Interview by Becky

What are your interests and hobbies – what do you like discussing and doing?

When you say interests and hobbies it perhaps separates life into what you do for a living (money) and what you actually enjoy doing. I am in the very fortunate position of waking up every morning and doing what I am interested in and what could be considered my hobby/passion. Simply, I create visions in my head and then I make them out of new and original things and then show them to people. That is what makes me tick and, now I am earning money out of it, what more could I ask?

Do you enjoy meeting new people? Is it easy for you to have a conversation with a complete stranger? I love it. I can’t get enough of talking to new people and learning about them, what they do, where they’ve been and maybe trying to help them if I can.

What are your religious/spiritual views? I consider myself to be a very spiritual person. I try to be as tolerant and patient as I can with people and to show kindness and love but, more often than not, I am in my own world. For example, when I am creating artwork, the very important things in life get overlooked. However, some of my work has been labelled ‘religious’. For example, ‘Followed’ in exhibition. To quote the journalist upon viewing the piece of art, ‘Misselbrook’s work has a certain silence to it particularly evident in ‘Followed’; skeletal vertebrae morph into a pair of cupped hands as though waiting for absolution. This piece has a certain timeless quality as though we are viewing the evolution of our species from skeletal remains to moulded skin with all its vulnerability. The realisation that this piece is actually made from chocolate moulded onto stainless steel frame adds a touch of dry humour to a work that at first appears almost religious in tone. The smooth, pale chocolate echoes the marble statues of saints, and becomes particularly poignant from a female perspective when balanced with our less than saint like relationship with chocolate.’ This artwork attempts to comment on the quests we embark upon or the disciplined routines we follow (perhaps religion is one of these) and whether it actually gets us anywhere or whether in fact we end up losing sight of where we. Perhaps then, these are merely constructs within which we are easily controlled and dominated. I do tend to distance myself the term ‘religion’ as I feel it immediately categorises or pigeon holes an individual. I believe this ultimately creates barriers of understanding and communication. Saying this, I still acknowledge the very human need to ‘belong’ and that ‘having faith’ can be a strength to people.

What are your political views? Do you support any particular party? What are your political ideals?
Again, perhaps another construct in which we exist passively (although are led to believe that our vote can be productive). I am an idealist (perhaps a socialist) and am proud of the NHS system whereby the very poorest people are entitled to free health care. I was appalled at the negative criticism in the press recently, when we should consider ourselves lucky to live in a country where this is available. I worry that there is an elitist minority which is growing ever further away from the person on the street and this is in itself creating a great deal of animosity and envy resulting in theft and abuse. Despondency doesn’t get us anywhere though and, having just read that Eddie Izzard will sometime in the future run for parliament, there is hope as his stand up comedy is perhaps the most inspiring political debate I have witnessed. I did not vote in the last election as I was out of the country and I find it difficult when the choice of main parties is so limited and blinkered. I intend to vote next time though as this right should not go unasserted.

What do you expect out of a friendship? How do you spend time with people you are friends with? Do you feel more comfortable on your own or with others? I lived in another country for 2 years and during this time some existing friends visited me. Perhaps it was the fact they were removed from their everyday existence but it seemed to be more quality time together. I get very frustrated with the work life/social life divide in this country whereby weekends become this fraction of time to try to ‘fit everyone in’ so I have ‘opted out’ so to speak! As I work for myself, I have the luxury of creating my own timetable and, perhaps ironically work longer hours than my friends, but don’t share their need to regularly see each other. Six months can go by and then I will spend some quality time with friends and really listen to what is going on in their lives. Sadly, my expectations of friends aren’t particularly great, as I hate being let down.

Have you ever suffered from a mental problem like an anxiety disorder, Bipolar disorder, chronic depression and etcetera? I do suffer from anxiety and at times I think this helps me. I believe that the connection between body and mind, the physical and the psychological, has been lost. Reconnecting this through using the body to build, create or simply run is how my art practice can rebalance the equation for me.

Do you keep to a strict schedule? Do you prefer to stick to a routine or take things at your own pace? Do you feel at all distressed if your routine is disrupted? As I have previously mentioned I have the luxury of creating my own timetable. This is so important when creating artwork, as fitting ‘being creative’ into a 9-5 schedule is impossible. Taking things at my own pace (although that pace is ridiculously fast) is what I prefer although sometimes I welcome disruptions and you never know what you might miss.

What’s more important to you, feelings or thoughts?
This question follows on from the previous one about connecting body and mind. I am an incredibly sensitive person and I will be the first to admit that at times I really cannot control my feelings. Making artwork channels these feelings positively and the pieces of work become my visual response to something that may have really angry and aggressive or made me feel completely disheartened. The piece of artwork, for me, works to channel that response. My thoughts are equally important as I use my imagination and conceptual thought process to either attempt to visualise something totally unique or to try to solve a construction or problem.

Do you prefer to take control of a situation or do you prefer other people to be in charge? This is where I would quote a really cheesy CV by saying, ‘I am a natural leader’. But what I would mean is I prefer to be in charge. I know I can motivate other people, and have done in my teaching, as well as injecting enthusiasm into a situation or connecting with people through making artwork. This excitement and creativity can lead a group of people to achieve fantastic things.

Are you okay with being in a messy environment or do you prefer everything to be organised? I have an area for both moods. My studio is always messy which allows me the freedom to create. To play with clay, plaster, silicone and concrete which is a major part of my art practice. On the other hand, I have a very clean, organised and dry working area with my laptop and extremely up to date paperwork. This fulfils both parts of my psyche, I guess, and I can choose which space to be in.

Do you like yourself? Are you happy with your physical appearance? Do you give much thought to self-improvement? In this country all around me is what I, as a woman, should look like or aspire to. Perhaps when I was younger I turned this in on myself and tried to improve to fulfil this ideal. However, I see now that this is a negative control on the individual and only sets us on a disciplined quest, which is both completely unattainable and unreal. The physicality of my body is now either a canvas for my work, a life model for my drawings and paintings or simply as a workhorse for lifting, building and creating so I try to keep it healthy for these purposes.

What past events have shaped you? Does the aftermath of any past event still affect you? Every day has shaped me and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Ok, there have been obvious positive and negative events but I consider myself to be very lucky. I tend to look forward, particularly as I am constantly thinking up new pieces of artwork so the ‘what can I achieve today and tomorrow’ shapes me more.

What are your goals and ideals for the future? What do you want out of life? Do you ever want children, why or why not? I am presently setting up an ‘art residency’ in an incredible rural environment, which I believe offers the space, light and time to feel and create without pressure. This is where I see myself making artwork in the future and perhaps this is where I could see myself bringing a child into the world. I am certain that there are existing pressures within this society to ‘do this’ by a certain age but that just doesn’t interest me.

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