To kickstart the New Year, we’ve decided to run a collective Q&A so you can get to know the people behind Merrie Studios a little better.
First up is Katie Hopkins, the woman behind all-things marketing and comms for The Merrie Collective, digital marketing executive at Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, freelance digital marketing assistant and content creator.
1. Why did you join the collective?
When the first lockdown was announced, I was in the midst of finishing my degree at Manchester Fashion Institute. Going from working in the studio space, mixing and having creative conversations every day, I felt lost – that’s where ‘Our Diary Project’ picked up the pieces. It was great to celebrate the arts back in my hometown and work with other likeminded – and lovely – individuals, at a time when I felt particularly isolated. Establishing the collective was a big moment for me, being part of something with a future of possibilities helped me get through 2020 for sure.
2. Who is your favourite artist at the minute?
I recently discovered Jeff Mermelstein’s photobook ‘NYC’ and was lucky enough to receive a copy for Christmas. The text message narrative that runs through the imagery is colloquial, complex, but completely contemporary and iconic, in my eyes. If you have chance to flick through a copy, you’ll see what I mean!
3. Where do you find your inspiration?
In lots of places. Recently, being stuck between 4 walls with nowhere to go and not much to do, I’m dreaming of travelling, the future, and what’s coming next. This guides my motivation and certainly gives me a boost of inspiration when I’m stuck in a routine. Books like ‘The Hinterland’ and ‘Scandinavia Dreaming’ by Gestalen, pack me full of ideas – whether that’s colours to work with, the urge to pick up my camera, or just taking the time to sketch.
4. What are you most excited to work on next?
2021 feels like a big year for the collective, our first full year working together! There’s lots of creative ideas in the pipeline – some more experimental than others – that we hope can be weaved into our programme of events. Sorry, not giving away any spoilers!
Personally however, I’ve recently got back into embroidery – more specifically punch needling – after avoiding a needle and thread since my time at college studying Fashion. I’d love to create some home furnishings, but I’m still getting the hang of things just yet.
5. What does being from the Merrie City mean to you?
I once thought I’d have to go to Leeds to find anything I needed, or even to soak up some city culture. But since moving back home and with more conversations with artists in Wakefield, I’ve discovered its hidden gems, history and what’s really going on behind the scenes. So, to answer the question, I’m proud to be from Wakefield, and even more proud to be making our own mark on the city.
6. What would you like to see happen in Wakefield's art scene?
Music is a huge part of my life and who I am today, so I’d love to see a live music venue pop up that’s friendly and a guaranteed good night out. It would be wonderful to see my favourite artists without the travel to a venue in a larger city, and god forbid a train or replacement bus at 1am!
7. What's your biggest creative achievement yet?
I’m not great at remembering big achievements, but my first-class degree should really be one of them. Having missed out on a graduation due to the dreaded ‘C’ word, I think I’ve forgotten I actually finished university. Being approached for freelance work since then definitely gives me a buzz too!
8. Describe ‘The Merrie Collective’ in one word…
Friendly. We’re a lovely bunch and I’m honestly so lucky to call them my friends. Zoom meetings will have to suffice at the moment, but I can’t wait to go to the pub and have a laugh outside our ‘work’ environment.
You can follow Katie on Instagram @katiehportfolio, if you’ve enjoyed her Q&A.
Keep an eye out for next month’s instalment…