While in her final few months of working towards an MA at the Royal College of Art, we talk to Maayan Sophia Weisstub about her time in London, her sources of inspiration and creative practice. An extremely skilled multidisciplinary artist, her work ranges from collages to sculptures, videos, drawings and more. These mediums are all inspired by moments and emotions in Weisstub's daily life, our society and her own inner world. This allows for art which is in turns humorous, sardonic, tender and serious. Through it, she reflects on the world we live in while encouraging us to see life with fresh eyes and renewed curiosity.
You are doing an MA at the Royal College of Art in London! Are you enjoying your time there?
I am enjoying my time in London despite the limitations Covid-19 has created. So far, I’ve managed some explorations of the city, which have been great. I’m glad I came here even though the lockdown changed things and forced unplanned adjustments.
I’m in pursuit of my MA at the Royal College of Art, aiming to graduate with the 2021 cohort. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with students from all parts of the world and from various backgrounds, I’ve enjoyed learning about different (and some new) cultures and experiences.
What inspires you?
This is always a difficult question to answer. Since my inspiration is so varied, it can be hard to pinpoint. Inspiration can strike from almost any encounter; nature, music, a meeting with a person, social injustices – or from memories, dreams, and any other contents from the unconscious.
A recent example is my encounters with different couriers. They’re some of the few people I’ve seen regularly (nevertheless very briefly) during the lockdown, and they’ve inspired the creation of a short video.
Where and how do you keep track of ideas as they occur to you?
Sometimes I take a picture or record an audio note on my phone. Other times I write my ideas down on a piece of paper. These ideas can materialise almost immediately, other times it may take some months or even years until they are ready to be expressed and shared.
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Do you think the chance to share art instantly via social media is something that excites or drains you?
It excites me. The fact I can share my work immediately helps me let go of my work. I enjoy the feedback – sometimes the dialogue may turn into a collaboration or even friendships.
What is your daily routine?
I don’t have a strict schedule, so it varies. Some days I have classes on Zoom. Other days, I go out and meet friends at the park or I just stay at home and work.
Before lockdown, I enjoyed going to different galleries and the cinema next to my house. One common thread is that my day will always include studies and a creative outlet.
Are there any mediums you haven’t yet tried which you are excited to work with in future?
I’m currently working on a kinetic sculpture installation. I’ve done street art installations before but have never worked on a piece quite like this. It’s part digital, part physical. The scope is much bigger, so I’m excited.
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As much of your art is inspired by momentary day to day connections, to what extent do your physical surroundings influence what you create?
Physical surroundings inspire different ideas and directions of thought: Tel Aviv, Bruno the cat, people on the street, relationships – they all found their way into my work through the years I lived there. Lately, London, my street, rides on the tube, the lockdown, etc., all play a part in inspiring my work. Finally, practical availability or unavailability of different materials may also impact my work.
Do you gravitate more to one medium over another for certain moods?
For drawing, I definitely need to be in a more patient mood. Other than that, I don’t really think so.
Your collages are often made up of a combination of old and new pieces; characters drawn over vintage nudes or plastic bottles floating through The Great Wave of Kanagawa. What inspired this anachronistic layering of images?
I love and appreciate art history and vintage aesthetics. I think there’s value in taking classic images that were produced in a historical context and transporting them into today’s world. Combining and mixing these stories brings out new and interesting qualities.
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How has the last year of restrictions, fear and lockdown influenced your art and approach to the body?
Lockdown has definitely altered my sources of inspiration, as well as the subjects of my works. Because of Covid-19 and my self-isolation, my inspiration has shifted towards my immediate surroundings. For example, the piece with the couriers I mentioned in a previous question.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on?
I am currently working on my final postgraduate project, which will be an installation of breathing sculptures. The project explores how we as humans project memories, sensations and feelings onto inanimate objects. The work deals with emotions connected to grief and loss.
Your work allowed me to look at everyday objects and occurrences with bright new interest and curiosity; what do you hope people take from your creations?
I’m happy to hear this – it’s one of my aims. My work is fairly diverse; the pieces express different emotions (as they surface from within). If a certain work of mine evokes feelings and thoughts in others exposed to it, if they see themselves in it, and if they identify with the content, I feel that I managed to achieve my main goal.
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