Artist of the Month: Minty Sainsbury

New year, new art! We are delighted to introduce January’s Artist of the Month, Minty Sainsbury.

Minty studied architecture at the University of Cambridge graduating top of her year in 2013 and went on to work in a London architectural practice. Here she discovered that the drawing board no longer has a place in the modern architectural office, so she returned to the pencil with the intention of keeping the art of architectural drawing alive.

Her background in architecture has not only influenced her choice of subject matter but also her style of drawing. She spent years designing floor plans and positioning windows on modern facades and you can see this understanding of spatial design expressed in the compositions of her drawings.

Minty’s work has been a fantastic addition to the ARTIQ roster with her intricate pencil drawings capturing the imagination of a number of our most prestigious hospitality clients. We sat down with Minty to find out more about her work. Read the interview in full below.

1. What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
Last year I heard about an artist called Thomas Jones who travelled to Italy and made really beautiful paintings of everyday scenes so I went to the National Gallery to track down some of these pictures. These pictures were painted in the 18th century and show an insight into the urban landscape in Italy at this time. My favourite piece shows a wall in Naples with one window from a front on perspective, and the wall is crumbling and has washing hanging out and it’s just a really simple minimalist composition. Lots of the pictures I draw are of grand expensive buildings and seeing these pictures reminds me that you can make beautiful artwork from any style of architecture.

2. How does material/medium inform your practice?

Working with pencil allows me to work very precisely and in great detail. If I were to try and recreate my picture with paint I think I would find it really hard to work to the same level of detail. Also I really enjoy drawing just in black and white as this forces me to concentrate on the light and shadows in my work. When colour is removed from a picture the tonal contrast created by light is really accentuated.

3. What is the most memorable piece of art you have produced?
Probably the most memorable piece is the facade of the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna. Firstly because it is the longest piece I have ever worked on but secondly because it was the first piece in which I deliberately cropped the piece so instead of showing the whole form of the Basilica I focused on the detail. By looking at the facade in this way the viewer is forced to notice the difference between the textured patterned brickwork and the smooth marble. If you are given the whole building it is very easy to identify it from it’s shape so I like that this piece takes a little longer to recognise and is most often done so by people who know it really well.

4. Has any place or environment affected your work?
In the last couple of months I started a series of drawings of Venice. Initially when I drew a canal view I was treating it in the same way I would treat a street view by outlining the context and only drawing one building in the picture. However when it came to drawing Venice the canals are such a defining element of what makes Venice so unique. In the last month I tried a new idea of drawing the reflections in the water which gives a hint of the contextual buildings.

5. What do you do in your spare time?
I love walking in cities and in the countryside, it’s a great way to get to know a city especially a place like London as there is so much to see. Planning and researching European trips and just generally researching European history is a real time filler for me. I can actually loose hours of my life reading about the history an obscure Polish castle! I’ve been attempting (emphasis on ‘attempting’) to learn Italian which I try and do a bit of everyday. I’m such a fan of Italian architecture and just Italy in general that I’m determined to keep trying. To help learn the language I got into listening to the Italian music charts and now have really niche knowledge of Italian pop and have recently been to some artists playing live. My poor Instagram followers had to endure way too many videos I shared from those concerts!

Most weekends I try and go to a different museum or gallery if I’m in London. If I can find someone who is also a podcast listener I love debriefing on a favourite podcast, and I get through a lot as I listen to them everyday as I work.

Fancy an exclusive peek behind the scenes of what makes an artist tick? Follow ARTIQ on ARTIQgram 29th January – 1st February to see Minty’s Instagram artist takeover!