Pop My Mind is a creative platform for artists, musicians, writers and creatives of any kind to submit work to the site inspired by work from the site. We (Tamzyn Jackson and Jack Bailey) have been working as interns for the Pop My Mind blog, and thought it was about time to talk to the full-time team (who consist of Oliver, Laurel and Karis) to learn how they found their place within Pop My Mind and how it came to be what it is today.
Oliver Squirrell – Founder/Managing Director
What would you say is your Signature Art Medium?
Oliver: Mainly photography and moving image. I would say abstract photography. I try not to think too much about it, I just focus on what my eye is drawn to.
Is there any other type of Art Medium that you have submitted?
My first few submissions to the platform were poems, which I have since become a little embarrassed of, but I will definitely go back to that in the future. My first submission to Pop My Mind was a poem called Two planets.
How was Pop My Mind started?
I used to be a teacher but I had to stop because of illness, so I was looking for something interesting to do. I used to make a lot of music at home so it was suggested to me that I start an online platform for it. I used sites like Myspace and Soundcloud a lot but I noticed how they were directed at making money and gaining recognition from music you had already made; I wanted something that encouraged you to make new stuff, which is why I started what was originally a music platform called Soundshoots in 2012. You could say it was kind of like a bedroom project. From there, I went to many investment events and eventually met an investor who helped really get things started.
How many people work for Pop My Mind now?
Well, there is me, Laurel and Karis. We’re the ones who work full time. Then there are around seven or eight interns and other staff and people who are doing work experience. So I think around ten of us in total.
Laurel was the first to join the team after you, wasn’t she?
Yes! After a while, it got to the point where the workload was just too much for me, so I started asking around in the University of Suffolk and an artist in the Atrium told me that Laurel was looking for full time work. So yeah, we met up for coffee and to talk about it and that was that!
Laurel Berry – Curator
So you’re the curator, what exactly does that involve?
Laurel: What I do is I go out and look for new artists and speak to them about the platform. It’s my job to get them involved in the project. I also help with producing the events and exhibitions.
What would you say is your Signature Art Medium?
Painting. I love to create abstract painting.
Is there any other Art Medium that you have tried?
All the way through uni, I did a lot of drawing. I feel like drawing is the backbone of visual art. I also tried print making but that requires a lot of precise technique whereas my art style tends to be bit more expressive and free. I didn’t like feeling restricted so it wasn’t really for me.
What was the first piece you submitted on the platform?
It was a pink painting called Thirteen, in response to Joanne Chan’s Stage Three. Even though being a curator keeps me pretty tied up, I think its important to keep contributing to the project because it helps me to explain what its like to use it and makes it easier for me to help other people understand it. Pop My Mind helps you to find different aspects of your work that maybe you didn’t know were there, by being influenced by the and inspired by the work of others. Especially when those artists work in different medium
How did you first become involved with Pop My Mind?
Well, I was volunteering in the University of Suffolk Atrium for Carol Gant and then I heard that someone called Oliver was looking for an assistant. So I met up with him and he began telling me about the platform and what it’s all about, and I was sold on the whole concept!
How long was Pop My Mind going before you joined the team?
It had been formed for about six months. Those who joined were able to access it but it wasn’t live to the public. During this time, Oliver was building the amount of art and artists that contributed to the site so that when it did go live, there would be plenty on there to see and hear. It had been public for about a month when I joined.
It must be exciting to be one of the first people to be have been involved with Pop My Mind and to see it grow and change.
Yeah! I got involved very quickly and it’s been quite a journey coming from what it was to what it has become. The main idea behind Pop My Mind is that of spring boarding new work and ideas, which then inspires more artists to create work too. But we also have some new things on the horizon such as more exciting, commercial opportunities for our artists. This is kind of like a moment of metamorphoses for Pop My Mind, almost as if it’s reached its adolescence and is making big changes for the better.
Pop My Mind is all grown up. What was the first ever piece of art submitted to the platform?
Karis Lambert – Community Manager
So what does being the Community Manager really mean?
Karis: What it means is that, once Laurel has recruited an artist, I am in charge of looking after them. I say hello, see how they’re doing and show them how to make the most out of Pop My Mind, including our opportunities and basically helping them to use the website.
And also looking after interns like ourselves!
What is your Signature Art Medium?
My favourite medium is ink painting and I love to do portraiture. I kind of stopped doing it at University, but when I joined Pop My Mind I got inspired by the other artists and slowly got back into it.
Have you explored any other kind of art medium?
I have done some creative writing – usually poetry based on real life. However I feel like creative writing is very personal, so I don’t really show anyone that. I can play guitar but I don’t compose.
What was the first piece of art you submitted to Pop My Mind?
It was a pen and coloured pencil piece on a watercolour background called Temple. It was inspired by the relationship between mental and physical healing.
And this was in an exhibition, right?
That’s right! It was exhibited in Pop My Mind’s First Birthday Exhibition in East Bergholt. A lovely place called Little Dodnash Farm.
So how did you get involved with Pop My Mind in the first place?
I had just come back from being overseas and was looking for a job. I saw an opportunity to be an intern at Pop My Mind for six months, so after a long train ride from Doncaster, I went to the interview which went quite well. I didn’t think at first whether I would get it but everything worked out well and I became part of the team.
How long had Pop My Mind been formed before you arrived?
I think it had been formed for a year or so. I joined the team in July 2o16.
And what has it meant to you to be on the inside of something like this?
For me, its important to be a part of a business that supports creatives like myself. Pop My Mind gives plenty of opportunities that I would love as an artist, and I really enjoy being able to provide these for other creative people.
If you’re new, then join us. Pop My Mind offers lots of opportunities for artists to expand their style as well as the potential to earn money for their work. With all the amazing changes happening within the platform, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of it all!