NUMBER #3 - MEETING A FINE ARTIST - OSKA LAPPIN 1 Comment
I'm excited to share with you my 3rd interview focussing in on creatives living in my seaside town, St Leonards on Sea, and this time the person "sitting" for me is Oska Lappin: a force of nature, and in my mind she's a heady mix of Grace Kelly's easy charm and elegance with a wicked wit, creative funny bone and an expressive painter's brush that slips between recounting a Hogarthian Den and a Disney dystopia. She deftly melds woodcuts, oil painting, etching, ceramics and drawing into energetic, often bawdy and thought-provoking pieces. She was also recently seen plunging into no less than 108 Solstice Day yogic Sun Salutations on the recently reopened Pier. Oh, and she RUNS.
Take a moment to grab a coffee and read my interview with Oska below:
1. How long have you lived on the coast and why do you like it?
I spent my ‘Formative’ years on the beaches of Maine in New England, then went to Art school in Philadelphia and bought a one way ticket to London fell in love and had my daughter shortly after…. During a month of sizzling weather in Hoxton circa 97’ I asked my husband if there were any beaches we could take a short train ride to besides Brighton as I felt it was more urban than I wanted so we caught the train to Hastings! It was August, azure sea, music on the beach the water was warm, so we swam, ate fish and chips, drank yummy cold beer, I was like a fish in water and cried on the hot train back to the city. One year later we sold our flat and raised our wonderful daughter by the coast. The only problem living somewhere you love and makes you happy, is the time passes so quickly; I’ve lived here 17 years!
2. Briefly describe the route you took from student to where you are now in your professional life. / How did you start your professional practice?
I declared myself an artist at 15, dropped out of art school in Philly, moved to London and started painting and sculpting, eventually went back to study printmaking at Brighton and got my M.A from Camberwell a few years ago…. I’ve always been a practicing artist, sometimes its tough as a narrative based expressionist,my work comes out of what influences me and what I encounter. I love living in St Leonards where the dichotomy is so varied and rich with characters, but this doesn't always make for commercial success…. luckily I don’t do what I do to get rich…
OSKA ADDING PENCIL AND CRAYON TO HER LATEST PIECES
3. Do you have a typical day, and what's it like?I’m a long distance runner so I wake up early knock the run out of the way, walk my dog to my studio and punch in my metaphorical time card…. I work solid until sometimes my hand is frozen into a drawing claw and I look at the time in shock and horror as it can sometimes say half four and I haven’t stopped for that cup of tea I was about to make 5 hours ago! I work until 7pm or so walk the dog home make dinner hit the couch cream-crackered with a drink and whack on the telly. I need to watch a lot of movies for my work.
PEONIES BLOUSE FROTHILY ON THE TABLE SET FOR TEA BY THE WINDOW -
EVERY SURFACE, INCLUDING THE HOT WATER SYSTEM BECOMES A GALLERY SPACE
OSKA BUILDS HER CLAY ONTO PRE EXISTING ANIMALS AND THEN TELLS HER STORY WITH CERAMIC FIGURINES AND HER SIGNATURE WOODEN BLOCKED PAINTINGS
4. What inspires you?
Music is essential to my work as I work within the narrative.I like songs that have a little story… Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave are probably my core 3-5 minute lyric heroes…
SOME OF THE NEW WORK SHOWING THE ANTICS OF POODLE LADY
5. Are you working on a particular project or scheme right now? Please describe it and if you're having a show/exhibition/work deadline
I've just finished my work for a local show at the Rye Art Gallery with Gary Goodman….the new series I’ve made for this show is called ‘Supergirls on Holiday’ and includes titles like ‘Super Swede ability; to make everything a bit Bergman’ and ‘My own Personal Superhero ability; To Touch Faith’
OSKA WORKING ON HER LATEST PIECE SHE HAS SEVERAL DIFFERENT AREAS FOR WORK WITHIN HER TOP FLOOR STUDIO - THE UPRIGHT BOARDS SHOWN HERE, A DESK WITH OVERFLOWING TUBS OF ENTICING COLLAGE MATERIALS AND ASSORTED SURFACES TO WORK ON HER WOODCUTS AND CLAY
6. What's the best thing about being self-employed?
Making my own day up is the best thing about being self-employed if it’s lunchtime and a warm day I can grab my bikini and hit the beach….
THE NARRATIVE STYLE OF OSKA'S WORK OOZES A HEADY COMBINATION OF BAWDY AND COMIC, HER BRUSHSTROKES AND MARK-MAKING BOLD, SELF-ASSURED AND CONFIDENT.I SOMETIMES LOOK AT THEM AS IF THEY HAD BEEN CREATED 400 YEARS AGO - THEY SEEM BOTH ARCHAIC AND THOROUGHLY MODERN AT THE SAME MOMENT.
7. Do you already own a St Leonards product, if so, describe what is it and why it suits your lifestyle - and if you don't own a piece yet, choose a piece from the collection and say why it would be your dream bag!
OK. I have to say as a slightly disorganised artist I’ve always had trouble finding stuff in my bags (I usually arrive at my front door searching for keys in a massive freak out) but now I have my ‘Lucky’ utilitarian super stylish dreambag (The Van der Rohe in Cinder black) .It's worn across the body and goes over the shoulder. It's very simple, easy to use in a black soft leather with a chunky fringe tassel. My life has changed for the better. The cool thing about the bag is it looks bohemian and professional at the same time…I love taking it abroad its one compartment design fits all my documents inside with lipsticks, keys, and all-purpose junk, and my husband loves it too aesthetically and practically because now he doesn't get blamed for losing the stuff that’s already in my bag…
THE VAN DER ROHE AT HOME IN THE STUDIO WITH MAJOR FERGUSSON ON GUARD
THE MOUNTAIN OF OIL PAINTS MID-WAY THROUGH A PROJECT
8. How can we see your work?
My show opens in Rye Gallery, Rye, East Sussex on the 18th June and runs until the 17th July so please make a day of it and get over there.
And I will also be doing a car art boot art fair outside the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings organised by the Bricklane Crew on The Stade,Saturday the 16th of July 12-4 at the Stade…. it’s going to be awesome!
If you'd like to arrange to view Oska's work at her studio or find out where else she's exhibiting in the future, please contact the artist directly on: email@example.com