If you have been following East End Prints for a while, you will be familiar with the work of Sophie Ward. We began collaborating with Sophie last March and haven't looked back since! Her gorgeous feminist prints quickly became extremely popular among our female audience, a year later she is also a key part of our card range and has become one of our best-selling artists. We have recently launched 4 new designs by the talented Sophie and we thought it was a great opportunity to talk with her about feminism, the role of men in the movement and the best advice she could think of for younger women out there.
-What do you understand by the concept of "sisterhood"?
Quite simply, 'girls supporting girls' and not reverting to their “bitchmode” as soon as they feel a hint of competitiveness or jealously.
-Would you say feminism involves only women? what's the role you think men play in this movement?
If it did nothing would ever change. I honestly can't say what role men play at the moment because I feel some get it, but a lot of the good ones are just being politically correct without fully understanding it and the bad ones just don't care! Personally I think it lies with the future generation of boys. It’s been really interesting lecturing to art students of this generation, the boys have a real sensitive grasp on women’s rights, you could say these young men at art school are more liberal and free thinking then the average guy studying at Uni, but when I think of the arty 'lads' from the 90s/00 when I was studying then I think they've come a long way.
That’s the long answer. The short answer is watch less porn. Or watch more porn directed by women.
Tracie Emin, "Believe in Extraordinary"
- This year the Tate Modern is showcasing an exhibition with only female artists, called "Sixty Years" have you heard about it? Are you excited? Is there any particular British female artist you admire or feel inspired by?
I'm looking forward to seeing Bridget Riley's work but will probably enjoy reading about the artists more then viewing a lot of the artworks. I love Tracey Emin and Jenny Saville, my mum took me to see the Sensations exhibition when I was at school and these two artists really stood out for me, I've admired their work ever since
- Your work certainly is an invitation to women to support and encourage each other. Did you have any female mentors in art student years? How important do you feel the role of mentor figures like that is in a person's life?
ALL my tutors were men, even my art teacher for GCSE's/A levels was a man. Two male tutors were very active in kickstarting my career in fashion and illustration and got me my first paid work. I never thought to actively seek out women mentors. But in the last 5/6 years all my clients and everyone I interact with creatively (including obviously EEP!) is a woman, so I don't know what that means but it can only be good right?
Sophie Ward "Go get 'em tiger"
- When I look at your work I feel very optimistic, and somehow uplifted, would you say that's your intention when you create a new design? Do you understand it as maybe, necessary in the present day?
Kinda... I'm glad to hear that they are uplifting but I actually really hate those mega positive slogans, the really generic ones do my head in. My work used to be a lot more gritty, more dark, then I had a baby and my artwork changed, I started to paint really psychedelic colour because the process of doing it made me happier. My intention is always that life cannot always be sunny and when you understand that, it becomes a lot easier. because you know that things will get better soon. My philosophy is to ride it out - OH! basically.
- In 3 words or less, what's the best advice you can give to younger women?
SUPPORT YOUR SISTERS or, if I wanted to be more practical towards their mental health and general wellbeing...INSTAGRAM AIN'T REAL !
Check Sophie's awesome work here