Artist Feature: Victoria Mandale

by Nisha Btesh August 11, 2019

Artist Feature: Victoria Mandale

Morning Routine:

(when I'm not at my part-time job):

7 am - Wake up, often lying in bed for a while listening to birds and gearing myself up for the day ahead.

7.30am - I head downstairs, completely wrapped up in a dressing gown and make myself breakfast consisting of a cup of tea (essential) and anything ranging from granola or crispy cereal to yogurt, croissants or crumpets! While I eat I do my first scroll through of my various social media, reply to messages, etc.

8/8.30am - Get ready for the day i.e. change out of my pajamas! And straight into comfy clothing if I'm planning to stay and work at home.

9 am onwards - Doing anything from sewing products (at the moment it's makeup bags and toiletry pouches) to collaging, packing up cards and setting up my Etsy!

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with this medium or did it choose you? 

In a lot of ways I think it chose me! I've found myself just naturally drawn to it, beginning while I was about 9 or 10 when in an art class on William Morris I drew and painted my first repeat pattern and I loved it! A copy of that pattern is still on my grandparent's wall! Fast forward to 16 when I went to a university open day, listened to a talk about printed textiles and fell in love.

A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a Female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have formal education or are you self taught?  

I went to college for a foundation degree in art then onto university where I studied Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design and it was definitely the right route for me, however, I believe it is different for everyone and formal education isn't always needed. It wasn't just the skills I learned that made uni suited to me but the experience of increasing my confidence, especially in my work and talking about my portfolio, and the opportunities they provided me with.

How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.  

At the moment, my design work is part-time. I am still at the very beginnings of my creative journey after university so I don't have the money or exposure to be able to do it full time however it is what I aspire to! Being creative part-time alongside a part-time job is ideal for me at the moment.

What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about this message? 

 I'd like to think my work is an example of how important and beautiful handcraft can be - I believe making and doing with our hands is instrumental to our well-being and in such a fast-paced digital world, it is important to slow down and explore creativity through interacting with physical materials. Although a lot of my work ends up being digital prints, the artwork in the prints is completely handmade, showing evidence of how I cut each piece of paper individually and textures that can only be created through paint on paper. This mindset is also why I enjoy screen print so much!

What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now? What plans do you have for yourself 1,3,5 years from now?  

My biggest focus is starting up my business, going to craft fairs, making work and products using my own printed fabrics. I would love to get to the stage where I could screen print my designs as well! That's what I have planned for the next few years!

Big or small, what’s the single best money making tip or piece of advice you can share with up and coming artists?

Equipment is expensive so I would recommend saving as soon as you can, and reserving that just for materials, etc. - maybe a small portion of each sale or commission. I'd also say buying second hand is perfect for saving money! Charity shops often sell fabric, zips, thread and various other materials much cheaper than haberdashery shops, as well as many frames which most of the time are in great condition and perfect for the artwork! 

Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.  

Clover Robin - the main inspiration for my collage pieces! Her work is stunning and you can see so much thought has gone into each shape cut out and it's placement

Becca Jones (@boneidol_) - one of my university housemates and a brilliant designer! So much time and skill goes into her work, from research to the illustration to the final product 

Ami Vadi (@ami.vadi) - another uni housemate and designer! Not only very talented but her work explores current issues and she brings such personality and ideology to her pieces 

Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…  

Surrounded by nature! It is my main inspiration and always the subject of my work




Nisha Btesh
Nisha Btesh

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