Abigail White's Interview on Artworks 3
I am Abigail White. I am the Director of Artworks3 and am forming this company to work for artists to make this somewhat elitist industry more accessible to the people. I have experience in many projects and through my travelling and experience in life can see the ability and potential to construct art from any materials and in any setting. I have had my own difficulties with anxiety which have inspired me to become a strong woman and develop this company, leading to me finding strength in creativity; the therapeutic ability of creation is something that can be hard to articulate, but is nonetheless accessible to all, even with the attendant difficulties of obtaining funding and also of the politics within this industry. Regardless of individual ability, I know from personal experience that art is something that can help many disadvantaged or excluded people, and therefore cherish the opportunities I now have to work to develop this for all.
Who are you?
I am a postgraduate in BA (Hons) Animation Arts and hold a PGCE at level 7 for post compulsory education and training. I am from Plymouth and I grew up in Efford, where I have always been part of the community. I am 27 years old and work hard to help people who are trying to develop their personal and professional artistic lives.
Why did you choose this company?
I chose to create Artworks 3 on the basis of my passionate desire to help others recognise their potential via their art, and create a hub for artists working in various arenas and genres, where they can connect with others through networking, collaboration and workshops. I wanted to make a business in Plymouth as it is my home city and I wished to stay close to my geographical and cultural roots: through my own struggles to be recognised as an artist, I believed that my experience and vision could help prevent others struggling in the same way.
What inspired you as an artist?
From an early age I would draw people; I would create characters and voice them, in a similar fashion to other children playing with dolls. I loved animation in film: Ray Harryhausen monsters inspired me greatly, and when I first saw Clash of the Titans and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad I knew I wanted to create life through animating my creations. I was quite a melancholy child, liking gothic stories and literature and of course film; black and white movies and Tim Burton films were amongst my favourites. The deranged, unnatural and surreal aspects of his movies sculpted and inspired my interest in the experimental animations I produced at college and university.
What projects have you been involved in until this point?
I have been involved in many things up until now, starting in my teenage years where I worked with Granby Island Community Centre in Devonport on a range of community events and art based workshops. I was also commissioned as a director for their National Lottery funded Family Learning Integrated Project (FLIP project) which initiated my idea of making a production company, this was to help procure funding for Granby Island Community Centre before it was closed down in 2011. I have also worked with Magic Carpet in Exeter, a charity that inspires personal growth and well being through creative arts. I have also volunteered in the (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) RAMM Exeter as an Image Editor for online archives. I have previous experience of setting up a business: in 2011 I started a small handcraft business called The Spirit Forge, where I had a stall at events and festivals, selling and promoting my handcrafted Wiccan goods and jewellery. A couple of years later I reinvented my handcraft business as Le Petit Chat Noir, continuing to trade under this name until I dissolved the business in early 2014. Finally, I have worked with Animated Exeter an annual event that I have worked with consistently well during the years 2010 till 2012.
How do you anticipate this company will develop and into what?
I want this to grow into a family of artists, where friendships are formed, and to grow this company in the hope that it will become a larger, more well-known and successful organisation. Once developed, I want to get people involved to allow anyone to develop it and add their own personal touches making it more of a conceptual community than merely a controlled business. I believe that whatever people add to it will help it grow. This is important as it will make it unique and special, which is how I would like the business to be seen by the wider community, maybe hopefully in the next few years even “dipping toes” in international waters, becoming at least Europe wide, if not a global company helping artists around the world. My dream is to travel with artists and locate and assist struggling international artists. I have chosen this business for political reasons as there is a lack of funding available for art in the UK and grossly underinvested by funding and opportunities by our current government. As I view creativity as integral to health and well-being in life, because I believe that our cultural existence is in ART, however it is determined by the art establishment and elites of the country.
What projects do you hope to set up?
I’ll be focused on animation and art based workshops, but I would also cherish the opportunity to develop and produce workshops in art therapy, bringing in visiting specialists, artists, lecturers etc. The company is also looking to help other people facilitate workshops, through self-employed schemes offered to people who want to get their names and work known.
What things do you like to do outside work?
I have a wide variety of interests such as travelling (I have visited India where I was inspired by exploring the cultural and artistic history); I am also interested in cooking, foremost as it provides a new way to create something from very few resources which I really enjoy. This might sound frivolous but I like to quote film lines, which can be funny with friends, bringing humour to life. I also adore the countryside: camping, walking and exploring. I love science too as new discoveries are always being made that shape our future and I find that amazing. Finally, gaming is one of my favourite ways to relax and just escape the world for some 'me time'.
What art inspires you?
There are so many different things: I guess history inspires me, from ancient civilisations to forgotten legends; aspects of mythology and the world’s cultures influence my creativity. Some of my favourite artists include the influential animators Ray Harryhausen and Jan Swankmajer, whose work is inspirational to me. I am enamored by the romantic works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millias, Elizabeth Siddal et al., whose work I find really appealing and containing such history that it is truly beautiful. The works of Leonardo Da Vinci, from an anatomical point of view, helped me with my observations of the world around me. He also assisted my imagination, because of the creator he was - inventor of his century. I am also inspired by literature in various genres, especially Anne Rice's chronicles, but my current favourite book has to be my most recent find Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', a book so quotable I can’t resist scripting it to other people. I also love Carl Sagan who really inspires me to be a better artist, person and human. I find listening to the zen Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts is a really great way to meditate, and to develop and refine my creative process.
Where are your favourite places to go and why?
That’s difficult! I love so many places - I guess locally I would choose Mount Edgecumbe Cornwall, blessed as it is with both the moors and the sea. I’m really fortunate to be able to walk around this beautiful estate. I love their Orangery and Orange Gardens: in fact I appreciate anything old with history and forests. I love Dartmoor's Shaugh Priory; it's very beautiful with fast running water and low hanging canopy trees, which makes me feel connected to nature. I’ve always loved living by the sea and am lucky that I have always had it in my sight; I would feel lost if I lived inland. I adore the Tors and Cornwall. I am lucky that I was able to spend my twenty-first birthday in Vagator, Goa, India: it’s a beautiful place and has become a great memory - I guess for me it is more of a moment as it became my favourite place at that moment in time, and is irreplaceable and unrepeatable, just like a frame or scene in one of my favourite films.