Hands up if you’re in the loop about Pop My Mind? If you’re not, listen up! Pop My Mind is an online community aiming to accelerate emerging artists’ careers. They provide exciting opportunities for creatives including exhibitions, online exposure and working alongside big brands in paid commissions, because they want creativity to be a universal language to connect, engage and inspire people. Essentially, it’s about making a collective creative community, which is what we’re all about here at CLiKD!
Anyway, we’ve got some contacts – you know how it is, so we jumped at the chance to chat to Bethany Freer, an avid Pop My Mind user who creates everything from films to sketches, but is currently focusing on non-sculpture art. Here’s what she had to say…
I wanted to find out about where Bethany’s creativity sprung from and so I had the genius idea to start at the beginning. She told me; “it wasn’t until I got to school when I realised the way in which I learnt or how I would take on projects in other academic fields was always in very creative manner.” Now, I’m not an artist (far from it in fact) but I agree. I’d like to think that I have a subtle creative streak and I noticed this as early as primary school, when I tackled homework from more colourful perspective (with lots of bubble writing.)
I love that we’re all inspired by different things, it’s definitely something to celebrate. I asked Bethany what inspires her and she said “absolutely everything and anything. Most of the time I am actually inspired by concepts and theories rather than artwork itself. Also films and music, and the people behind them also inspire me. I love getting hooked on documentaries about people like Bowie or Prince. A good gallery also gets me going, I recommend the Saatchi as it always seems to have some weird but really different stuff!”
I went on to ask Bethany what kills her creativity. She said that it’s more the case of “running out of steam or getting the dreaded “art block” because I have exhausted the themes I am looking at and I’m ready to move onto something new!” Bethany’s top tip for overcoming this? “Chill out, get down to the library or even surf good ol’ Instagram to source creative talent for inspiration.”
Bethany explained that a big difficulty she faces during the creative process is “the frustration of making work to be commercial. From seeing what sells I know what to make, but I find it all very similar and there’s somewhat a loss of individuality and authenticity. The social media audience are mostly attracted to “aesthetic” pieces. I appreciate this work, but I just can’t bring myself to make it! Which is why, in my next few projects, I plan to mock artwork as product, giving in to these “aesthetic” choices. Hopefully, this will attract an audience, but at the same time, make them aware of this “status quo” that the art world has.” An interesting point that I’m sure many creatives struggle with – the balance between making something that you enjoy and making something what will sell must be a hard one to find!
Bethany’s most recent exhibition is called ‘Synthecity’. She told me that “it concerns itself with the function of the utopia, if we still need utopias and what an imaginary world of the future might look like! It was also born out of my own frustration with the popularity of dystopian imagery and literature that is popularised by the media. I wanted to create something of an alternative imaginary world that sits between utopia and dystopia. Something to inspire us to keep thinking of a better future rather than as an escapism. I created my little “City of Tomorrow” using found objects that I picked up on walks around Norwich, assembling them into “aesthetic towers” as I was curious about the fact that plastic will become a rarity in the future.”
I absolutely love the premise of this exhibition. It’s as though she is holding two fingers up to what the media expects artists to create, kudos to her! But Bethany’s creativity does not stop there, she told me that her a bit more about the exhibition as an experience; “My friend Colleen O’Brian also performed music pieces at the viewing, which created this lovely atmosphere of an imaginary world and experience rather than just a model.”
As an appreciator of art, I often wonder how current social and political issues affect the work I’m viewing. I was curious about Bethany’s perspective on whether it’s important for art to contain a social dialogue, as opposed to being purely aesthetic? She said; “I think art should be something you want to make and it doesn’t have to be pressured into being “inspiring” or making somewhat of a political statement – that’s just one of its many uses. If you make art to make you feel good, to heal yourself, or just to explore the possibilities of making, I think these are all very authentic and good reasons to create. That isn’t to say that art isn’t a fantastic social and political statement maker. I think it is one of the key tools in having a voice and saying what is wrong with the world and why we need/want change.”
Wrapping it up
What does the future hold?
All artists have dreams and aspirations, goals and desires. I wanted to know what Bethany would do if she had unlimited time, resources and money. Her answer? “I would take my sketchbook for a long holiday around the world, meeting artists from all over the globe, getting into their heads and their cultures, absorbing the environment and learning new skills.” Knowledge really is the basis of creativity!
To wrap things up, I thought I’d ask Bethany what she hopes the future holds. She told me; “I am quite interested in following the themes of Utopia and art function as concept or product. I can’t wait to see what this produces and how I mess around with materials. I hope I continue to get fantastic opportunities such as this one (thank you so much!!) and, of course, my continuous work with the wonderful Pop My Mind to establish myself as artist and curator!”
Question for the app
We always ask creatives to come up with a question for the app and Bethany had a great one!
- Should art be aesthetic/beautiful or meaningful?
Thanks Bethany – you’ve been great and we absolutely love your work! We wish you all the best in your future creative endeavours.
Photo Credits: Hannah Smith (IG: @hgsmithphotography)
Pop My Mind are currently looking for more lovely creative people to join their community. It’s free to join – the only catch is, all the work that you upload to the website must be new and made in response to another piece of work or opportunity on the site. Simple, eh?
Drop them an email, if you want to know more – firstname.lastname@example.org