Griselda Mussett was born in London. She was a broadcaster (BBC, Anglia TV) and then a teacher and lecturer, and then an environmental campaigner (founding the Friends of Brockwell Park, the Friends of Faversham Creek, and the Faversham Creek Trust).
Her artwork is wide-ranging and reflects her passionate love of the land and natural places, as well as her abiding interest in the human body and how people move and interact. Street-scape and buildings are another area of concentration.
Describe what you do as a creative.
I am a visual artist and writer, and community activist especially thinking about the environment.
Tell us briefly about yourself so we understand where you come from. What’s your family background?
A Londoner, oldest of 4 children, born into an unconventional rather bohemian and engineering family.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I had no idea. I imagined being a mother, but otherwise had no idea how to become a grown-up. That confusion lasted a very long time. But eventually I joined the BBC in a very loosely specified job, which was useful to me.
Can you remember your earliest experience with art?
I went to art galleries, specifically Kenwood House (Rembrandt, Gainsborough), and the National Gallery and British Museum and looked at the collections.
Why did you start doing what you do? What are your reasons? What's your story?
Once I had retired, and found I was living in a very active artistic community (Faversham) I thought it was ‘now or never’… time for me to start learning about becoming an artist in my own right.
How did you begin doing what you do? How did it all start?
I have always drawn, and been interested in design… But I went to some local classes, started asking questions, bought materials, enrolled in online art workshops and f-2-f groups. Everything started to consolidate.
What turns on your creativity? What triggers your need to create and to make art?
I seem to have a nonstop flow of ideas, though in execution they often fail lamentably in my own eyes. It is really useful working in groups, or with teams of other people, fellow students or practitioners.
What do you like best about your work?
That I made it. That it answers some of my questions. That it baffles some people.
When were you most satisfied in your work? What is your golden moment so far?
My exhibition in the summer of 2022 – the Cancer and Chemo show, of pastel paintings and selfies. It seems extraordinary to me that I could produce such a coherent and powerful body of work in such a short space of time, totally non-verbal.
Describe a memorable response to your work? The way people responded to a piece of your work? What was their reaction? What did they say?
People cried when they came in to see the Cancer Art Show. It raised quite a lot of money for cancer charities, and I was invited to bring the whole show to St Christopher’s Hospice in London later this year for 3 months.
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
I feel very confident the next series of paintings will be strong. Doubts which held me back in the past seem to have melted away. I don’t know if the work will mean anything much to anyone else but I know it will for me.
What is your dream project?
To see a civic art gallery open in Faversham – maybe partly convert the parish church building, or build on top of the Public Library. Personally I want to start making much bigger paintings, and I also have an idea in mind for a series of bronze cast statues.
Which artists / creative people are your heroes or inspiring figures?
Visual artists: Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Cindy Sherman, Tracie Peisley. Writers, mathematicians: Jane Smiley, Carol Shields, Katherine Johnson,
Your idea of happiness ?
Peaceful sunlight, laughter, meals with friends, being recognised without fuss
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
Too many to mention.
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
Don’t take responsibility for other people’s problems. Be kind. Learn to relax. You get to big by starting small.
Anything else you would like to add ?
Finding your community is the best possible thing to do. Then you’re not on your own.
Faversham ME13, , Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom, ME13
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