Sophie Carpentieri was born in Switzerland but has made her home in Kilcash, Co Tipperary. Her career before art was varied including architecture, a tourist guide and chef.
Tends to always end in the kitchen. But one day maybe I will separate the studio from the home. It’s the comfort of knowing that food and tea are readily available. The kitchen also happens to be warm and bright and airy, ideal conditions to get stuck in for hours. However, like many have experienced lately, working from home demands determined discipline and there is no escape ever.
Was there a seminal moment for you?
It was a gradual change, I believe everyone has an artist inside. Two years ago my friend Sylvie and I decided to hold a casual joint exhibition on a farm near Fethard.
There was a lot of wine, no prices and I remember being a little shocked when someone asked me to buy the pink donkey.
Favourite thing to paint?
Horses over and over again, mostly oil, inspired outside by what surrounds me, and inside, how I feel on the moment I pick up the brushes.
I’m very lucky to have the most amazing view at my door step and a legendary mountain (Slievenamon) right behind me.
What’s your unique selling point?
Nothing and everything. Art is so personal, as it should be. It’s rather impossible to compare artists. We each share a piece of our soul through our artworks. I’m not made in China and you can’t buy me on Amazon.
What has been your career highlight?
I think my first proper exhibition in the Horse Museum (Fethard). The surprise of its success and to see so many people coming to see it!
What is your process?
Lots of procrastination, strong coffee and then try not to lift the paint brush until it is done. I started with acrylics, because it’s cheap and it’s fast. Then I got told off, because acrylics are plastic, hence they feel and look plasticky. This is not necessarily a bad thing, you can achieve amazing effects that way. When you start with oils though, it’s hard to go back.
Oils take forever to dry and they’re costly. Oils are also buttery and rich and earthy. Sounds like some crazy French menu from Bocuse. This is what you get from working in your kitchen too often. In the end, you can’t blame it all on the tools, it’s what you make of them. My process is experimental, sometimes it works, sometimes not. Lately I did a series of paintings on mirrors and rusty metal plates. I ran out of rusty metal plates so I’m back on canvases now. Wood is a beautiful support to paint on. Different materials do affect the way you paint, the way the colours react and how the paint sticks to the support.
Ouch this is getting deep. An old man told me that in life, it’s super important to surround yourself with beautiful things. To make you smile and brighten up your days. I think he was talking about his dog. But I’ll extend this rule to art pieces.
What keeps you awake?
I’d sleep through a tsunami.
What’s a social issue you are passionate about?
Thoughts on social media?
A necessary evil.
How do people access your work?
At the moment, online, which is a problem because when you look on a computer screen or a phone, there is sadly no difference between an original painting and a greeting card. All look identical in size and texture. It’s better to buy originals but I have a wide selection of greeting cards and the quality would be good enough to put into a frame if desired.
Sophie can be contacted on Facebook (sophie.carpentieri.1) and Instagram (@sophiecarpentieri). Prices for her work range from €3 (cards) to €1,800. She also has a website sophiecarpentieri.squarespace.com