A Day with… Venetia Berry
We had the pleasure of spending the day with British artist Venetia Berry. In the past year, she has become quite the household name with the likes of Liberty and Matches commissioning exclusive collections. We were also lucky enough to have Venetia create a limited-edition collection of original inks for Venice Beach House. Her empowering reinvention of the female form celebrates all body types. Through her playful artwork, she aims to reverse the male gaze and challenge the archetypical sexualised female nude. We spoke to Venetia about how she stays inspired and what a typical work day involves for her as a young freelance artist. Venetia is 25 and has lived in a flat in Brixton for 3 years with her best mate Iz.
How do you start your mornings and ease your way into the day?
I set my alarm at 6.45am and aim to do a Hotpod yoga class or go to the gym on weekdays (which doesn’t always work out!). I am lucky enough to be able to walk to the studio. I aim to get in between 7.45-9am (gym/yoga depending), sometimes 10 if I procrastinate at home! When I arrive in the studio I do a 20-minute meditation before anything else. Then I have a cup of black coffee, which is one of my favourite parts of the day. I stopped having breakfast about a year ago to do intermittent fasting (16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window).
What does a typical work day involve?
I usually start with my emails and work out what I need to get done that day. I have a wall full of artists who inspire me in the studio. I love listening to podcasts, particularly when I am doing jobs like painting pots, which can be mundane and repetitive! I also love audiobooks (without a commute I have less time to read, but plenty of listening time in the studio). I also listen to Spotify, but sometimes I just work best in silence. Podcast recommendations – The High Low, Table Manners, Adam Buxton, Desert Island Discs, Happy Place, Talking Tastebuds. At the moment I have been making soup for lunch – I pretty much always bring in something I have made myself (I love cooking). If I haven’t I like to get a whole bag of brussel sprouts and have them with lots of marmite, or have a boiled egg and rye toast!
What keeps you motivated and where do you look to for inspiration?
Whenever I am feeling uninspired I like to go and look at other artists’ work. I love going to exhibitions, it is what really fuels me to keep going. I am also really motivated by the community of artists around me. I sell some work through an online platform called Partnership Editions, which in turn has formed a really wonderful group of emerging artists. There is a real community feel with the Partnership Editionsartists, which is brilliant as there is often a feel in London that the idea of the community is disappearing.
Your biggest achievement so far?
Your last adventure?
I recently went to Thailand. I’ve never been to that area of the world before and I absolutely loved it. The people were so friendly and the food was absolutely delicious. We did a cooking course when we were there so I am currently attempting to cling onto the holiday as best as I can by cooking the local cuisine!
Here’s the tough one…If you could only listen to one song, read one book, watch one film and speak to one person for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
That is tough! My song would be ‘Let It Be’ The Beatles, a classic. My film would be Notting Hill, I have seen it hundreds of times but never tire of it. If I could only speak to one person it would be my boyfriend, Ned.
Any inspiring Instagram accounts for us to follow?
How do you maintain work/life balance as a freelancer?
I stick to a working week and aim to have weekends off. Most of my friends work 9-5 so this means I can see people at weekends. I think weekends are so important, to give your mind a rest before the next week. This isn’t always possible and I do find myself working weekends sometimes.
How do you wind down at the end of the day?
I find cooking really relaxing and a great way to wind down after a long day in the studio. I go through different phases of one pot dinners like curries or soups, or lots of roasted veggies – I aim to cook these to have the next day for lunch in the studio. I love having a glass of wine at home but I try to refrain as much as I can in the week to avoid a foggy head the next day. I always plan to read and I love reading in bed, but more often than not after a long day I watch TV or whatever season I am into on Netflix. I go to bed around 10/10.30pm.