Sally Hirst is a talented illustrator, textile artist and ceramicist. Much of her work is inspired by themes of climate change and her love of animals.
Sally is a rising star at Venture Arts. Since she began attending our Young People’s Art Club in 2017 she has had several commissions for her illustrative work, and taken part in professional artist residencies at HOME and Walk the Plank.
The 2020 lockdown hasn’t slowed Sally down at all, and she used the time to teach herself weaving on a loom, producing a large body of new work.
How long have you been making art?
“Since I was 13 years old. My first piece of art was a painting of the Jewish museum. It taught me how to be patient with my artwork as I spent so long and it looked really good in the end and I have this piece framed on the wall in my bedroom.”
What are your favourite art materials to work with?
“Textiles including fabrics and wool. I also like them because they are very tactile to touch. Over lockdown I learned how to spin and weave because I found doing things repetitively like weaving is very relaxing.”
What is your art about?
“My art is sometimes about climate change or animals and the story behind each animal as an individual. Sometimes my work is just about the process, it doesn’t actually have a meaning but is just nice and relaxing to do, an example of this is my weaving.”
What, or who, inspires you as an artist?
“Animals inspire me and Vincent Van Gogh because I like the different colours and shades that he uses and how he uses swirls and dashes to make texture and the wind. The Wellcome Collection [where Sally completed an online placement during lockdown] inspired me because they had lots of different historical things like little amulets… it wasn’t just about science, there was always a story behind it. They had made an effort to make the exhibitions more accessible. Accessible is very important to me because it means that everyone is able to enjoy my art no matter what differences they have.”
Why is art important to you?
“Because I find it relaxing and because I am very shy and quiet, I like to use art to show what I am trying to say. Pictures speak louder than words.”
What has been your proudest moment as an artist?
“Having my work in art exhibitions and doing art commissions. ‘The Last Place on Earth’ was an exhibition that I worked very hard on and I was very proud of it at the end. I did this with HOME as part of the Future 20 year long residency about climate change and you would go through different areas of the virtual space which represent different areas of the earth including earth, fire, water and aether. I was also proud of my art commission with Manchester City Council [Sally illustrated a leaflet of Summer activities for SEND young people] because it was sent out to hundreds of young people with disabilities across greater Manchester.”
What are your future ambitions?
“I would like to eventually do an Art foundation at the Manchester College and I would like to work in the arts. I would definitely like to do an artist residency in the future because I would like to explore different parts of the UK and I think it would be a good way to gain inspiration and to spend time focussing on an art project.”
Completely A Hustling Place, Manchester Central Library, 2021.
You Can’t Stop Us, The Lowry, 2021.
The Future is Ours, The Horsfall, online, 2020.
As part of this exhibition Sally’s painting ‘Me Inspired by Picasso’ was exhibited as a poster in Manchester City Centre.
Last Place On Earth, HOME, online, 2020.
Last Place On Earth is created by HOME’s Future 20 Collective in collaboration with Studio Morison.
The Art of Now, The Lowry, 2019.
PERSPECTIVES, The Lowry, 2018.