Young artist proves grant's worth
PUBLISHED: 10:29 14 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:29 14 October 2015
Hepzibah McLeod is proof that a little bit of financial assistance at the right time can pave the way for success in the future.
When Hepzibah moved back to the South Hams in 2011 after completing a critical fine art practice degree at the University of Brighton, she did not have enough money to display her work properly at exhibitions to attract any potential buyers.
The South Hams Arts Forum (SHAF) stepped in to support her, with a grant and lots of encouragement, to enable Hepzibah to exhibit her work at that year’s Arts Trail.
The 26-year-old is back this year, the youngest member to be exhibiting her work, using her own home studio in Strete as one of the 15 venues to give art enthusiasts an insight into the work behind the finished pieces.
This is a venue and artist not to be missed. Hepzibah is articulate, acutely intelligent, passionate, challenging but is still a real country girl at heart who is dedicated to her Devon roots.
“Moving to a city was the biggest culture shock in the world. I felt like I had dropped down from Mars! Although I quickly adapted and grew to love student life in Brighton, I found I really wanted to come home (after university). I just really needed to be here.”
Educated at Kingsbridge Community College before completing an arts foundation course at South Devon College, Hepzibah grew up in Beeson. Her countryside upbringing is reflected in her work which largely features animals.
She explained: “We are all just animals. We are here for now, but if we were not here something else would be. I like to use animals as symbols too. My work blurs the distinction between human and animal. I explore this boundary through the visual domain of dreamscapes. The term ‘dream’ for me, umbrellas all domains of our mind space, including those of fantasy and imagination; dreams are the world in which we live our other lives; the lives of our psyche.”
Hepzibah continued: “I love that people seem to absolutely love or hate my work. I want it to be controversial. I want my art to be powerful and challenging.”
Some people have clearly loved her work, as she has sold a number of original pieces at previous Arts Trails, which means she has been able to continue working as a full-time artist. As a result, Hepzibah is grateful for the start SHAF have given to her career.
“I felt ridiculously young that first year of the Arts Trail. Most of the other artists were over 50, but the age gap is irrelevant in such an encouraging and friendly community as SHAF, they’re experienced creative’s that happily took my under their wing, they have been really supportive to me.”
This year’s nine-day Arts Trail, which will run from Saturday, October 17, to Sunday, October 25, will give art lovers the opportunity to see 51 local artists at work in 15 venues.
Brochures with all the details of the venues and the artists are now available from Tourist Information Offices in the area, as well as various libraries, hotels and shops. It can also be downloaded from the SHAF website at www.shaf.org.uk.
More information about Hepzibah can be found at www.hepzibahmcleod.com.