The artist discusses the challenges of painting with degenerative sight, how she has dealt with depression throughout her career, and her training as a psychotherapist.
In this month’s episode of Electric Glue’s podcast, Sacrifice and Success, Sir John Hegarty speaks to artist Sophie Birdwood.
Specialising in abstract and urbanscapes, Sophie sold her first painting at the age of 17. Following a stint working in the advertising industry at Saatchi & Saatchi, she chose to pursue a career in painting, with her work exhibited frequently at the Royal College of Art, Cadogan Contemporary, and the Mall Galleries amongst many others. Over 20 years ago, however, Sophie was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa - a degenerative disease that affects her peripheral vision, and is causing her to gradually lose her sight.
This condition not only affects Sophie’s day to day life, but reshapes how she creates her paintings - a topic that is explored in depth throughout the podcast. Discussing her journey as an artist, Sophie touches on the challenges of painting with degenerative sight, how she has dealt with depression throughout her career, and how being trained as a psychotherapist augments her painting.
Simon Orpin, co-founder of Electric Glue, says: “It was an honour for Sophie to join us and share such valuable insights into her journey - not only as an artist, but as someone continuing to succeed in the face of a life-changing condition. Her outlook on life, and her ability to remain so focused and resolute throughout, is truly inspiring.”
Listen here to discover Sophie’s philosophical approach to sight loss, her own advice for those struggling with sacrifice, and why the often-solitary act of painting isn’t as therapeutic as we may think.
Produced in collaboration with Soho Radio, the Electric Glue podcast uncovers the stories of people from the broader creative community, exploring how ultimate success is built from sacrifice. Previous episodes include conversations with photographer Andre Camara, TV presenter Gail Porter, and actor and writer Andi Osho.