This artist I found in the same facebook group as my first “victim”. Please read how her life changed quite dramatically last year during the pandemic year of 2020. Britain was (and is) hard hit by the virus. Let me present Elyshia:
Me: A warm, hearty “-Hello!”. Please introduce yourself to my readers, who are you and what kind of art/tecnique do you prefer/use? Where were you born and where do you now live? etc…
Elyshia: Well hello, I’m Elyshia Matthews an artist from Oxfordshire UK but currently living in Devon UK with my 10 year old son. I am a 31 year old first year student doing a BA degree in illustration in Plymouth. Up until summer 2020 I was a health care assistant at Torbay hospital.
I love water colour and inks. But I am keenly learning digital arts.
Me: Do you think it is important to have a message, something to tell with your art?
If so, what do you prefer, political or personal messages (external or internal we could call it)?
Elyshia: Honestly I think its important for our existence to have some sort of message whether personal or political whether you are creative or not. I do believe in our creative community using arts to push important political narratives and working against darker colder money making type media and propaganda. I recently made an illustration supporting and thanking our nhs and my former colleagues working through the pandemic.
But alot of my work is more personal, I love the female form, dancers, freedom, beauty. I am a huge fan of Christina Drejenstams work. Honestly Im still finding my voice and how to tell my message because I have lot of story to tell. I’ve led a colourful life for only 31. But yes I do think its important, it feeds your passion and drive.
Me: How was 2020 as an artist, for you personally?
Well thats a fabulous question, I had really let my art and creative outlet go, picking up and putting it down intermittently through the last couple of years prior to 2020. I worked full-time in a busy hospital, and I’m a single parent so there were not enough hours in the day. And I was kind of crawling through everyday life.
Then the pandemic hit. I was sent to work on a covid ward for 12 hour shifts but my son couldn’t be at school for 12hours a day and we were not allowed to use childcare in our first lockdown in the UK. For the first couple of months I desperately tried to make it work but I couldn’t do it. And I had to leave my job, I started painting everyday all day. Sharing my work through Facebook and videos on tiktok. While just working part time at a hardware store, I sold a few pieces hap hazardly through tiktok but I felt like I didnt know what I was doing. And then the light bulb went off ‘can I go back to university?’ After alot of paper work and figuring out the logistics I became a full time student again. It has been amazing! I feel like my whole world has got bigger and brighter. I’m learning so much and meeting other artists, finding places like this to network. And I started and Instagram which seems to be going really well.
So to answer your question 2020 was a new beginning for me personally. And I’m just finding my feet again. My son is happier than he’s ever been with me home more, and he loves the arts too. So financially I’m no closer to being a millionaire but I feel like I’ve taken the first steps to being part of a community I once looked at from afar with absolute admiration. Its incredible.
Me: Have you ever showed your art in a physical art exhibition and do you think that’s important?
Elyshia: Years ago I used to paint children’s furniture and go to craft fairs with my work, thats as close as I’ve really gotten so far. I will be doing exhibitions through my degree though. I don’t have enough experience yet to comment. Just that its terrifying and exciting.
Me: What are your philosophy when it come to pricing your artworks?
Elyshia: I don’t really have one yet, I’m very much still learning.
Me: Do you have any tips you can/want to share or recommend when it come to selling and/or marketing your art?
Elyshia: This is really strange but I’ve sold quite a few pieces through tiktok of all places! It might not work for everyone but I just put time-lapse videos of my work and people have just shown interest from there. I’ve also just started looking into society6. But again I’m probably not the right person to ask. Ask me again in a year haha.
Me: Do you read (books) and If so what was the latest book you read?
Elyshia: I used to read alot but the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve ended up reading comics. I am obsessed with the saga series by fiona staples and Brian k Vaughan. I even have a tattoo of one of the characters on my forearm. No one ever knows who it is though! Ha
Me: Favourite Tv-series and favourite movie(s)?
Elyshia: I recently watched my octopus teacher on Netflix, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. If you haven’t seen it you must! Its phenomenal. I also love the shows fleabag and killing eve. Favourite movie is probably pulp fiction or 28 days later.
Me: What is your favourite kind of music and which group/band do you love the most (right now)? (You can choose more than one.)
Elyshia: I have super broad music taste, I love a little of everything but right now my top played artists on Spotify are highly suspect (the lead singer ‘terrible Johnny’ is SO sexy) Grandson, professor Green and Ashnikko.
Me: Do you consider yourself religious, If so wich faith do you betong to? …and/or do you consider yourself to be “spiritual”? (feel free to elaborate!)
Elyshia: Nope I’m definitely not religious. Neither is my family. But I’m not atheist, I’m agnostic I’m open minded but I don’t like organised religion, I think its alot about money and control. Makes me feel icky. But hopefully we go somewhere cool when we die, like a different dimension. I’d like to become a rick and mortar character when I die.
Me: Do you “believe” in the presence of UFO’s here on earth and If so, why or why not?
Elyshia: I’m open to it, I feel like we only know what we are told by people with lots of money, so who knows they could be hiding anything! I do really believe that we are not alone in the universe. I just think we can’t be the only planet with intelligent life. How boring would that be, no way. Plus I like sci-fi movies.
Me: Besides from creating art, what hobbies and/or interests do you have (If any)?
Elyshia: For a long time art was the hobby so now its flipped around and art is my primary I’m finding things again. Comics, podcasts, music, occasionally dating lol. I live near the beach so I tried paddle boarding this year, I was terrible at it. But mainly I spend time with my son when I’m not creating. Or I help out my parents when I can as they foster children.
Me: Are you a professional artist or is it at a “hobby” level?
Elyshia: I would say I’m currently making the move from hobby to professional through university and social media. Or at least I’m trying.
Me: What would you ask yourself If you were the interviewer? (If you have more than one question, go ahead, ask and answer a few If you like😃!)
Elyshia: I would ask do I regret anything so far in life.
And my answer is Ive spent a huge chunk of my life regretting things and hating myself through drug addiction as a teenager to working 70 hours a week when I should have been home more with my son in my 20s. However this year I have learnt I don’t think I have many real regrets at all, because I think I’m right where I am supposed to be right now. And I like what all the mistakes have created in me.
Me: Thank you for your time. If interested to buy or just view, where can I find you and your art?
Elyshia: Mostly right now its my instagram artistic_bush_fire. I do have a website but it needs work.Thank you so much for your questions, its been therapeutic 💕
Me: You´re welcome and Thank You very much for your time. It was fun and interesting and also very moving, you´ve had a tough year and a tough life. Good to hear that things seem to go better now, that you have “found your place” and live a more harmonious life so to speak. I hope you´ll have a really good 2021!
Below are examples of a few of Elyshia Matthews amazing artwork.