This week we focus our Spotlight on the amazing artist and musician Loz Tronic!
She lives in Haywards Heath in the UK, a gloomy commuter town in the South East of England. She is currently self-employed as a freelance audiobook proof-listener – basically she listens to raw audiobook .mp3 files and checks them against the original script for mistakes or extraneous sound. She says it’s a fun job!
When did you become a Toy Soldier?
I believe it was early 2009, shortly before Toy Soldier Day. I was laid up in bed with a bad back and was browsing online. I don’t remember how, but I stumbled across TSU and just fell in love with it – everyone seemed to have such a close community spirit. It was refreshing to see so many people celebrating the differences in one another. Sadly I’m something of a hermit and am yet to make it to an invasion.
What were your beginning influences in art and music?
In terms of art, I suppose that came first. I was born with a natural flair for drawing, which I suspect I inherited from my grandad. He used to draw a lot when I was little to entertain me, and I still remember how impressively quickly and confidently he would draw. There were also a couple of TV shows that I would watch back in the 1980s, ‘Cartoon Time’ and ‘Hart Beat’. I adored them as a child and would concentrate really hard in order to learn new techniques of drawing. In terms of music…my parents were heavily into music when I was a kid, so there would always be a lot playing in the car or at home. My dad also played guitar and would get my brother and I to sing along. I suppose the desire to play music really hit during the early 1990s when Britpop exploded onto the scene. I was a young teen, had been going through a heavy ‘Beatles phase’ and it just seemed perfect for me. I got my first guitar in 1995.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist and start creating art/music yourself?
I think I always wanted to be an artist. At primary school I used to love it when it rained and we had to come indoors, because it meant I could spend break times doodling on scrap paper. I wasn’t interested in playing outdoors at all. For as long as I can remember, people have always commented on my drawing talent. I suppose it’s not something I ever considered, myself, because I’d always been able to draw. I had my first moment of glory at age 10, when a drawing of mine was displayed at Stockport Art Gallery in Greater Manchester (I lived there at the time). I still have the drawing :) I guess I always thought I would be an artist, because everyone else assumed so too. I do recall a day a school when I was nine years old, and the teacher asked each pupil to stand up and announce what the wanted to be when they grew up. They were the usual things kids say at that age, ‘teacher’, ‘vet’, ‘fireman’, so when I stood up and said ‘popstar’ my teacher burst out laughing. I was furious, and inwardly promised that one day I’d show her!
You have a lovely voice Loz! Would you like to do more with music someday?
Thank you so much! Yes, I will definitely return to music. It’s the most cathartic thing for me. After I left my last band I did have plans to record a solo album – there were a few songs ready and I was in communication with musician friends and arranging the studio – but sadly life sometimes gets in the way. It was only when I stopped playing music that I considered giving painting a go – unbelievably I had never tried before. I knew I could draw but assumed I couldn’t paint, so never tried. It was a nice surprise to discover I could! Obviously now I paint a lot and it is quite time-consuming, so I have no immediate plans to make music. I miss singing terribly though. What could be more therapeutic than emptying your lungs into a mic?!
What’s the biggest thing you’ve procrastinated about, and how satisfied were you once you actually did it?
I procrastinate about everything. I’d say it was my biggest talent. I have an exhibition coming up very soon and I need to crack on and get some work done, but I think I’ve painted less in the past six months than I have in two years. Each time I have a new painting to do, I’ll find something else that is more ‘urgent’. I have no idea why. I think that because painting is such a challenge for me, and some of the pieces I have done have been extremely difficult, I just keep putting them off. The commissions in particular have been very challenging – because people are paying, in good faith, for a piece of art that means something to them personally, I find myself under a lot of pressure to deliver something exceptional. Of course this does mean that I usually do a better job. There was one I did recently that reduced me to tears! I always feel a sense of achievement after completing a piece, but it’s the response I get from the person commissioning it that really makes it worthwhile.
What drives you to keep going with your creativity?
I think if I didn’t act upon my creativity, two things would happen. Firstly, I would end up living and feeling like an automaton. Without expression, we’d just exist. I find this thought quite frightening and therefore I refuse to let it happen. Secondly, I think I would feel terribly guilty about not using the skills I was born with and spent years developing. It would be a dreadful waste. If I didn’t continue, I just wouldn’t be me. It’s what I am!
What would you say to others who would like to be artists?
Well, I don’t really have any pearls of wisdom to offer. I mean, I’ve been lucky enough in the past to visit other countries and experience new cultures and sights through my music. I was never on Top Of The Pops but, I loved every second of it and that will stay with me forever. With the art, it’s the same thing. Every day is a new learning curve, and I’m just floundering around hoping that it continues, because if you’d asked me a year ago when I was going to hold an exhibition, I’d have laughed in your face! I suppose what I’m trying to say is: If you love it, do it. And if other things come along as a result, then that’s a wonderful thing. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because doing something you love will always make you happy.
We know you have your first show coming up soon, what will be the next artistic goal in your life?
Wow, yes, the show. The show is filling me with equal parts of terror and excitement! If I’m being really honest, I don’t have any other goals lined up. I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s taking up all the space in my brain. Beyond that, there’s a big blank space. I suppose I’m just waiting to see what happens after the show. I could get another large wave of commissions, or things may just continue as normal and then I’d have the breathing space to hatch another plan…
I like not knowing what’s going to happen :)
Thank you so much Loz! This was a great interview! You have defiantly motivated me and I’m sure many others to keep creating!;) *salutes*