Featured Artist – Heather Tobias
Where do you live?
What is your background?
I left school and went to Drama College; I had the opportunity of Art School but went the drama route. I have worked professionally all my life as an actress.
How did you learn your craft, i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?
I decided later in life to go to Art school and did a foundation art course at Bucks New University, where I went on to get a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art. Originally, I just wanted to do ceramics, but the course had closed down, so I did the fine art route which I am pleased I did because of the diversity.
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I have always been attracted to clay, especially porcelain, however I enjoy using other media, especially inks.
Do you work in multiple media?
Yes, I find it exciting to play and not know the outcome and be surprised by the results.
What does your work aim to say?
I don’t set out with messages however there is a playfulness and directness from my characters which confronts the viewer. I feel a lot of my group figures are seeking answers.
Does your work comment in anyway on current social or political issues?
Not intentionally, but some people have been disturbed by my images.
Who are your biggest influences?
Evelyn Williams, Egon Schiele, early medieval drawings, mythology and recently the Elizabethan miniatures of Nickolas Hilliard.
How have you developed your career?
Making art is my passion and provides me with happiness. I am fortunate to be with a collective of 30 artists and we run the Skylark Galleries at Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank in London. However, during the lockdown everything is in freefall.
How do you seek out opportunities?
I can be a bit lazy when it comes to showing my work and looking for exhibition opportunities but I have exhibited at the Mall Galleries, London SW1
(https://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/) and other exhibitions.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I have generally simply used and gone through the Skylark Galleries. I do also have pieces of my work in Australia, America, Russia, Germany and Spain as a result of buyers who have come into the gallery and taken my work back home to their countries.
How do you price your work?
With difficulty. Sadly, ceramics generally do not attract large prices unless you are in the household name category. I am however fortunate that as a result I do not have to pay large percentages to a gallery.
Which current art world trends are you following?
I don’t think it is a trend as such but my enquiry at the moment is Elizabethan characters.
Do you know where you are heading career-wise?
As I am in my latter years, I want to enjoy the journey. I have been in a competitive work situation (i.e. acting) all my life, so stress is something I now want to avoid.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
Just the same advice I would give to a young actor. Only do this if it is your passion and be prepared to do other jobs to subsidise your art. Good luck!
Where can people see your art? Do you have any exhibitions coming up?
At the moment, with the Skylark Galleries closed, no but we have an online website: https://skylarkgalleries.com
How can readers find out more about you e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc?
My website: heathertobias.co.uk and Instagram: tobiasheather
Please scroll down below to see more of Heather’s fabulous work.