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Interview with Jemima Murphy

1 / What kind of music do you listen to in the studio, if any?

I always listen to music, very loudly, when I work. It helps me to free up my gestures and to move around the canvas without thinking too much which is so important for my work. I listen to all types of music though from old country like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to Birdy. The music always changes and influences the pace and mood of the work- I often dance when I work too which often comes through in some of the larger scale pieces.

2 / What do you think the hardest thing about making work is?

A color called stil de grain, which is a very old pigment, not much in use since the 18th century. It’s a transparent yellow, full of grit and warmth and personality. And it’s made from buckthorn berries! The paint is notoriously fugitive, meaning it fades quickly with time, but its transience only adds to its beauty.

3 / What was school like? Did you like other subjects?

I loved my school- I went to Godolphin and Latimer in Hammersmith. My fondest memories are definitely in the art rooms - it had and still has an amazing art department and I definitely owe a lot to the teachers there. I spent hours there after school painting everyday! My other favourite subject was Russian, which I actually went on to study at Bristol University and then lived in St Petersburg for a year when I was 21!

4 / What advice would you give to artists who are struggling to find their unique voice and style?

I would say don’t be afraid to make mistakes or take risks - and do what you want, not what other people want!

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