'OUR WORK IS SO DIFFERENT THAT CONFLICT IS VERY UNLIKELY'

Artist Paula Rego, 61, has been a mentor to Laura Godfrey Isaacs, 30, since they met while Godfrey Isaacs was studying at the Slade art school in London, where Rego was a visiting lecturer

Paula Rego: "I was passionately interested in Laura's work, and I was curious to see what she would do next.

"I just went in to her studio one day and said: 'What have you done now? Let's have a look.'

"For me, our relationship has been good, not because I taught her but because seeing her work also helped me with my own. It's not that you copy something, it isn't as simple as that, but it is very exciting when you see somebody doing something different, something you hadn't thought of. Sometimes I'd say one thing and something completely different would happen; that is exciting, too. It feeds you as an artist.

"We shared things, all sorts of things. Art, clothes, stuff like that, it's all part of the same thing anyway. There is no separation between life and art.

"People who go to art school are artists: they may be young, but they have committed themselves. We are equal, except they have less practice than I have because I've done it for a long time.

"When you're a student you get very, very depressed and never think it is going to be all right. Being a 'mentor' is about being encouraging, mostly, of saying: 'Stick with it, no matter what. Follow your nose. Try and do what you really want to do.'

"This idea that you have to knock artists in order that they fight back is a load of balls. I don't like teaching one bit. What made it bearable was having Laura and the other women in her studio there. They saved my life, they were my friends.

"As you get older you still need encouragement because you are not sure what you are doing most of the time. Age and success makes no difference at all, really. You just trust yourself a bit more."

Laura Godfrey Isaacs: "I am the first artist in my family, so I got no active encouragement as I was growing up. I had to fight to do what I wanted to do. By the time I met Paula I was desperate for a role model. She was the first female lecturer I had ever had. She had become successful fairly late in life, and that was inspiring. There is a lot of emphasis on being very successful very young.

"Like Paula, my sensibility is not British but we were both trained in the British figurative tradition. Knowing she had the same preoccupations was encouraging.

"After the Slade we carried on being friends. What she has done for me is very profound. At college there was this feeling that if you were a serious artist it would be inadvisable to have children. Paula has three and has carried on making work throughout; and her work has blossomed. I now have a baby daughter.

"As well as the warmth and vitality there is a steeliness, an evil in Paula's work. It has been very important to me that her work is very seductive but also has this real nastiness. It is not easy, or sugary. Our work is so different on the surface that conflict is very unlikely.

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Sales Account Manager...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines