Grabbing opportunities and reusing your work: Sophie Grillet’s smart advice


When artist Sophie Grillet visited the Mint Studios in the summer of 2019, she brought an important message to emerging artists:  Be prepared and keep grabbing for new opportunities.

Grillet has done just that from her days in London creating editorial cartoons for major newspapers such as The Guardian to starting the Westside Art Hop and  her new endeavor working as an art consultant to assist people find and buy art from local artists.

The Westside Art Hop, scheduled for Oct. 6,  has grown from artists in four Ann Arbor homes to 21 homes. “It worked because I’m not shy,” she told the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program workers. “I’m a great believer in asking people things.” 

Young artists may want to ask a curator for a discount on submitting work, or to be invited into a show.  Go to gallery openings and talk to the artist and the gallery owner. Ask for advice. Ask the artist about her process, Grillet told Mint.

Grillet’s art is a mix of abstract paintings and mixed media and sculpture, often named after female mathematicians.  Her art website features an array of “science and math art” as well as photography and more. “I tend to be very curious and work in everything,” she told Mint.

Her mother was very creative and made ceramics and her father was an architect.  She considers herself both artist and writer, and has published several books including Feminism for Teenagers and poetry  Her recent blog post gives a wide array of advice for emerging artists, including “if you’re not paying attention, you won’t have much to contribute…. Everything is connected.”  So watch BBC news or documentaries and “talk to everyone.”

So reuse your canvas if the original piece does not measure up to your expectations. “Some of my most successful paintings have been on top of ones I didn’t like.” 

Grillet believes in the importance of enjoying life and the people in it, and creating healthy balance so work does not take over.  Young artists must be prepared, by having creative work finished and an attitude that welcomes serendipity and opportunities. Promote yourself and get out there.  

Even for wildly creative artists, reliability matters. “If somebody gives you an opportunity, you need to honor that. You need to show up,” she said.

Mint summer intern Catherine Jones contributed to this article.