“Fisk seems to have carved out a bit of a niche,” says Brighton-based Sophy Hollington, a beloved contributor to It’s Nice That over the years who recently worked with the Portland-based gallery. This niche, the illustrator goes on to describe, sees Fisk pick up on overly talented practitioners such as Sophy – “who work commercially and rarely get to call themselves artists” – shining light on their work from an exhibition perspective.
Fisk’s relationship with Sophy began in January this year, reaching out with the possibility to work on an exhibition together. Aside from concepts and subjects, one goal was established: to blow up Sophy’s highly intricate works, made via the painstaking process of lino, to a larger scale.
Over the months leading up to an exhibition in June, the illustrator and artist “was really overwhelmed by how much care and attention to detail went in to the display of the work,” as well as “their tenacity when it came to figuring out how to make my work translate to a larger scale.” Rather than instruct Sophy to triple her work load in order to create larger pieces, Fisk worked with the artist to implement the industrial process of CNC, a digital drill “that can cut depths (unlike a laser) and in effect mimic my lino blocks at a much larger scale.” These giant versions of Sophy’s works were then laid thick with ink as usual, quite literally carving out a new path for Sophy’s work to explore.
In terms of subject matter for the show, titled Subliminal Mineral, Sophy became fascinated with alchemical symbolism, creating a body of work exploring “the power of images to manifest/manipulate realities,” she tells us. Beginning this exploration with a tarot deck she illustrated for Rough Trade Books last year, it became clear to the illustrator “that so much of what we deem to be occult imagery is taken from this really complex system of pictorial symbols by alchemists in their texts to at once communicate their ideas and processes, but also shroud them in a layer of secrecy… protecting them from the layman.”
Channeling this approach while making the works, the resulting pieces see Sophy adopt “this old-world attitude to imagery” combining it with her very own personal mythology, “attempting to manifest a new reality for myself,” she says. “There’s a really intense spiritual element to spiritual/physical manifestation and imbued with a power all of their own.”
Covered in symbolism and detail, these new pieces to the untrained eye will appear similar to Sophy’s back catalogue. Zoom in, however, and viewers will be able to identify new techniques and messages to interpret too.
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