Artfinder Meets: Freya Goodwin

by Poppy Rooney

In the latest post of our 'Artfinder Meets’ series, we meet new graduate of Falmouth University Freya Goodwin, whose huge sculptures have definitely caught our eye. They are everything graduate work should be…. ambitious and experimental! Freya welds steel, hand stitches fabrics and is certainly one to watch!

We found out what Freya had to say…

On becoming an artist

“As a child I was definitely encouraged to engage in drawing and building things like robots out of recycled materials. My father would drop anything to draw and make things with my younger brother and I.

I have always been interested in art; and in school and college I focused on these classes most, but I did not agree with how art was taught at my school, and realising this made me want to pursue art.

I became an artist because of my father, growing up around all of his achievements made me want to achieve. Although my father is no longer an artist, he is still constantly making things and checking that I am focused.

Art school changed how I thought about making art, and who I was making it for. In the beginning you are making it for your tutors and by the end you realise that you’re making it for yourself… and in your own way.

You leave art school taking what they say as advice and opinions, and with the ability to mould it into something that suits your way of thinking and making.”

'The Swing' by Freya Goodwin

On being an artist

“I think admitting to yourself that you are an artist is a hard thing! This may be a generalisation, but I found it hard to find what I liked doing and what my practice was. I began with drawing, then switched to printmaking for a year and then switched to sculpture and all things 3D in my third year. Until reaching my final year... I just didn’t feel that I wasn’t ready for it. So when I discovered that I could make sculptures, my ideas translated so well and I really started to feel what it is to be an artist… and actually like your own work!

I guess I would describe myself as a sculptor, but even that feels too prescriptive because I use so many ways of making! I heavily use textiles in my work and it feel as though I have managed to find a perfect balance between the harshness of welding steel and the domesticity of textiles and hand embroidery.

The majority of my sculptures are half designed and the rest I just make up along the way.

I work by thinking about my memories and using these thoughts to blind draw. I then use these blind drawings to translate abstract lines and shapes.”

On the studio

“I have created the majority of my work in my beautiful studio on Falmouth’s campus. I shared what would have been a living room in an old 5 story Victorian house, complete with dumbwaiter with other art students! I also had a spare room next to this, so me and my studio partner (Finbar Conran) could spread out. Finbar is a hoarder, and we both did lots of testing and building prototypes… so the set-up was perfect for us.”

Freya using the offset press in the print studio at Falmouth University
Freya’s work in process: applying ripstop material, muslin and satin to metal structure
An early photograph taken of Freya’s studio space, during her final year

On inspiration

“My father, my friends, my family and my grandmother are always great inspirations. Friends who continue to make art - even though they wouldn’t consider themselves artists - are always an inspiration too!

I grew up in Manchester in Moss Side, which is considered a rough part of the city, but my childhood was great and there was always so much to do. This has had an impact on who I am today, and features heavily in my current work.

I also love to regularly look at blogs such as 'BOOOOOOOM!' for new artists. I think it is important to see what else is being made in the world. Studying in Cornwall (as beautiful as it is and as lucky as I am) can be quite stunting at times, because I don’t take direct inspiration from the landscape. My main place of cultivation is my memory. I start with a drawing from a random memory and then blow this up to create my subject matter.”

'Wings’' by Freya Goodwin
Detail of 'Wings’' by Freya Goodwin

On challenges

“Becoming an artist is a challenge itself. The worry of whether you are good enough will always be there, but if you start first and foremost by making work that you (and then your audience) like, you will be fine. I always go through creative blocks; I am struggling at the moment as I have just finished my degree and have no money to rent a studio yet, so I have to work every day, squeezing in time to see my friends and sleep. When this unfortunate mental block occurs I read and do research on artists that I like and usually this sparks a few ideas. Reading in general tends to help, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.”

Freya testing out fabrics in her Falmouth studio

On other artists

“I enjoy looking at a range of artists, and since I started as a printmaker I take a lot of colour and shape inspiration from screen prints and the detail of etchings. I love the abstract expressionists Yayoi Kusama, John Baldessari and Pippilotti Rist. I also love to take photographs, and these feature a lot in my work so I look to photographers and artists that combine these elements. My housemates are all artists as well: Lulu Richards Cottell, Daisy Martin and Tanny Cruz and her collective, ‘Keiken Collective’ are brilliant.”

'Barton' by Freya Goodwin

On role models

“Without sounding corny, my role models are my mum and dad. They met at art school, and all their stories and work that I have seen over years are exactly how I want the rest of my life to be… At the same time my grandmother as well, for still making art into her 80’s! But also my friends, for being completely honest with me when a piece is or isn’t working.”

On life

“I currently live in Falmouth in Cornwall, but my family live in Devon. I soon will be moving to Bristol and will be on the look-out for a studio! I am inspired by a philosophy I was once told: 'You should only give away work that you don’t want to part with, because this work means so much to you that the person you give it to knows that you really care about them.”

'Berlin' by Freya Goodwin

On graduating

“I feel happy about graduating and am ready to move on and start a new chapter now that I am more confident about my work. My final year was exciting, stressful, eventful and lots of fun. I was very lucky to have lovely people to share a studio with right from the first year at Falmouth... yet sad that I will never have a studio as amazing as the one I am used to!”

On the future

“My biggest ambition is to continue making work, and to always want to make work. I have recently had an exhibition in London at ' The Underdog Gallery'; 20 students from my course were selected to exhibit there. I currently don’t have anything in the pipeline, I would just like to get enough steady money to afford a study and continue to make work with the hope that some my friends will be doing the same in Bristol. Finding Artfinder is great - the exposure is brilliant, and everything is so quick! You can find so much art so quickly and connect with so many like-minded people. ”

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