SocialFam ‘5 minutes’ with Aby Mackie, Artist
Aby, we are so happy to be interviewing you. We have known each other for years and have always told you what an amazing eye you have. Where are you from exactly and how long have you been in Barcelona?
I grew up in the Midlands, UK. I was born in Leicester and then moved to Nottingham, where I went to university to study a BA textile design followed by an MA in Fine art. I've been living for most of the last 14 years in Barcelona.
We know that you are an Artist, but how did you become such a visual person from fashion, interiors etc?
I've always been an aestheticist* and a visual artist for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a creative household (my father is a clock maker) filled with books, antiques and curiosities on a council estate in Leicester.
I think that when a person is creative, that creativity and aesthetic sensibility is applied to every aspect of life. "Creativity is the power of re-inventing reality with the use of imagination"
*a person devoted to aesthetics and the pursuit of beauty.
You live in the most amazing space. Can you tell us more about it.
I am very lucky to live and work in an incredible space in Poblenou, Barcelona. Its a huge 300 metre sq space that enables me to live, work and create seamlessly.
The building itself used to be an old bread factory and has many wonderful features, including a big old brick oven.
The space is both beautiful and functional, its a little like an ongoing work of art in itself, with a constantly evolving aesthetic.
We always hear how difficult financially it can be to be an artist. How do you make it work for you so that you can do what you love full time?
There are two key factors that enable me to work as an artist, firstly there is the teaching side to what I do. I teach art classes in English to children. Its something that I'm very passionate about and keeps the creativity and joy flowing.
Secondly my art studio is attached to my home. Without that accessibility I wouldn't be able to be a full time artist, especially as a single parent. Having both the space and the time to create is paramount.
How does being a parent mould your artistic expression or the direction that you go in?
I think, as a parent, I have become less precious about the outcome of my work and more concerned about the act of creating itself. With so little time ( when we have kids) there isn't enough time for certainty and procrastination. The act of art-making has become more important than the art itself. Also working with kids on a daily basis, with their boundless energy and limitless creativity, has had a positive effect on my own practice.
What is next for Aby Mackie?
I have spent the last year with my head down in the studio, building up an impressive body of work. Next year I'll be promoting/exhibiting/selling my new work whilst continuing with the art classes.
As well as my work as an artist and teacher I also have an online shop selling curated vintage clothing (another passion of mine and a whole other story...)
Finally, do you have any advice for any parents that are artists wanting to make a career doing what they love here in Barcelona?
Find a way! Its easy to make excuses and not prioritise your own creative practice, especially as a parent. I've done everything from design work and artisan crafts to selling vintage clothing. I've done hundreds of markets and even had a shop before finding my niche and passion with the art classes...my advice? don't give up!