A Manx Artist in London

Lucy Savage Artist
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Lucy Savage is a Manx artist living and working in London City. She has a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and is currently completing a drawing bursary at The Mall Galleries whilst running her artistic practice at 401 1/2 Studios

After university, Lucy moved back to the island to complete an internship at Isle Contemporary where she gained insight into the commercial art world and had the opportunity to exhibit. Eventually, she moved back to London where she is also an Administrative Assistant for Webb Yates Engineers which is a multidisciplinary design practice in Shoreditch.

Lucy in her studio space. Image: @lucysavageart

Lucy received funding from the Isle of Man Arts Council to enable her to rent studio space at the prestigious 401 1/2 Studios in Wandsworth, London. We caught up with Lucy to see how she's been getting on in the new space.

Q. How would you describe your work?

"I explore many styles and mediums but my work is always about the body as I've drawn the figure since I was young. I started life classes at University College Isle of Man as soon as I was of-age and 8 Years later I've established an instinctive relationship with the line which I use to explore themes of anatomy. Studying 3D Fine Art at Central Saint Martins really influenced the way I think about space and the presence of an object. My work became more abstract as I made installations using materials like horse mane, sheep’s wool and human hair.

Now I’m completing a yearlong bursary at The Mall Galleries drawing is my main focus for the first time in many years and it's been very freeing. I’m enjoying developing my technique at Hesketh Hubbard classes and producing lots of work from those sessions which I take back to my studio to either develop on or use to inform further works."

Q. Where do you gather inspiration from?

"London is an amazing resource and I regularly go to exhibitions and artist talks. I recently saw Approaching Abstraction at Blain Southern Gallery where Galia Eibenschutz is showing a series of gestural pastel drawings made from her performances. I’m performing in a live drawing event at The Mall Galleries in the summer (dates TBC) so this was great inspiration for that."

Q. You mentioned that you’re working full time while you run your artistic practice. How do you manage to juggle your work, life and art?

"Like most things you just kind of dive into it and figure out the best routine to accommodate your work along the way. I try to stay organised and manage my time as best I can - working as an admin assistant improves my ability to do this. I work in the day at Webb Yates and my studio in the evenings. It’s hard work but definitely a labour of love."

401 ½ Studios was founded in 1971. See the full list of notable past artists here. Image: 401studios.org.

Q. 401 ½ Studios has a rich history dating back to 1971 and has been described as ‘the first of its kind’. What can you tell us about the values and ethos of the studio and what drew you to have a studio space there?

"I viewed a few studios before I applied to 401 and none other stood out for me as much. After I interviewed with 401's director Michael Haynes I knew my practice would fit in well. I loved the diversity of disciplines as there are so many types of makers working here. It feels very professional which is also encouraging. We have a studio technician Julian who helps us all and a gallery on Wandsworth Road which exhibits work by the artists.

Interestingly, it’s also an 18th century building maintaining many original features which makes for a very charming and eccentric place to work!"

Follow @401studioslondon on Instagram.

Cobalt Triplets
The Cobalt Triplets by Lucy Savage

Q. You described the studio in an Instagram post as ‘an institution that has housed incredible practices such as that of David Hockney and Mo Jupp’. How does it feel to work in an environment with a rich history of artists who’ve shared the same space?

"Amazing! The calibre of artists working here is very high and I feel lucky to be a part of that. There are people working for The National Theatre and The Royal Academy. It’s incredible that 401 can accommodate for so many different types of practices under one roof. We have jewellery, ceramics, upholstery, painting, contemporary fine art and even writers."

Follow @lucysavageart on Instagram. 

Q. In what ways do you feel this opportunity is going to positively impact your work?

"Having a studio allows me to work at a scale I’m comfortable with. I love having space to visualise, make and exhibit as it really improves the quality of my work."

Q. You’ve told us that you’ll be sharing the space with fellow artist, Andre Silva. Tell us more about why sharing your working space with him will be so beneficial to you?

"Andre is very hands on with exhibitions which encourages me to do the same. We discuss artists and ideas as we work, it’s great to have someone to ask for advice. His work is very clean and minimalist, employing what he describes as a ‘single gesture’. Having always been motivated by the line, a single gesture in itself, I’m excited to see what his practice will motivate in mine."

Lucy is a one-third recipient of the Hubbard Hesketh Bursary alongside Jonathon Farningham and Bartholomew Beal. They share regular updates via their Instagram page @heskethhubbardbursary.

Q. What advice can you give to anyone reading this who is looking to make a living as an artist?

"Just to keep the hard work up! When an opportunity arises big or small give it everything you've got as you never know what it could lead to. It sounds cheesy but I use this advice in everything I do and it pays off."

Q. What’s next for you – do you have any exciting projects you’re working on or launching soon?

"Yes! I will be exhibiting in The Hesketh Hubbard Society Exhibition at The Mall Galleries in August, I have an open studios event at 401 1/2 Studios in October and as I mentioned before I'm participating in two live drawing events with The Mall Galleries in the summer and autumn. You can keep informed about all of this via my art instagram @lucysavageart. Myself and my fellow HH Bursary residents (Jonathon Farningham and Bartholomew Beal) are also planning our own group exhibition together which you can keep informed about via our instagram @heskethhubbardbursary. In my studio I’m working on a series of drawings with an amazingly talented ballerina from The Royal Opera House!"

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Isle of Man Government
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Isle of man Government