The Others

Meet the Others: Sophie Corks

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

Introducing Sydney-based artist Sophie Corks. A twist of fate aged 17 meant that, when a pad of paper and some watercolour paints were thrust into her arms, art soon filled the newly opened void in her life. Now Sophie is inspired by the city streets she walks and her use of bold colour helps to draw out the unique character of the neighbourhoods she portrays in her work.

Tell us about who you are and what you do. What’s your background?

I’m an artist who absolutely loves colour – wearing it, living in it and painting with lots of it. I also love stories, people and places, these passions and my slightly quirky personality are carried through in my art.

I grew up on a sheep farm in country NSW which was a great way to spend a childhood. Though since finishing school, I’ve lived in the city – and I’ve lived in a few – including Brighton in the UK, Paris and Sydney where I have moved around a lot. My surroundings and the environment I live in is directly reflected in my art. My paintings are of the cities and towns I’ve lived in and travelled to, I use bold colours and warp perspectives to tell a story or evoke an emotion of that place.

Where do you draw inspiration from and what does your work aim to say?

While living in Europe I produced a lot of work, I was constantly drawing and painting, fascinated with the history and culture that surrounded me. However, after coming home from living in Paris, I had a new appreciation for Australian cities and country towns, their stories and architecture. I found I was seeing Sydney with fresh eyes and I wanted to tell stories of Sydney and its villages. Each village thrives with its own personality so in my current series of Sydney paintings, I’ve used bright and bold colours and emphasised the period of architecture to show the character of its urban identities. Such as Paddington’s elegance, Redfern’s edge and the ‘retro feels’ of Bondi.

I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by incredibly strong and beautiful women in my family and friends. I am also lucky in that they sometimes agree to model for me. My series of nudes use soft and bold colours to convey the complexities and strengths of their personalities.

Can you walk us through your process for creating a work?

One of my favourite things about living in cities is that you can walk everywhere – and I love to walk a lot. It helps me get to know a place more than driving or cycling past. I’ll often walk past a place many times before I decide to paint it, then something about it will change and I get excited. I start the process by doing a few quick sketches and taking lots of photos with different angles and perspectives. I will then create a detailed illustration with acrylic ink pens and use bold paints to capture the essence of a place and try to replicate that feeling I had when I wanted to paint it.

Who are your biggest influences and why?

The people who have influenced me and my art most are the women in my life, particularly my sister, mother and grandmother. Colour is a big deal in my family, so much so that my grandmother decided for each of her daughters (3) and granddaughters (6) their own signature colour not long after birth. Mine was sky blue! Boy has this changed over time! Colour can tell a story, evoke emotion and often communicate ideas.

My mother and sister are my biggest supporters and often when I let fear take hold of my creative process, they are on the sidelines cheering me on.

What can people expect from you next?

While 2020 has certainly taken a different direction, I’m enjoying this time encouraged to be in my studio, creating regularly and discovering new angles of my art.

I’d like to continue to depict Australian cities and towns. In my next series I’m going to explore country towns and their ‘main street’, the street that runs through the middle of town, where the stories began. I can’t wait to explore the gold rush towns with their elaborate civic buildings, towns in the outback with their huge verandahs and of course the towns that came to life during the roaring 20s with the art deco building facades.

Can you give us something about yourself people might be surprised to hear?

I was once a serious cricketer!

I lived and breathed sport at school and cricket was my world – right up until I had a serious shoulder injury and needed reconstructive surgery. At the time I was 17 and my world fell apart – who was I without sport? My shoulder never healed well enough to be able to bowl like I could and wasn’t sure what to do with myself. That was when I found art. I went on a school trip to Italy (lucky, I know!) and I was given a pad of paper, pen and watercolour paints – and since then I’ve never looked back!

Shop artwork by Sophie and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.

Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.