April 6, 2020

Creative State of Mind

Let us introduce some of Epsom and Ewell’s inspiring creative individuals, as they spill all about their creative state of mind…

Kendra Haste

If you’ve ever paid attention on your morning commute, you might have noticed the elephant in the room. That’s right, the rather large elephant sculpture that stares you in the face at Waterloo station upon your descent to the Jubilee Line is the work of Kendra Haste. She first discovered her passion for working with wire whilst studying illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. Since then, Kendra has created a collection of thirteen sculptures for The Tower of London and even produced an impressive, albeit slightly comical, five and a half metre tall giraffe to stand in the stairwell of a private client’s home.

“Like many others growing up in an urban environment, I felt very detached from the natural world. My desire to study, interpret and understand animals has been my way of reconnecting with nature and our place within it,” Kendra explains. Her creativity has taken her on expeditions to India, East Africa and – fourteen years ago – to Epsom too. Together with her partner, she put down roots right here in Epsom to raise her family and explore the area near to which her studio is based.

What does creativity mean to you?
“We are all creative; creativity is at the core of being human. There is magic and pleasure in making something from ‘nothing’, it’s an essential form of mindfulness, focusing concentration and being totally absorbed in the present by the activity of creativity.”

Justine Berry & Richard Holt

Meet Justine and her husband Richard, the duo behind local clothing brand Very Miss Berry. After struggling to find clothes that allowed children to explore and play with ease, the brand was born. A few pairs of harem-style pants later (tried and tested on their one-year-old son) and Justine now works full-time on her business, collaborating with her graphic designer husband to create prints that are personal to their family. 

From rompers covered in rainbow worms to tunics printed in autumn leaves, each item is individually cut and sewn in their Surrey home. As an ex-teacher, Justine aspires to bring sewing to the new generation and share her passion for creativity through sewing tuition and lessons.

What does creativity mean to you?
“Creativity is the freedom to explore the things I love and bring joy to others through that. It’s good for the soul and without it the world would be a very boring place.”

Zoe Barrett

After growing up close to Epsom and Ewell, Zoe decided to study an art foundation at Epsom’s UCA. “That year really helped me to branch out and see the endless possibilities of art,” she says. Now in her third year of studying illustration at UCA’s other campus in Farnham, she creates illustrations inspired by everyday observations, social issues and personal experiences. Her work is not limited to good old fashioned pen and paper either, it also includes working with animation, print and textiles. “I am always pushing myself to work in new ways,” she tells us. 

You only have to walk down the high street to see some of her most recent illustrations, as Zoe works alongside Waterstones to create artistic window displays. “It has been very enjoyable and rewarding to see my work in the high street of the town in which I started my art career.” 

What does creativity mean to you?
“By being creative, I have learned so much more about subjects that I would never have initially thought about; it has opened my eyes to all different areas of life. Creativity has no restrictions, it can change the way that you approach obstacles and enlighten others to think differently.”

Shaheena Pooloo

Born and bred in Epsom, Shaheena confesses that she has “always been creative and loved art”. After being encouraged and supported to pursue her passion, she completed a foundation course at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design (now known as UCA), before venturing to Brighton
to study Graphic Design. 

Now, with over eleven years of experience, there’s nothing this freelance designer can’t do. From designing Royal Mail postage stamps and getting creative with books, to crafting large scale environmental graphics and exhibition panels at the V&A. And it turns out she loves our town just as much as her career: “Epsom will always be my hometown. I love that it is close enough to London, but also to Surrey’s nature.” 

What does creativity mean to you?
“It means curiosity, exploration, problem-solving, expression and looking at things from a different perspective.”

Lewis Stephens

Lewis is the founder and host of community support podcast, Why Aren’t You Normal Epsom, in which the alternate lifestyle of local individuals is explored. From market stall owners to professional rugby players, he invites anyone and everyone to chat about their version of normality. “As corny as it sounds, I’ve received messages from listeners who say a particular guest has sparked something in them to give things another go” Lewis says. 

Not only is Epsom the hub of Lewis’ youth, but it seemed the perfect place to represent as many individuals as possible, whilst furthering the curiosity of our town. Through his creativity, he hopes to showcase Epsom’s diversity and broaden his perception of the world with a new challenge. 

What does creativity mean to you?
“It’s all about how you perceive your surroundings and then, subsequently, choose to project them back out in a different, and sometimes better, way.”  

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