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Becky Ciesielski Sheffield Artist

Becky Ciesielski

Becky Ciesielski Sheffield Artist

Becky Ciesielski Sheffield Artist… And here we have the work and thoughts of our latest fellow creative Sheffielder, Becky Ciesielski.

We are currently designing Becky’s website where you will be able to view and buy her work, but to be honest we had decided to feature her work before she gave us the go ahead (no preferential treatment given around these parts).

Becky’s work and her responses below are all carefully considered and thought provoking, we hope you find both very interesting.

1. Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Becky: My art practice is the culmination of my life’s work and journey so far.

I came to my visual art practice in my mid-twenties as a result of a growing need to explore and create from my experience of that intersection between realms, where memory and the present, inner and outer, meet and combine.

My partner, an art therapist and artist, has been fundamental in my developing art practice; by valuing and encouraging my creativity, and my connection with myself and my inner world, and so providing the soil in which my practice could grow and unfold.

Tea, music, and poetry have also been, and continue to be, major inspirations.

2. Were you self taught or formally educated and who has influenced your work the most?
Becky: I have always been interested in humanness. In my early adult life, this manifested itself in my study (at Manchester University) and research (at Sheffield University) of psychology. So, whilst I have had some visual arts training, my main background is in psychology. My explorations of the human condition, in particular memory and emotions, started off in the realm of psychology. My psychology research informs my work as an artist. My art practice, however, mostly unfolded of its own accord, as my connection with myself and world grew.

My practice is focused around memory and connections. So, without a doubt, the most profound influences on my work are the people, places, connections and experiences throughout my life; both those which have had nurturing influence, and those which have had a harmful influence.

3. How did your current style develop and how do you see it developing in the future?
Becky: In really simple terms, my art is a response to my everyday environment. My practice mostly grew from playing with found materials, and my experience of myself in any given moment and place.

My engagement with poetry (both my own and others’), music and song lyrics, and stream-of-consciousness are all crucial in my work, in both indirect and more direct ways – for example, the use of text is important in my work.

Recently, I’ve been working increasingly site-responsively. Also, my practice is developing in terms of scale. Smaller works certainly still have their power and place but, as my practice expands, I’m also excited to be making larger scale works; engaging with space and place in a new way.

Becky ciesielski Rememberless Wall

4. What influence has living in Sheffield had on your creativity and how you approach your work?
Becky: The views have had a big influence – tea drinking is a vital part of my practice, which I do from my kitchen, with amazing views over the city and surrounding Peaks. Much of my inspiration, connection and ideas begin at that window.

Sheffield, and in particular my local neighbourhood of Arbourthorne, is right at the very heart of a couple of my current projects, ‘Unforgotten’ and my parallel project ‘Unforgotten (Wall No. 1)’.

5. What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?
Becky: The fact that it’s contained within the green of the Peaks and the openness of the skies. And the fact that everyone seems to know everyone – it’s like a big village.

6. What piece of your own work gives you the most satisfaction and why?
Becky: My ‘Magnolia Memories’ series is particularly precious to me. It epitomises what I’m about as an artist. It’s been an important grounding in my practice – building up my confidence – and much of my subsequent work has stemmed from it.

There are several pieces in this project which are tantalisingly close to completion (I can never just work on a single piece, or even a single project – I work best with several things on the go). And I’m hoping to have a solo exhibition of these works in the next year or so, once I’ve finished the series.

7. If you could lay claim to one piece of creative work in any area what would it be and why?
Becky: I wouldn’t so much want to lay claim to anyone else’s work, as such, but I absolutely love Wolfgang Laib’s series of milkstones. They’re stunning pieces, and I love the time, care, and meditative approach he takes to his work. I’m also loving local artist Trish O’Shea’s work at the moment.

8. Does music have any influence on your work and what is the most played song on your iPod?
Becky: Definitely. Music is really important to my work, both in terms of general inspiration and, occasionally, specific lyrics – for example my piece ‘How do you keep love alive?’ (part of the Magnolia Memories series) is inspired by Ryan Adams’ song of the same title.

Well, my newer ipod is bust, but I’ve just checked my now-retro ipod mini, which still has the Delays ‘Wanderlust’ as my most-played song (good ‘n summery). Must admit, I tend to be lazy and listen to 6 Music quite a lot.

9. When a client approaches you for a commission, how do you approach the work?
Becky: This is an area of my practice I’m yet to explore, although I do have a couple of possible commisions in the pipeline, both of which are for organisations that are close to my heart, for one reason or another. I’m going to remain annoyingly mysterious for now as it’s not my immediate focus, and there’s other projects that will happen first, but it’s certainly something I’d like to move into in the future, so keep your eye out…

Becky Ciesielski Ghost of Shadows     Becky Ciesielski Unforgotten     Becky Ciesielski Big SIister

10. What advice would you give a fellow aspiring artist who was wanting to break through to the next level?
Becky: I’m still in the early stages of my career, but some things that have helped me are…

Grow the confidence in your art practice and where you come from. It has to work with your life; find, value, and nurture that connection between yourself, your practice, and other areas of your life.

Get help from professionals in areas where you lack skills (e.g., unless you have the skills, get help you with your website) leaving you to focus your time on your area of expertise – your practice (whatever that means at any given time).

Apply for opportunities that genuinely inspire you and that fit with your current work – with so much time spent applying to opportunities and for funding etc, not to mention keeping an up to date blog, online portfolio etc, you want to make sure that the briefs you pick inspire you, especially if you are to create new work for them. I’ve loved the creative interaction that happens in that space between your own private inspiration/ practice, and a brief.

Get out there. Make connections, talk to people, go to viewings, create a professional web presence, volunteer, sign up to newletters and jobs/opps alerts, apply for opportunities – open calls, for example – get your work seen by art professionals and, if they like what they see, who knows what other opportunities can arise…

But, most importantly, know who you are as an artist, and stand strong in that.

Want to find out a little more about Becky? Here are links to Becky’s site and Social Media links – It’s all good stuff!


Becky Ciesielski Sheffield Artist



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