Odd Sox: An Interview with Louise Revill
FINDING HUMOUR THERAPEUTIC,
BEING PERFECTLY IMPERFECT,
AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF DARKNESS.
It's hard to resist odd Jeff. He speaks to the cynic in me. Yes, I believe in love. I love rainbow, unicorns, daisies, sunny days, and all the wonderful cheesy sappy aspects about living a happy-go-lucky existence. Life isn't a bed of roses, however, and one needs a sense of humour to get through the rocky and dark times. Louise Revill of Odd Sox has a wicked sense of humour. Her anti-valentine sentiments and biting approach to life's most sentimental events is exhilarating, and culminates in her wacky character Jeff. It's no wonder tons of her fans scramble to get a Jeff of their very own. He resonates with the inner critic in all of us - the part in us that says 'f%$k this BS' whenever life throws us curve-balls, and the part in us that wants people who proclaim making lemonade out of lemons to just shove it. Louise worries that some may not get her sardonic sense of humour. I get it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. We all laugh right along with Louise because it's true what she says...laughter is the best medicine. I love Louise's stuff and you can bet I will be one of those folks in line waiting to grab her next creation. I was lucky enough to get to know the colourful artist behind scornful but love-able Jeff.
What inspires you?
Sometimes everything, sometimes nothing at all. It depends what kind of mood I'm in!
There's always humour to be found, even in the darkest dark and I think that's what I like to portray, though I'm not sure anyone else really gets that!
How and when did you first get started as an artist?
Well to be honest, I feel like I'm only just getting started now, though all my life I've had some kind of project on the go. I have to be doing something with my hands. I'm not very good at sitting and doing nothing!
What is the most challenging part about creating your artwork?
That I don't always have the health or the energy to work as much as I want to. When I'm not well, I have a sense of humour fail, and I can't do what I do without it!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I'd take a Doris Day or Audrey Hepburn film over Tim Burton any day. I'm not really into anything dark or macabre. The things I make aren't really me. I've struggled a lot with mental illness over the years and that's where characters like 'Jeff' come from. There's always humour to be found, even in the darkest dark and I think that's what I like to portray, though I'm not sure anyone else really gets that! It doesn't matter though. Different things speak to different people at different times. I'm just forever humbled that people see something that speaks to them in my creations, so it's all good really.
If you could go back in time, what would you change (if anything)?
I'd change my name. I hate Odd Sox with a passion but I think I'm stuck with it now.
How has your artwork changed over time? (or has it?)
It changes all the time and I hope it keeps on changing. I have to say it's gotten a little darker. Some things I used to make (especially before the Internet) were perhaps a bit too cutsie. Now I like to think what I do is creepy cute. Creepy on its own doesn't really do it for me. The materials I use have also changed. Back in the day almost everything I made was from socks. Back when it was cute and quirky before every man and his dog starting making sock creatures! Mind you that's not a complaint. Socks are a great 'gateway' material to get people started on a crafty journey. It's a very accessible craft and that can only be a good thing, right?
Favourite or most inspirational place where you live?
I'm lucky to live on the edge of the New Forest and close to the sea. To me that's the best of both worlds. I love dark, damp, misty days in the forest. The kind where the silence just sort of hangs in the air. Haha, that might sound depressing, but to me it's perfection!
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
To be original and be true to yourself. What I make is not who I am, but it's a part of who I am. I think that's why when people copy, it's doesn't really work. Your audience is not stupid. They know if you're faking it. No one wants to buy into a fake. I'm not sure I'd want to spend my life taking credit for someone else's ideas either. It's like cheating at Monopoly. You might win, but you'll have a sad empty void that you'll have to fill with something else. Cake probably! ;)
Most interesting critique you have ever received regarding your works?
That it was 'perfectly imperfect'. I like that.
When you think of the concept of 'the artist's ego', what comes to mind?
I know a lot of artists' self esteem seem to be connected to sales. Few sales = low self esteem. Lots of sales = lots of self esteem. I'm not entirely sure that's how it's supposed to work. It would be good to just be able to create and enjoy the process no matter what the outcome. Mind you, I'm not really one to talk. I suffer from paper fright. I have so many blank sketchbooks that I dare not draw in. (In case, God forbid, I should make a mess)! It's probably why I sew!
Most difficult part about being an artist?
That what I do is never good enough. I'm on an artful journey and have to accept that I am where I am, but often I wish I could jump ahead to where I really want to be.
Why do you think there is a growing interest in macabre and grotesque art?
I think that even the shiniest happiest people have a dark side. Maybe it's just a way of connecting with and expressing that?
Best novel you have ever read?
I would probably have to say The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Can I have two? I didn't read much as a child, and came to these books in my late teens. I cried at both as I didn't want either of them to end. Ask me on a different day though and I mighty give you a different answer. I'm fickle, and my favourite things change with my mood!
What terrifies you the most?
The immense power of the mind and how we can scare ourselves to death just with our own thinking - and how easily we can get drawn into that cycle of fear. I could talk about that all day, but probably best to leave it there!