SOPHIE HASTINGS

Freelance Journalist

vsco5c3caa941edde.jpg

How did you find your own way?

I fell into writing about art when offered a job at Art Review in 2001 by its then editor, Meredith Etherington-Smith, who was something of a mentor. I then fell in love with the art world. I have tried to leave – life as a freelance arts writer is not financially stable – but I miss it too much and always come back.

David Hockney once said, “It’s good advice to only believe what an artist does

rather than what he says about his work.” Would you agree?
I have interviewed many artists who say if they could put it into words they’d be writers instead, and others who love talking about their lives and work. Either way, the work speaks for itself but I find that insights from the artist can add another dimension.

Who was the last artist to really catch your eye?

On Esther Schipper’s stand at the last Frieze London, I discovered a series by the Slovakian-born conceptual artist Roman Ondak that I hadn't seen before, called New Observations. Ondak uses found photographs of groups of people in the 1950s, and adds brilliantly deadpan captions that describe them or classify their behaviour in a pseudoscientific way. Each frame is tiny, full of life and made me laugh out loud.