interesting and inspirational artists, past and present.

Artwork produced by Miguel Sopena


SSR/LEH: What are the main concepts or themes you explore within your work?

MS: It depends- One of my main abstract bodies of work has to do with sensory memories of childhood and adolescence and the lasting influence of the natural world, but other abstract projects have much more to do with colour, composition and the expressivity of materials. Surface and texture are very important in my work as a painter.


SSR/LEH: What is the main thing you have learnt through your creative practice?

MS: Hard question! A big lesson has been to be patient and keep working. Sometimes you have to experiment a lot with a new idea until you begin to produce work which is more considered and has some depth to it.


SSR/LEH: Who is your work for? Yourself? A small community? A specific sector of society? Or is it for everyone?

MS: I have to be happy with (or at least interested in) my own work first, then I can only hope that my work will interest other people. I don't have a specific audience in mind when I create work, to the exclusion of anyone else. I'd like to create work that may appeal to as broad a group of people as possible.

SSR/LEH: What is the best piece of advice you could give to another artist, or someone just starting out in the creative sector?

MS: Like I said, to be patient and humble, and to work a lot. We are all tempted to think we are wonderful when we are starting out. The truth is that creativity can be very hard and very frustrating, and that's before we get to the business of how to achieve recognition in the 'art world'. It's very important to be honest with yourself, but also to hold on to your sense of who you are and what made you want to work creatively in the first place.

SSR/LEH: Why did you decide to join the Curating Futures community?

MS: It sounded like (and I think it is) an interesting attempt to build creative links among a community of committed artists. I was also attracted by the (Im)material project brief as my own work has a lot to do with the materiality of creative media. I can't wait to see how the project develops and what dialogues emerge.


You can find Miguel Sopena via his Instagram