Artist of the Week: Moyra Scott

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This week Brighton Journal spoke to local artist, Moyra Scott. Moyra works in acrylic paint and collage in order to create her layered compositions, which often explore themes such as “identity” and “creative magic”. We discussed how her portrait commissions become a collaborative process that empowers the sitter, as well as Moyra’s love of folk tales and Cindy Sherman’s work. Take a look at her energetic paintings.


What are you doing today?

Marketing my online creative course, “Be Your Own Icon”.


Describe where you do most of your creative work.

I hire Lawrence Art Studio to paint my large paintings and do smaller work at home. In Brighton, of course.


What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?

Painting – the process of creation – is the most exciting to me, though selling my first large painting to a delighted client was amazing. I also really love doing portrait commissions. I have a process called Empowered Portraits, which embeds images and messages into the layers of a portrait, and the sitter is depicted in a way that captures what they truly love in the world. It becomes a collaborative process with the sitter. I love doing these.


What made you decide to become an artist?

I have always been creative, but the decision to become an artist required a shift in identity. It is no small thing to declare to the world that you are an artist.

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What are you currently working on?

I am working on a series of Iconic Portraits of women who have influenced my life. There will be 13 portraits in total – like a coven! They will be made in the same way that I create the Empowered Portraits and will about my relationship with my own personal icons.


What are the key themes in your work?

In terms of process, I work in layers, often intuitively – I like to allow the paintings to emerge. Often this requires many layers of immersion in creative flow, just mark making, with no plan at all. Then suddenly I see where I am heading and the whole thing comes together. In terms of themes I am fascinated by themes of identity and creative magic. I have created a series on the theme of ‘into the woods’ this is inspired by folk lore, where the hero or heroine leaves the village and goes into woods as a metaphor for the unknown. To me pure creativity is where you let go of what you already know. Here you are truly creating, making it up as you go along, in the present moment. To me this space of exploration in unknown territory is where the magic happens, as indeed it does in the folk tales. I really want my art to take people to that space of magic, that cannot be described in words, only in feelings.


What would you like people to notice about your work?

The energy of it. I love it when people tell me how they feel about my work, but can’t quite express it, but there is delight there.


What attracts you to the medium you work in?

I work with acrylic paint and collage. These mediums allow me to work in layers, and fast as they don’t take ages to dry.


What equipment could you not do without?

I am very fond of using my hairdryer to hurry the process of paint drying along!


Who or what inspires you?

I seek the feeling of inspiration itself. This can happen anywhere. I love looking at the sea for example. I love going to art galleries, or reading about artists and how they work. I follow my curiosity and fascination. I loved reading about Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey and his interpretation of folk tales, I read Russian folk tales, I love the notion of the forest, and have been reading the Hidden life of trees. With portraiture I am really inspired by Frida Kahlo and photographer Cindy Sherman. I am fascinated by notions of constructed identity.


How is your work affected by living in this area?

There is an eclectic, alternative, and accepting culture in Brighton. It feels like a town made for artists.


What’s your favourite thing to do locally?

I love to watch the sea. It is so beautiful and powerful and spacious. I feel amazing when I look at the sea.  Other than that, I love drinking fine coffee in one of the several fabulous coffee houses of Brighton.


What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?

It depends on what they are exhibiting! My favourite exhibitions – that spring to mind right now – have been Otto Dix at the Barbican (many years ago), Matisse in Paris, Basquiat, also at the Barbican, Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A.


If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?

Currently it would be Cindy Sherman. I love the playing with identity that she does. So fun.


What’s your favourite colour?

All about the pthalos – but the blue the most. A kind of deep tealy blue colour.


To find out more about Moyra and her work, check out her website and Instagram.


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