Maisie Pritchard: “Art is not only entertainment, it is an outlet for most people”

Artist Maisie Pritchard talks about the impact of coronavirus on her artistic practice and creating Last Place On Earth

What’s your artistic background?
I am a visual artist. I use woodwork as a medium to create functional art and social sculpture, which is sometimes merged with gardening. My works tend to be installed in public spaces and pockets of corporate colonisation.

Tell us about your practice now – what’s the most satisfying thing? The most challenging? How has it evolved?
My practice has been put on hold due to COVID-19 as I tend to work within the public sphere, I have facilitated a few workshops separately to the project and that has been rewarding. This time has given me the chance to think about new artworks, whilst resting on previous thoughts and ideas.

The impact of COVID-19 on Future 20 has been immense for me, and like every other member, my role has changed in the project. I have at times felt disconnected from my personal practice, and I have been focused on small artworks or acts of wellbeing.

What made you want to be a part of Future 20?
Being a recent graduate from the Manchester School of Art, I felt eager to dive straight into any opportunity I felt connected to, I saw Future 20 as a chance to share and explore ideas in my practice.

What’s the most exciting part of this brief for you?
I would say being part of a diverse group of creatives, the call-out specified a range of skills and talent, and I think that we have it. The idea of working with creative professionals from HOME felt exciting too.

What do you think art brings to your life?
A chance or space to think, reflect, react, expand, and explore ideas surrounding our world and our environment.

We’re living in very unusual times – how do you think art can help us deal with that?
On a wider level, I think that art has been very necessary for society. If we didn’t have a creative industry sector, how could we watch films in quarantine etc.? Though, art is not only entertainment, it is an outlet for most people – whether that be craft, painting or sculpture. I am grateful for my art.

What’s your biggest artistic ambition?
I can’t say, I’m not too sure at the moment. All I’m thinking is that I would like to get to a place where I can secure funding, and work on a great idea that involves a public audience or working with a specific group of participants. It would be great to produce large scale works and develop my skills in woodwork.

Future 20 is a year-long project – how has that affected your practice?
Future 20 has helped me to obtain a vigorous artistic practice since leaving art school. Whilst having the odd work or project, I have felt buzzing from the constant meetups and work, which has been very beneficial in keeping me engaged in my own practice. The collaborative process has been useful as I can apply this experience to other projects.

What role do you think the arts should play in building the future?
I have always thought, and will always stick by my opinion that art should be accessible to everyone. It can be exclusive, elitist and hostile. I don’t care for that. I think that we can break this down by making sure art reaches everybody in society – this may sound unrealistic but I think we can try our best. Art is therapy, entertainment, communication, social awareness, creativity and education.