I first met my friend, Heather Scott when we were both on the MA Art & Science course at Central Saint Martins here in London. Out of all the students on the course, we were amongst a limited number who were keenly interested in combining our art practices with elements from the universe and outer space.
Heather intrigued me also because of her fascination in black holes and because of her keen sense of design in her work. Trying to weave together the complexities of everything that a black hole is to elements in the design world is a huge challenge to say the least but Heather knew how to bridge this and it was a fascinating experience being witness to her discoveries along the way.
Just below before we begin are some of Heather's images as they are fascinating and worth a look with fresh eyes before you get to know her work and reasons behind what she does:
So wanting to know more about my friend and her work and her life as an artist, I'm super pleased that she agreed to be interviewed for my art blog!
1. Franceska: When you were young, was there someone or something that inspired you in the arts?
Heather: At school I had a great graphic design teacher who inspired me to go into graphic design but I have always drawn inspiration from around me and my interests. I can’t remember there being a particular thing that inspired me but I know I have been making art since I was very young.
2. Franceska: When you need to create, what methods to you use and why?
Heather: I always need to be making or be creative in whatever form that manifests itself. My main go to is drawing, especially illustration, I like creating fantasy images or just drawing what comes to mind at the time.
3. Franceska: Where did you study and what part of your education has helped you the most in your career? Were there any teachers or courses that really got you going?
Heather: I feel like my whole art/graphic education has helped me in a roundabout way. At school it was something that I loved doing and was good at so I wanted to work hard and learn more about it. It also helped that my teacher was really good as well and had worked in the industry before teaching. He encouraged me by pushing me out of my comfort zones and made me want to be better. Undergrad helped me understand why I wanted to be a graphic designer and the style of my design. I also learnt how to explain my concepts and understand how my design could be applied in the wider world, to help people understand larger concepts or educate them on world issues. Doing my masters helped me with networking and freelancing, working on internal projects to help promote our course and external work from friends and opportunities from the uni. Before this I had not really exhibited my work so I learnt a lot and it was good practice in public relations.
4. Franceska: I’m a big admirer of your “speed builds” in the Sims, can you describe what enticed you to start creating these speed builds?
Heather: I started making speed builds in The Sims to work on my video editing skills and because I have always loved building and creating in The Sims but it was not until I started watching others on YouTube that I started to work out what I needed to do to create my own. It has also helped with confidence, as I have to talk about my builds and open up about my life and experiences.
5. Franceska: Do you have any Sims “speed builders” who you really admire and why?
Heather: My favourite Simmer is James Turner aka. TheSimSupply. He inspires me because he is a great builder and tries to build things that are realistic but also out of the ordinary and different. He always goes the extra mile and works hard to create something good and entertaining. I also find his Let’s Plays hilarious and ridiculous, which inspired me to start creating my own Let’s Plays and to work harder to create content.
6. Franceska: Where do you find your inspirations behind your “speed builds”?
Heather: I find inspiration from all over the place, quite literally sometimes. I love exploring places and seeing what different types of architecture there is around the UK. I love it when you walk down the street and pass a really interesting building and you stand there working out whether it’s possible to recreate it. I also like to recreate buildings from tv and films to see how accurate you can get with the limitations of objects and styles we have in the game.
7. Franceska: Do you have any advice for those of us just starting out on building in Sims or learning to do “speed builds”?
Heather: The advice I would give to someone thinking about starting to make ‘speed builds’ would be to find something you really want to make and something you think other people would be inspired by. Or you could think about a technique you do that could help other people with the game or to help them make something they never thought about making. I would also say that your videos don’t have to be perfect and no one expects you to be amazing straight away. Confidence and ideas take time to grow but as long as you are yourself and are genuine, you will be on the right track.
8. Franceska: Would you ever consider teaching a “speed build” workshop? If so, how would you structure it to help newbies?
Heather: I would like to have a workshop at some point in the future, as it would be great to meet other people who also love the game as much as I do. It would be great to be able to help anyone of any ability as I am still learning things about how to build so I’m sure I would also learn new ways of building from the people who would come, not just them learning from me.
9. Franceska: What is one of the biggest challenges you face as a Sims speed builder?
Heather: One of the biggest challenges, apart from the Youtube algorithm, is to create builds that have not been built before or to build something in a new way. This can be hard as there are only a finite number of styles and buildings in the world but the way that you build and think about how to recreate/create the build will always be unique to you. This makes it a bit easier but I still like to find out what builds are already out there and to create series that might use The Sims but also have an educational or story telling element to them to make them different.
10. Franceska: What is your favourite colour and has this evolved over the years?
Heather: My favourite colour has always been red and I don’t think it has ever changed. However, I am very partial to blue as well. I think I like red as it can mean a lot of different things - hot, fire, danger, love, brightness and it always attracts my attention.
