Naomi Stay

Naomi is taking part in our coming Makers and Designers Market at Turner Contemporay on 4th and 5th December.

Describe what you do as a creative.

I’m a painter and illustrator, based in Faversham in Kent. I work in my garden studio and I am inspired by the natural world and wildlife.
I use pencil and inks and also gouache ink to create studies, which I then digitally arrange to form the finished pieces…
My work is detailed and intricate – and often involves quite a slow process! I paint from life and photographs.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I grew up in rural Kent and was encouraged from a young age to paint and be creative. I could often be found bent over my sketchbook as a child, studying beetles or pet guinea pigs… I was one of four kids, so relished time by myself, drawing and writing.
I studied at Kent Institute of Art & Design and then Goldsmiths College in London. After university, I worked in arts publishing and the gallery world, before returning to what I knew best – painting and illustration.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A book illustrator.

What turns on your creativity?

I love being outdoors and seeing the beauty in small things. I love walking my dogs and noticing the changes in the seasons. I’m very inspired by the landscapes and big Kentish skies…
I love selecting and arranging things, design, music and books.

What do you like best about your work?

I like the opportunity of working alone and the peace of painting. Also, I love researching and studying in detail what I am drawing.

When were you most satisfied in your work?

I’m never completely satisfied with my work… But I love seeing children point at my illustrations and exclaiming! Or when they are used as a learning tool.

Describe a memorable response to your work?

A friend’s three year old learnt to identify all the Garden Birds from my collection of illustrated postcards. He has become a bird enthusiast and just loves naming them!

What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?

I have recently moved back to Kent from London (after 20 years in The Smoke), and am really enjoying becoming part of the arts community locally. There is a real sense of support for local artists here and its exciting.

What is your dream project?

To illustrate my own book (an almanac for children). Its a huge project, but something I have started… and intend to finish one day…

Which artists / creative people are your heroes /inspiring figures?

I have too many to list. I love the modernist work of Bruno Munari and a lot of children’s illustrators from my childhood are a big influence, such as John Burningham, Tomie dePaola and Erik Blegvad and the nature studies of Beatrix Potter. Currently, I love the bright and expressive work of young artists, such as George Lloyd Jones or Nettle Grellier and quietness of Bobbye Fermie’s paintings.

Many of my friends are artists, and provide constant inspiration.

Music is also a big influence and I always work to music, Audible or podcasts. I love all music, from folk to hiphop. And books! I love stories.

Your idea of happiness.

Cooking a big supper with my husband and friends and then collapsing on the sofa with our whippets

What art/creativity related book should everyone read?

I think some kid’s picture books are remarkable, and here are just a few I think that everyone should read, whether you’re a child or grownup:

The Shopping Basket by John Burningham
The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Gaston by Kelly diPucchio

Tell us a lesson life has taught you.

Appreciate the small things

Author: nathalieb