Sophie Perez is a British-born award-winning artist who grew up in Brighton, England. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2003 with an MA in Painting. However it was her love of bike racing that saw her move to Australia. She met a fellow bike racer in the UK, an Australian, and together they spent three years racing bikes in Europe – a far cry from Sophie’s painting career. The pair moved to Australia in 2005 taking up residence in Melbourne rather than her partner’s home town of Sydney, so they could forge a new life together.
Three children later, Sophie and her family moved to the Mornington Peninsula. “I love it here, I can’t see us ever moving,” says Sophie. “It’s incredible how close to you can live to the water and still be amongst the greenery of beautiful bushland. I love being outdoors, and even if we don’t go to the beach every day I love knowing it’s there. And I’m so grateful for the community of generous and creative people I have met here.”
After a hiatus of sorts for around 10 years whilst Sophie’s children were younger, her career as an artist has flourished in Australia and she has held exhibitions in Victoria and NSW over the last few years, a number of which have seen her win prestigious art awards.
“I’ve always been a painter and I am very influenced by where I live, drawing inspiration from my surroundings and everyday life. It’s quite evident in my recent paintings how much of an impact the Mornington Peninsula has had on my work," explains Sophie.
"I’ve always used oils and I tend to use canvas as linen is so expensive in Australia. I spend three to four days in my studio particularly when I have a show planned. I have an exhibition coming up in Melbourne in February, my first solo, so at the moment I’m very focused on that which is very exciting.”
As well as her own painting, Sophie is a Director on the Board and Chief Gallery Co-ordinator at Southern Buoy Studios where she works one day a week. “I am closely involved with the studio, the artists and the programs that we are developing. It’s really nice to be part of the art world on the other side of things as well as being an artist myself.”
Balancing the art that Sophie creates for exhibitions, for the galleries who represent her and for private commissions certainly keeps Sophie busy. "Apart from my solo exhibition in February, I'll be exhibiting at an art fair in Sydney this year which is something I haven't done before - in collaboration with quite an established sculptor who I have known for some time."
"I was recently a finalist in the Hawkesbury Art Prize which was such a privilege, and it's a goal of mine to eventually be named as a winner of this award. And I'm heading to the Pilbarra next year to do a week's painting with another artist, so I am really looking forward to exploring and interpreting a new landscape."
We'll keep you up to date with Sophie's exhibitions, including details of her solo exhibition in February which is not to be missed.
Most inspiring artwork award - The Green Wedge Paint out Exhibition (2019)
Awarded Peninsula Shire Best hanging work - Red Hill Art Show : Red Hill, Victoria (2019)
Awarded Peninsula Shire bursary Painting Prize - Red Hill Art Show : Red Hill, Victoria (2018)
Finalist Southern Buoys Portrait prize : Mornington, Victoria (2018)
1/19 Carbine Way, Mornington
Photos: Willow Creative