THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: Unknown Errors + Sheila MacNeill

Hi Sheila! What was your starting point for exploring the theme of What Do People Make of Glasgow?
When I found out about the exhibition, I immediately wanted to be part of it as a large part of my artwork is inspired by Glasgow’s changing urban landscape, particularly the regeneration work that has been happening around the Forth and Clyde canal over the past few years.

Can you walk us through your creative process?
My creative process starts with walking. My work is rooted in landscape so immersing myself within a landscape and wandering around gives me a sense and understanding of place. This sense of place is what I want my work to convey. I want to engage people in a dialogue with my imagery, about where and what this place is and what it means.

How did your artistic journey start?
My artistic journey has been quite long and winding! Although I wanted to go to art school after leaving school, various things happened that made that not possible so I took a different career route, ending up as a university lecturer. About 5 years ago I really wanted to make a change to have a better life/work balance so I took the plunge, gave up my job to work freelance and to pursue my artistic journey

How has your practice changed over time?
My practice is always evolving and I love to experiment with different techniques and materials. For example last year I discovered eco-printing so I am now printing with leaves and flowers gathered from the canal side and then drawing over them to create landscapes. My work oscillates between quite representational pieces to more abstract work. The piece in the show is an example of my more abstract work.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
I usually overcome creative blocks by going for a walk, or just by having a cup of tea and letting my mind wander. If work isn’t coming together then I find it’s best to leave it, have a cup of tea and do something else instead. Inspiration comes in so many ways and sometimes just doing something else can stimulate your brain again around what you want to do with your work.

Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love? 
I have so many influences and love so many artists. I am constantly inspired by others. However, just now one of my favourite artists is Laura Oldfield Ford. Her approach to explore and representing urban environments is totally inspiring.

What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
Believe in yourself and your work. Find other artists and connect with them and love what you do.

Find Sheila on Instagram. Unknown Errors runs at Six Foot Gallery until 19th September 2023.

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