A picture of Fi Burke working

Studio Chat with Fi Burke

Thu, 28/04/2022 - 15:13

We took five minutes to chat with Fi Burke recently to find out more about her practice and what she's been up to

Tell me a bit about yourself/business/practice?

I’ve been a practicing artist for over 20 years now (although maybe it started earlier - when I was 3 or 4, getting caught out creating a wax crayon mural behind the couch?!).  I graduated from the University of Derby with an MA called ADAPT – Art & Design Advanced Practice & Theories, so becoming part of the Banks Mill community was a natural next step.

My practice is quite meditative, fed by ideas and my fascination with time and nature. I try to create visual representations of those meditations, expressing realisations, and enabling connections.

Visual outcomes are quite diverse and range from large-scale site-specific installations, to prints, collage, concrete poetry, as well as more unlikely materials such as flour and bread!

Not being bound by a single medium gives me an immense sense of creative freedom - to let the work lead and take me where it wants to go. 

I have been lucky enough to have had one of my works (Larry) exhibited at the Royal Academy.


What are you currently working on in the studio?

I’m excited to be working on some new additions to my Kant series of prints as well as on a book celebrating the innocence of animals.

Describe a typical day in your studio

I’m not really one for routine, however, I have discovered that having some sort of structure to my day does secure time purely for creativity, enabling immersion in that almost ritualistic underlying process. Being a lark (not an owl) means that I am at my most creative in the mornings so that is when I come up with new ideas and pieces.  When I create, I am in ‘do not disturb’ mode. I leave the more operational and admin elements of my practice for later in the day.


What’s your preferred medium/what do you work with?

My practice is open, and I value not being able to predict outcomes. Working in layers with collage and photographic imagery is something that is a reoccurring theme. I am currently exploring different ways to combine print and text.


Who/What Inspires you and your work?

Like most artists, I am curious, and I love the way that creativity enables a ‘travelling’ experience, a discovery of the unfamiliar and for something magical to happen.

This curiosity leads me down many a philosophical path and can result in artworks or poems which often hold within them a question.

So many other artists, writers and poets inspire me, here are just a few…..James Turrell, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Long, Tom Hackett,  Margaret Atwood, Cornelia Parker, Kay Rosen, Bill Viola, Mary Oliver.


What do you have planned for future work?

As well as continuing to develop works for installations and print, my plan is to weave images with the written word to form content for artist’s books as well as ‘placing’ art and poetry in unexpected places. 

Do you have any helpful resources/advice that you would recommend to other artists and makers?

When what I call artist's self-doubt makes an appearance, it can be difficult for us to see how we can come up with new ideas or create anything unique. This can stilt our own creative development or, at worst - stop us in our tracks.

Creativity isn't something we possess or hold - it is quite the opposite. It is something we give space to so it can flow and manifest, it is as if we tune into it.  It is important to keep the faith that it will 'show up' just when we need it!  Years of being creative has taught me that even when I am at that part of every creative process when the creative river seems to have run dry, and I am struggling - I remind myself to just keep going.... something positive ALWAYS happens and the flow is there. 

Our art will always be unique because we are all made up of our own unique life experiences.


If you weren’t an artist and could choose any career, what would it be?

Mmm, that is a tricky one. I guess either a chef or something related to music and dance. I don’t eat meat, so I have had to be creative with food for almost all my life, this has given me a love of good (but not fancy) food. I often imagine I can sing with a voice like Stevie Nicks and when I am doing Zumba, I sometimes drift off and daydream that I am on Strictly doing a Rumba!


What have you celebrated in the last year?

The last few years have been challenging for us all.  I am so grateful to the Arts Council for providing funding for me to develop my practice, specifically how to develop the writing side to see how it can be combined with my visual art. I started the journey thinking there were no words in me, and the challenge now is that I can’t stop writing!!  A lovely challenge to have and I am also celebrating that poetry has given me the ears to hear myself, to listen out for mother nature. To recognise how much the natural world means to me.

To find out more visit Fi’s website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter