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Mimi Zouch: Becoming an artist

For abstract artist Mimi Zouch it wasn’t until her mid-30s that the seeds were sown for her to leave a career in law to finally pursue her true calling of being a professional artist. Here Mimi shares her story..

Can you tell us your backstory and how you got into the art world?

My late grandpa was an oil painter and his studio was a treasure trove that fascinated and excited me when I was young. That foundation of excitement for art grew more as I learnt, I too, was creative.

 I studied art at school, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I started to paint and draw again as a means of escape and meditation. I completed a life drawing course at Kingston University and felt a real desire to pursue my art, but with a career in law and a business in the events world taking off, it wasn’t the right time.

A decade later at 35, I had a chance meeting with then-LA-based artist and production designer Braden Coucher here in London – he sewed the seed that I needed to follow my artistic passion.

A few months on, I made a follow-up trip to the US which ended with an affirming and uplifting conversation with San Francisco-based sculptor Brian Goggin. I was finally able to recognise myself as an artist and progress with my journey and practice as a painter.

Since then, I haven’t looked back and am fully immersed in all that the art world has to offer.

How would you describe your signature style and technique?

I have two quite distinct styles, but the one I’m more well known for is my geometric flows. These pieces are almost always on paper or wooden boards – I have a particular weakness for handmade cotton rag papers and wood with distinctive grains.  Nine times out of ten the colour palette is determined first. I mix my own colours and only occasionally use a colour straight from the tube, this allows me to get a set of colours that can sing together in the finished piece.

I sketch out my designs using drafting tools allowing the design to grow and develop as I go. I rarely map out the whole flow in advance, unless a design has flashed into my head, in which case I quickly get it out and onto paper. 

Then the fun begins with the painting – I mainly use acrylics or graphite pigments and it’s all done freehand so requires quite a lot of focus and a bucket of patience.

Can you tell us more your latest work? Where do you find inspiration or who inspires your work?

Most of the time I’m inspired by nature and the sky, and light and shadow interactions. More recently I have also found myself being inspired by conversations with friends and peers and my desire to then display my thoughts through my art.

My latest works are Expectations and Expectations II.

The first represents the role of women as child bearers and faces the philosophy that giving birth to a child is a woman’s legacy. If a woman doesn’t want or cannot have children what will be her legacy?

This was a progression from my piece ‘Don’t Blame Me For Your Thoughts’ which is the first of my geometric representations of a vulva, and was inspired by the theme ‘Legacy’ for an upcoming group show.

The second piece evolved along the same theme and represents breastfeeding and passing on immunity from mother to child.  Breastfeeding is portrayed as a beautiful thing, but so often the reality for many new mothers can be a vast departure from this experience. I particularly like allowing the viewer to make their own narrative when considering each one – is the beauty realistic or just the expectation?

These recent geometric creations have led to enjoyable, thought-provoking conversations about the representation of human anatomy and experience through simple shapes and pretty colours. Many people have felt shy to outwardly identify a vulva, or say the word, through further encouraging conversation most will later admit it is the first thing that came into their mind!

What is the best advice you received as an artist?

I have had so many amazing bits of advice as an artist so it’s hard to pinpoint just one! But I’d say the advice that has served me best is to trust in the evolution of my practice and work through creating daily, and not focus on the time it takes to become a ‘successful’ artist. I’m not in a rush as have the rest of my life as an artist, and this mindset has allowed me to enjoy the creative process without all the pressure.

Are there any exhibitions or events you are planning?

The next show I am part of is the ArtCan group show ‘Legacy’ at The Crypt Gallery in Kings Cross, London from 5-12thSeptember, which is sponsored and curated by Suna Interior Design. There will be over 70 artists contributing works and is set to be a magical show.

I am planning my first solo show due to launch the next 6-12 months so watch this space!

Please visit Mimi Zouch website for more information: mimizouch.com

READ ANOTHER ARTIST STORY HERE.

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