Sheffield artists: meet the locals


Sheffield has a vibrant visual arts scene and is home to several contemporary art galleries and museums, including S1 Artspace, Bloc projects, CADS, Yorkshire Artspace, Site Gallery and Sheffield Museums

The city boasts the highest concentration of artists’ studios in the UK outside of London, as well as one of the oldest established Art & Design institutions, Sheffield’s Institute of Art

We’ve gathered interviews with some of Sheffield’s most exciting contemporary artists to give you a window into the city’s thriving local creative community.



Pippa Shaw, S1 Artspace

Fresh Meat Gallery went to S1 Artspace to interview Pippa Shaw for their Fresh From Sheffield project. Pippa discusses her role as the programme co-ordinator of S1 Artspace, and its place within Sheffield's art scene.

Roanna Wells, Embroidery Artist

In her monochrome embroideries, Roanna Wells substitutes people with stitches and in doing so offers us stunning, often dramatic, new perspectives on human gatherings.

How would you describe your work?

I describe myself as a fine artist using graphical stitch. I’ve always been reluctant to use the phrase ‘textile artist’ as I feel this brings up so many preconceived ideas about the medium, so I definitely place myself within the fine art world and the context of contemporary drawing. My work uses the mark-making quality of hand embroidery to depict detailed aspects of imagery and pattern.

What inspires you?

I’m both technically and conceptually inspired as an artist, having produced work which is either purely process led and abstract and that which has a deeper sense of context either socially or politically. My most recent series of works, entitled Interpersonal Spatial Arrangements, depict abstract representations of individual human forms within crowds as seen from above. 

Inspiration for these is not only taken from the geographical context and current topical relevance of the image, but also the aesthetic composition of the emerging patterns.

In 2013 I worked on a huge embroidery for the Jerwood Makers Open. The funding allowed me to travel to India and commission specific aerial photography over the Kumbh Mela religious gathering in February. It is the world’s largest gathering of people and attracted over 60 million pilgrims to bathe in the Ganges over the month-long festival. My work for the Jerwood Makers depicted the crowd that gathered on the most auspicious bathing day.

What’s your workspace like?

I have a studio at S1 Artspace and it is on the side of the building that receives the most wonderful afternoon and evening sunlight. It’s a beautiful space that provides me a little creative haven to mix with other artists and make work. My process is very time consuming, so the light and comfort of my studio space is very important.

Read the full interview here. Original text by Kathryn Hall, 30 September 2015


Nick Deakin, Illustrator

How would you describe your work?

Simple, bold, sometimes irreverent, occasionally irrelevant. I seem to be moving and diffusing into pattern and line recently too, at least in my personal work. I’m developing this dichotomy of simple shapes and characters, and dense complex patterns.

What inspires you?

Print, texture, type. The smell of summer, the sound of a stream, a hug.

Read the full interview here. Text by Glenn Thornley, 1 September 2015


Jo Peel, Street Artist/ Painter

How would you describe your work?

I don’t really like describing my work. I think that’s why I make pictures and animations – I like to tell stories, but I haven’t mastered the written narrative. I usually describe myself as a contemporary urban artist and sometimes when at my least articulate I would say "I draw buildings".

What inspires you?

Cities inspire me, as there is such an interesting dialogue between humans and their surroundings. I am interested in old architecture, ambitious new builds and the complete failures! Every building has a story...

Read the full interview here. Original text by Kathryn Hall, 14 October 2014


James Green, Linocut Printmaker

How would you describe your work?

Linocut prints. My work is fairly bold, I guess. I do like the limitations that linocut printing dictates. You can’t really be subtle, so have to make interesting compositional decisions.

What inspires you?

Currently, donkeys, urban and coastal landscapes, cats and a variety of other random things that catch my eye. As far as other creative people are concerned I love the work of artists like Max Beckmann and Egon Schiele, but a lot of the time it isn’t artists that inspire me, but other creative forms. I’m a big fan of film-makers like Mike Leigh and Werner Herzog and the music of Erik Satie and the pop group Villagers; anything that makes me think/laugh/cry in equal measure.

Read the full interview here. Original text by Claire Thornley, 2 June 2014.