Artist-in-Residence Sue Tilley in coversation
We are very pleased to welcome Sue Tilley as our Summer artist-in-residence. Sue will be hosting an evening discussion about her life and work on 18 August. Free entry. Full info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/508516269346170/
Sue Tilley spent her first 6 years in Paddington where she developed her fascination for the under belly of life as she stared out of the window at drunks and prostitutes, she wasn’t quite sure what they were but she knew they were exciting. Her parents them moved the family to the Home Counties as they didn’t think the environment was suitable to bring children up in. She loved art and was always making her mum give her and her sister’s subjects for drawing competitions which she usually won as she was four years older. She got an A in her art A level and went on to train to be an art teacher.
When she left college she went to sign on and they enlisted her to work in the dole office where she stayed for 37 years. However she quickly moved back to London and embraced the underground night life scene, regularly crawling into work with appalling hangovers. She still kept up her interest in art, regularly visiting galleries and going to openings.
Several of the Young British Artists such as Sam Taylor Wood and the Wilson Twins signed on at her dole office. She met Leigh Bowery in a night club who was to become her best friend and a huge influence in her life. After he died in 1993 she wrote his biography which has become a bit of a cult classic. Bowery introduced her to Lucian Freud who painted her 4 times. One painting, ‘Benefit Supervisor Sleeping’ went for over £17,000,000 in 2008 which at the time was a world record for a painting by a living artist sold at auction. Earlier this year ‘Benefit Supervisor Resting’ sold for £36,000,000.
A couple of years ago through a curious string of events Sue started painting again mainly inspired by a Portuguese painter she met called Rui Miguel Leito Ferreira. He encouraged her and through an even stranger strings of events, Sue was offered an exhibition at Formans Smokehouse Gallery by the artist Marty Thornton. At the time, Sue had produced very little work but throughout her life her motto has been to say ‘Yes’ and take opportunities that are offered. This has done her very well and she has lived a rich and varied life so she said ‘Yes’.
She was a little daunted at first but luckily she was offered voluntary redundancy from her job this year and this has enable her to get a studio and to devote herself to producing art. She has never been happier and is eternally grateful to all her friends who have helped her reach this point in her life.
She has upcoming exhibitions at The Queen Adelaide in Bethnal Green and at The Museum of Club Culture in Hull. She has also recently filmed a piece on Nudes in Art for The Art Show, an upcoming TV show.
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Aug . 31 . 2016