Interview with Sarah Fielding

JH: So here I am talking to Sarah Fielding, director of the Invisible Circus shows and general artist extraordinaire. I’m going to start off by asking you, why do you do art?

SF: I guess out of a drive, however misplaced to make the world – or people’s experience of the world – more positive or a better place.

JH: What motivates you to keep doing it everyday? Is that the driver behind all of your work?

SF: Yes, I guess so. That’s the driver behind all of the work that I do essentially. I don’t know, people have a really hard time a lot of the time, like in themselves or whatever psychological issues or boundaries they have within themselves. And just because the world is a difficult place to be in. I believe there is a way of making that experience slightly more positive and giving them a better attitude towards it, which will make the world generally a better place. I’ll do that forever because I can’t see another reason for being here particularly.

JH: And what does it bring to your life do you think?

SF: Well, I think that gives me a purpose for me being here. And it helps me see the positives in the world, and in everything around me, and in people as well, which is a fulfilling experience. I think a big part of that is to do with creativity, and accessing creativity, and encouraging other people to access their creative places. I think that’s quite central to being alive really.

JH: How do you reflect on your practice? Do you do that formally? Or something you do as a group?

SF: Well, I try not to judge the end product too much, because for me the process is sort of more important; or at least it’s not to be overlooked. Like what people get out of the journey towards creating what you create is at least as important as the end product. It’s an interesting question, but I think with what we do, whether the critics will like it or not, I don’t think we put it out there to necessarily be judged and we don’t always want to pay too much attention to how it will be judged because they’ll judge it with whatever eyes they choose to see it with. Whereas, that could never take away from the process and the experiences we’ve had in creating it.

JH: How do you reflect on your practice?

SF: It’s really hard to be objective about something when you’re in the middle of something so I guess you try and get feedback from people you trust and they can point you in different directions. And you just keep exploring and keep making mistakes. It’s quite hard to see things honestly. I think not being obsessed with perfection, not being obsessed with sort of fame. I guess we also invite audience people to see it and get feedback from them. That’s it really.

JH: Obviously you work in a collective, but you’re also the director – how important are other people in your practice? Whether that’s because they’re a collaborator or in terms of the audience?

SF: Very important. It’s that kind of melting pot, it’s that mixture of ideas and interpretations and different skill-sets and different people with different talents that makes it what it is in terms of making the show. And then it’s the audience and I guess the eyes that they choose to see it through, so they’re massively important. Sometimes with being a director, it’s more about making space for other people’s creativity to happen – well, the way I do it anyway – rather than actually going “right this is an idea and I want it to be done like this and that. You’ve got to move there, and you move there.” It’s more like planting seeds that people will take. The end product of the show is never something I could have imagined at the beginning. Other people’s imagination takes it to a different place and that’s why the process is open to see where it ends up and my role is more to shape it. So in that sense, it’s all about the other people really and I’m just shepherding them a bit.

JH: I’d like to finish by asking you what advice you would give to an artist, whether or not they’re a professional artist making money out of what they do or someone that just wants to be more creative in their everyday life, an everyday artist as we’re calling them. What advice would you give to an artist?

SF: Don’t try to fit into other people’s boxes, i.e don’t think, “Right if I want to be an artist, I have to go and do that there or do this or to be accepted on this course…” Basically do whatever you enjoy and just keep doing it. That’s it really. I think usually the world will transform itself to let that happen and support you on that. I think it’s probably as simple as that.

JH: Thank you very much.

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