Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?
I think like most people art was just my favorite thing to do inside and outside of school, that one consistent thing I always made time and space for and never stopped making. I was born and grew up in California but moved to England around 10 years old as that's where my family is from. I've flip-flopped between them a bit over the past decade, moving back to California in 2011 for college and then to the UK in 2019. I'm currently in London studying for my MFA.
What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?
I transferred between two colleges when studying for my undergraduate degree, both had kind of Bauhaus-style approaches to creative learning, teaching us multiple disciplines before requiring you to choose one to focus on. Going in I was pretty attached to painting but thought I should push myself into design and sculpture to see if I could hack those as I hadn't had much or any experience with them before. I ultimately came out with a greater desire to paint but had learnt a lot of important technical skills that benefit my studio practice continuously. At the moment I am using sculpture, mainly ceramic, and photography as painting aids; creating objects specifically for them to have reciprocal relationships with paintings and vise versa.
What ideas interested you in the beginning of your practice, which ideas have you continued to explore, and where have they led you?
I think the biggest is just the idea of pictoral space, creating visually impossible scenarios, landscapes and objects that could never exist in reality but can in 2D. That's led me to making sculptures of my drawings and then painting from those sculptures, like still lifes, looping back between real, solid objects and their representations.
Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?
Recently I've been finding inspiration from authors such as Angela Carter and Gabriel García Márquez, artists such as Joan Brown, Lubaina Himid and Betty Woodman and directors like Yasujiro Ozu. I've been researching Magic Realism since beginning my MFA and drawing many parallels and influences from it's discourse within my own working process.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think I am mostly inspired by other painters as paintings are what I spend most of my time looking at and working on, it's a first point of call for guidance in the studio. I try to keep myself open to anything and everything though. After other artists it's usually literature that I get a lot of inspiration from, usually something escapist and uncanny.
Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?
I returned to drawing while doing a residency at PADA Studios in Barreiro, Portugal this year. While there I had begun drawing out a composition on canvas for a large painting but shortly after starting I decided to keep going with the charcoal tonally to see where it led me rather than paint in my forms, keeping it all in charcoal. I've found this return to drawing has opened up exciting challenges and possibilities within my practice that I hadn't anticipated. I'm working on another large canvas drawing in my studio right now and trying not to get charcoal dust everywhere!
How did it begin? and how did it evolve?
It's evolving into a feedback loop with my paintings. I have used parts of the current drawing I am working on as a studies for paintings in oil and acrylic and even small sculptures in air-dry clay. I see these drawings as large sketchbook pages almost.
What were important lessons in the process that you’ve carried forward with you?
Slowing down was a big one. I tend to rush into painting and end up reworking/painting over areas multiple times. The charcoal works on canvas have forced me to slow down and be more precise and thoughtful in my mark making as once the charcoal is on the canvas it's very difficult to eraser completely, you have to commit to the mark or figure out creative ways to rework them into the composition.
What are you working on now?
My big projects at the moment are another large scale charcoal on canvas and a large shaped triptych made up of two arched canvases and a regular stretcher between them.
If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?
Stop worrying so much, just keep making!
About the Artist
Based in London, UK
Sophie Lourdes Knight is a multidisciplinary artist from California, USA. She received a BFA in Painting & Drawing from California College of the Arts in 2014. She currently lives and works in London, UK where she is an MFA candidate at the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work has recently been shown in solo exhibitions at Zevitas Marcus in Los Angeles, CA, Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, MA, as well as group exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London and the San Jose Museum of Contemporary Art, CA. She is a 2019 and 2020 Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation awardee.