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Artists

Miriam Stayte

Sheffield, UK

If I’d been born a generation later, I’d probably have become a video game designer.  

As a little girl on the autistic spectrum (although I didn’t know it back then) I spent hours drawing, reading, dreaming up fictional places and making up stories with myself as the protagonist. My internal world was an idealised natural landscape populated by birds, horses, forests . . . a place where the real and imaginary mesh and create something altogether new and unique. 

This idea continues to be central to my work. As an adult, it has developed into a fascination with the meaning and symbolism of landscape, and with natural cycles of growth and decay. I also get a huge amount of pleasure from the purely sensory aspects of nature – colour, light, shape, sound.  

As a young artist in the 80’s I made paper photomontages. Digital technology has enabled me to extend this  approach into completely new territory, and now all my work is created by digitally combining drawing,  photography, video and other media.  

My working process is very intuitive. I start with a general idea of the type of imagery I want to work with  and then create the constituent parts, focusing in turn on drawing, photography and so on. Combining them into the final works involves adding, editing, rearranging and discarding elements until each piece feels right. This way of working helps to blur the boundary between real and imagined as well as enabling me to integrate quite disparate material into a coherent whole. 

Although I work digitally, I think like a painter, making decisions about colour and composition in the same way that a painter might. The art I’m inspired by is usually immersive in some way: Monet’s massive waterlilies;  Julie Mehretu’s multi-layered paintings; the video installations of Pipilotti Rist.  

I grew up in London and took a degree in Fine Art. After art college I worked a variety of jobs while raising a family, before training as a landscape architect. Following a decade in design and project management I came back to my visual art practice and now work from my studio in Sheffield, UK.

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