11. Franceska: What are your biggest influences in your life now and how do they influence you?
Heather: The biggest influences in my life at the moment are places and the people I meet. I love to share ideas, stories and experiences to help understand this sometimes mad world we live on and hopefully I can, through my graphics or YouTube, inspire or help someone else to do this as well.
12. Franceska: Do you have a favourite creating method and why is it a favourite?
Heather: I think my favourite way to create, especially if something has inspired me, is to try out different ways to make something and just play with different mediums, methods and techniques to find the one method which I feel fits the subject matter. I love to try new things and don’t really get hung up on creating something in a practically why. I also like to be ambitious and if I have an idea for something, unless it completely does not work, I will always try to find how I can make it.
13. Franceska: Do you have any short or long term goals for yourself and your career? Where do you see yourself in a few years time?
Heather: My long-term goal is to have my own design studio, I would love to create a team of people with a wide range of skills to help other companies create designs they need. My short-term goal is to have another art exhibition and to learn more graphics skills to progress to higher levels and work on more creative and ambitious projects.
14. Franceska: We met in an art and science course and share similar interests. How have your art and science interests evolved since we first met?
Heather: The Art and Science course was a great way for me to explore my interest in finding what could be beyond a black hole. I got to work on and workout a few different theories about this subject and visualise some of them. I would love to explore some of the theories I didn’t have enough time to explore fully as each one has a different outcome to what might or would happen. I don’t feel as though my interests have changed but life has somewhat got in the way and I need to find sometime to indulge myself back into my research material.
15. Franceska: I love your reflective distortion drawings. Do you think you might do some more drawings like those in the future and if so what do you think might be an influence?
Heather: I really enjoyed making the reflection drawings and they were a large part of understanding and representing the possibilities of a multiverse or different dimensions. I would like to make a large-scale version or one that I could distort even more with mirrors; using three dimensions to create more of an experience than just a flat image.
16. Franceska: As a graphic designer, what are your main loves and hates in the industry and do you think there needs to be any changes for graphic designers?
Heather: What I love about graphic design is the possibility of being able to help others create something they need. In an ideal world I would love to create design that educates or informs, rather than selling or pressuring people into things.
From what I have experienced so far, there are a lot of people who think they can design, they may be able to create a nice bit of work but can’t understand the audience they are designing for or listen to what the client wants from the design and the humility to understand that there will always be someone that can create the design better than you but it’s the heart, soul and research you put into it that makes the design better. But that might just be me.
17. Franceska: Are there any graphic designers who you really admire and why?
Heather: There is one graphic designer that I admire, who also keeps popping up in most of my art or design research, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. My natural design style is similar to the Bauhaus and Moholy-Nagy but he too, took inspiration from science and mathematical ideas of the time. He was also forward thinking about social ideas and helped to form my own opinions about what we can do to help others and the world.
18. Franceska: Imagine you were at a dinner party and you could choose one famous person to sit beside you, who would this be and why would you choose this person and how do you think conversation would go?
Heather: If I were invited to a dinner party I would invite Stephen Hawking. I would invite Stephen because I would love to hear all this theories on Black Holes and test my own against him, even though he would probably tell me that they were not possible. I would also be interested in what he thought the new image of a black hole would lead to and whether he thought new ideas and theories would come from it.
19. Franceska: What is your superpower?
Heather: My superpower is to attack very slow moving people when I want to be moving quickly. I am also an empath so I can tell if someone I have a close connection to is upset or in a bad mood because it will flood me with that emotion.
20. Franceska: Tell me what a “Day in the life of Heather” is like?
Heather: A day in the life of Heather can be very different; on a working day I commute to London. The one good thing about commuting is that I get some dedicated time to read which is better than being on my phone or making everyone around me awkward by people watching. I get through the day by making jokes and trying to make the best out of what I have to do, it does help that I have a great person to work with on my team. On my days off, I like to spend time with family or friends. I like to cycle or do some yoga ie, falling over!
I also record my YouTube videos and build more houses. You have to have something delicious at least once a week and to try not to be too sarcastic towards other people. Adventure, fun and caring for others are essentials!
Thank you so much Heather for sharing about your life and your work! I have even more questions now which is just silly and I'm so excited about the possibilities of you making some more reflection drawings and explorations into your black hole research! Can't wait to see what unfolds!
If you want to keep up to date about Heather and her work then follow these links below:
See below one of Heather's speed builds from her Hevdonia Youtube Channel:
*If you enjoyed this Artist Interview and would like to see more like it then stay tuned every Friday at 9am UK time for more.
My name is Franceska McCullough and I'm the owner and artist of Toothpickmoon. Here I will share my studio practice in all it's forms.
*Disclosure: The links I'm using on this blog will only ever relate to the products I myself use in my own practice.