• Sophie Vallance Cantor

    Sophie Vallance Cantor

    Scottish artist Sophie Vallance (b.1993) makes graphic yet intriguingly nostalgic paintings that possess an enigmatic charm. Solidly imposed areas of pure color are juxtaposed with imagery reminding one of the evocative motifs of Toulouse Lautrec and yet Vallance’s pictures seem transformed by an unmistakably personal view and power of expression often only seen in outsider work. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally with Arusha Gallery Edinburgh, Mall Galleries London, Breach Gallery Miami, Everyday Gallery in Belgium, among others.

  • Can you describe your creative practice?

    That’s a really hard question to sum up because it honestly feels like a part of me. It is shaped by my life, and my life is shaped by it. It’s an ever changing, growing, moving thing that challenges me every day, and I'm very grateful for it. 


  • Where do you find inspiration for your compositions?

    Eleni (2021)

    Where do you find inspiration for your compositions?

    Often ideas for paintings start from real life, (events, stories, things I’ve read, conversations) and one of the most challenging parts for me is the process of taking the idea of what I want the painting to portray and working out how to create it visually. Recently I’ve been spending a lot more time on the drawing process before I get to the canvas, really considering composition carefully and not rushing it just because I want to paint. Sometimes I’ll sit with an idea for ages, or put it to the back burner because I can’t work out a great composition for it and only return when it feels right. 



  • What role does text play in your work? Does it relate to the imagery you employ?

    Text is something I haven’t been using as much recently in such a direct way, but is still incredibly important as it’s often how I come up with ideas for new works. As I said in the previous answer I’m always on the lookout for ideas from real life, and they often manifest as things people have said which I've written down and saved. In the past, text within my paintings was interesting because visually it usually wasn’t just about language, but about composition and using it as a visual element. 


  • What in particular appeals to you about the square canvas? Was this a conscious decision to work predominantly in a...

    Douglas's Pineapple Tacos

    What in particular appeals to you about the square canvas? Was this a conscious decision to work predominantly in a square format?

    Around 2016, I was feeling very lost within my practice and my husband Douglas encouraged me to start working larger, he stretched a 170x170cm canvas for me, and immediately I felt at home with the format. My compositions are usually what I could consider contained within the parameters of the canvas, and often use symmetry, so the square format lends itself to balance things visually like this. It’s honestly at the point where I struggle to make work on non square formats (even my drawings are on square paper, and in the past I made a series on napkins) and my way around that is to make a composition as two squares stuck together if it's necessary for an idea!

  • Would you agree that your practice serves as a visual journal, it appears to be very personal to you?

    It completely is a very personal thing in terms of content but also the process of making paintings as a release, a comfort, a catharsis, and a drive to understand myself. My subject matter has always come from a personal place, often based on real events or conversations, even if they are elaborated upon, or re-imagined into less realistic contexts. Recently I have begun delving deeper into the portrayal of people in my work, most often as self portraits and portraits of people close to me. It has felt fitting to be exploring this during lockdown when it feels like our lives have gotten slower, smaller, and more distilled. Painting myself has felt so natural as it’s my most expedient subject matter under the circumstances, and painting friends who are far away feels like a way to keep them close. 


  • Your husband, Douglas Cantor, is also an artist. Have you collaborated on projects before? If so, do you find this a motivating agent in the development of your practices?

    Me and Douglas don’t collaborate on the physical making of paintings, but we love to show work together, and we share a studio where we make work. One of the most memorable exhibitions was one that we put together ourselves in Berlin. We completely transformed our apartment into an exhibition space by moving all the furniture and blocking off all the other rooms. Douglas was the driving force behind it and it felt like a taking back of control back into our hands as the artists. Generally in life I feel so grateful to be making paintings next to him, growing together and as individuals and it is definitely motivating to be challenged yet supported on a daily basis. 


  • 'Dress The Part - Douglas' (2021)
  • Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions that we can look forward to?

    Currently I have two paintings in ‘Now, Now’ at Breach Miami, and in July me and Douglas are having a duo show at NBB in Berlin. And later in the year I have a couple of solo shows coming - watch this space!


  • Morning Coffee (2021)