To Do List Interviews Lucy Sparrow of The Cornershop
We caught up with Lucy Sparrow, the Visual Artist & Designer behind The Cornershop art show-cum-kooky shop in Bethnal Green.
The Cornershop promises to be the the fluffiest, furriest shopping experience imaginable. Everything inside The Cornershop is made from fabric. Yes, everything! The till, the functioning pricing gun, the contents of freezers, the pick ‘n’ mix stand… and it only took Lucy seven months to make it all!
The Cornershop can be found at 19 Wellington Row, E2 7BB, and is open 1st-31st August, 10am-7pm.
Here’s what Lucy had to say when we grilled her gently over a low heat…
Tell us about Cornershop? How did the shop come about & why was the The Cornershop idea important for you?
The Cornershop was born out of a need to produce something really big and really impressive. I’ve done a few solo shows and many group shows and I just felt ready to tackle something huge. I wanted a project that was going to wow even the most hardened art critic with its dedication and detail. My first job was in a cornershop and I have fond memories of that time. I loved the way that everything worked and had a place. I loved that you could go into one small shop and it was a tiny cross-section of a supermarket that provided for all your emergency food needs.
Felt is my main chosen medium. It’s incredibly versatile, it’s bright and reminiscent of school craft. It’s a gentle and inoffensive medium that allows me to tackle taboo subjects without being too “in your face”.
What makes your artworks different?
I think they don’t try to be anything that they’re not. They’re very passive and innocent pieces of work and I love that about them. It’s like when you have pets, they love you unconditionally and never judge you. That’s how the felt feels to me, just bursting with support, love and wonder. They’re also my children. I love that I can weave them into existence and then they exist forever.
When you have a project this big….start sooner! Having said that, I’ve learnt that I can produce so much work when I need to, and how to maximise the number of hours in a day. I truly have no idea what I did all day before The Cornershop, I must have spent a fair bit of time daydreaming.
What’s your favourite piece that you’ve produced for The Cornershop & why?
My favourite pieces are the medicines. Pills and potions are associated with being something that makes you feel better but increasingly, you hear stories of people recovering from chronic illnesses just from having a positive attitude. I like to think that my medicines cure the mind and offer comfort when humans can’t.
I love the work of Grayson Perry, he’s a huge influence on me. I love that his work is very in touch with childhood and never tries to be too serious. I’m not a fan of super serious art. A massive part of my work is the process of protesting individuality. I’ve always been a bit odd, and when you’re a kid you get bullied for it, but when you grow up and start being able to channel it better, it doesn’t matter what strange things you do anymore. You just get labelled as eccentric instead of simply a weirdo. It’s quite nice.
What are your favourite places to go in London?
Snog frozen yoghurt, I could eat that for every meal, I never get tired of it. I was temping at an office in Aldwych for a while and that’s all I ate. It was probably deeply unhealthy.
To relax, I love going to the zoo. I spend too much money in the gift shop and come away with lots of fluffy animals to add to the collection.
To be honest, I’m not a great fans of parties, I’d much rather pack a picnic and go and find a nice tower block rooftop and relax with friends. Those are some of the best views of London.
You can’t go wrong with the Tate Modern although I’ve been so many times, I need to walk round it backwards so it feels new again.
I love First Thursdays in East London because you run around trying to see as much new and interesting art as possible whilst at the same time, taking full advantage of the free snacks and catching up with the many pop up events that are going on at the same time.
For free, I love wandering round looking at the graffiti and getting inspired about what new work I can make.
What’s on your To Do List for the rest of 2014?
My absolute must see is Carrie Reichardt’s work in ‘Disobedient Objects’ at the V&A. She’s a great inspiration to me, it’s scary how many projects she can juggle at one time and still come out tops.
Also, I’d like to do a big tour of all the touristy places in London that I’ve never been to like St. Paul’s, the Tower of London and the Cutty Sark. I sometimes feel like I’m the only Londoner who hasn’t been to these places and they’re right on my doorstep!
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.