Featured Illustrators

Sophia Flegg

February 2014

We chat to the crazy lady behind her brand Smack Bang. Sophia Flegg is based in Newcastle and paints dogs, people, parrots, crosses and abstracts. Her instagram is hilarious ("Sometimes I get really worried that my wardrobe doesn't match my quickly decaying elderly body and then other times I don't give a shit and buy Pomeranian socks and wear them with hideous men's loafers and are sublimely happy.") and her work is equally as interesting! We love her. Get stalking NOW.

What were some of your first creative jobs?

Many moons ago when living in Melbourne I stuffed up my interview at an art school and my application was denied. I have no formal training. I threw it in for a couple of years, but painting and drawing is something I always gravitated towards so after working as a suit for a while, I quit and opened my own gallery through Renew Newcastle. Since then I have curated group exhibits with local and international artists and then had my own solo exhibitions in Newy, Sydney and a couple of places up the coast. The path I have followed up until that point had been pretty disjointed and, for me, so far removed from what I really cared about.  Then one day I thought: just pull your finger out and just do it yourself. So that's what I have been doing ever since.

When did you launch Smack Bang and how would you describe it?

Smack Bang was created from the back of my last gallery; The Woods. The Woods was very clean and streamlined in its display of art, where with Smack Bang, I wanted the entire environment to be a piece of art within itself. The store stocked shirts, art, jewellery and wall hangings all made by me in my traditional bold colours. The store closed not so long ago, because I needed to be in the studio painting more than I needed to be in retail and now, from those two stores, I work solely on commission work while trying to fit in my own paintings for upcoming solo exhibitions.

What do you love about being a creative person in Newcastle?

There is a tidy little underground art scene here that is gaining some momentum and finally seeing the light of day and is being appreciated. We have some pretty groovy art festivals like TiNA Fest and Hit The Bricks. These are so important because it throws contemporary and street art right out there for everyone to see and get the recognition it deserves, then you get more people thinking "hey I wanna do that".. Elliptical. I guess also living in a town that doesn't have the same opportunities as big cities really gives you a strong self motivation and DIY work ethic.

Tell us about your recent solo exhibition?

I've been stupid busy the last couple of months working on commission work and now I'm stinging to just do a solo that is completely selfish. The last solo, "SLAP" was in Sydney at the end of last year and focused a lot on portraits of people and animals with big colour and I have been doing video projections. The next solo I want to get a little more weird and abstract with it, incorporate video and photo and make the whole thing into an experience as opposed to a viewing - I don't want to get boring, you know? I am also curating and participating in an all girl group exhibition in March, which is being organised currently, which is sure to be a doozie.

Which creatives do you look up to in Australia?

Right now off the top of my head: Andy Quilty. David Kurzydlo. Mulga. Kearnsy. Lee McConnell. Mike Watt. Brent Smith. Dave Olteanu.

What are your personal and professional goals for 2014?

Experiment; I want to develop and evolve my style of painting and get real weird with it. My attention span is really small so I tire of things easily so I want to keep it moving. I want to do more video projections. Large scale art works. I want to s tart incorporating photo and paint. I want to design an album cover. Do more skate decks and boards. Learn silversmithing. So many things - I don't know which ones are personal or professional anymore, they kind of all just roll into one.

Instagram: crooked_sophia_club


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