New Blood Art

Carefully curated artwork by outstanding emerging artists...

23rd Jan 2013

Window into the world of Theresa Reilly-Cooper

1. How and when do you start the day?

I get up at 7 ready to go to work. Until I can afford to stop, I work 9-5 in a solicitors and then illustrate in the evenings and weekends. I usually race around in the morning, walk up a painfully steep hill to work and then have a couple of teas before getting my breakfast around half 10 in the office.

2. Tell us about your studio or working space.

My working space currently consists of an A1 wooden drawing board and a super minimal pencil case. I usually park myself wherever I feel comfortable that day, sometimes, bed, sometimes table, sometimes garden. I am shy about working in front of others so it always has to be somewhere quiet. However, I have just paid a deposit for my very first studio in a lovely old warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester. From the first of february I will actually have a dedicated working space so it will be interesting to see how it affects my work!

3. Where do you find your inspiration?

I get most of my inspiration from fashion and photography and people I see in the street. I see everyone and everything in terms of how they would translate on paper. I also love fabrics and textures, I enjoy the challenge of rendering them in pencil so that usually makes me want to get drawing right away. I am also quite competitive so seeing other artists doing good work usually inspires me.

4. Where do you go to re-charge when you are feeling uninspired?

If I’m not feeling inspired I usually head for the kettle and take a break away from my drawing. I can waste hours just staring at a picture and getting nowhere and I end up so frustrated by it. I also speak to my boyfriend who is a graphic designer. He is a good motivator and his constant energy about his own design work usually rubs off on me and shames me into picking up my pencils again!

5. What can’t you get through the day without?

Tea and butties keep me (and my waistband) going!

6. How do you know when an artwork is finished?

Usually I find it hard to tell when a drawing is finished. I can keep going back to it for days and add bits to it. Fortunately I have a few people who I can rely on to give me an honest opinion on my work. I find it hard to leave alone though and can ruin a drawing by overworking it.

7. Do you feel an emotional attachment to your work? How do you feel about selling a piece and letting it go?

Some artworks are emotional. For example, my father passed away before christmas and I found drawing really therapeutic. I did all my thinking whilst finishing a drawing I was doing for a friend. It’s now finished and I am proud of it as a drawing but it is also testament to how much of a comfort my art was at such a painful time. Other times certain illustrations are turning points in my technique and I can see myself improving. It’s sometimes sad to part with them but it is also a very proud moment when someone feels strongly enough about something you have made to buy it.

8. Can you remember when you realised you were an artist? Describe the moment if possible.

I realized I was an artist at university when I spent 2 years refusing to be pushed into children’s illustration. After 2 years of rebelling I was able to write my own brief for my final year and I made it everything I wanted it to be. It made up for 2 years of rubbish work and I was very proud of it all-even more so when it got me invited on to New Blood and consequently sold!! I’ve trusted my instinct a lot since then. Also, on showing my dad one of my final year drawings (leather jacket in sold section) he thought it was a photo. I guess I must have been doing something right!

9. When are you happiest?

I am happiest sat on my own in slouchy clothes, with a cup of tea, at my drawing board, listening to music. I never draw without music on. Always on earphones though, as my drawing time is conveniently the time I indulge in my secret love of pop music.

10. How and when do you end the day?

I finish the day with a half hour walk then to bed with a cup of tea (again!) and my boyfriend to watch some tv before getting some sleep.



2 Responses


21st Feb 2013

Congratulations on the new studio – hope you’re enjoying the space. Have you moved in? How did it go? Loved reading the window into your world.


01st Apr 2013

Hi Lucy, I have moved in to the space today!! Going to do a new post now all about it. It’s been fab.

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