Swimmers Club

1st August 2016


Placeholder image

Courtesy of the artist

Municipal Pool

Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.


Who: Shelley Topping
Where: Belfast, UK
What: Colourist, designer.

So, who are you?

I am Shelley Anne.

Where are you from?

What feels like a shadow of a sad country, Northern Ireland. 

What do you do?

Formally I study Textile Art, Design and Fashion at Belfast School of Art. I’m spending this year playing the role of a colourist. Progressing towards a new era of surface pattern design, my hopes are that I do not fall into the preset of geometrics or florals. 

What time is it where you are and what are you doing right now?

Twenty one minutes past eleven at night and I am thinking of the next sentence. 

Who or what are you influenced by?

Instinctive thought and the confessional nature that comes with the art practice. 

Are you one of those people who like really loves technology?

As conflicted as I feel about technology, it has equally created opportunities and shortened the likelihood of others. 

The textile industry thrives on it and it can be a cruel position to be in trying to maintain the same pace as everyone else. 

I love how it advances me as a person yet at times it can feel so impersonal. This is what brings me closer to things like vinyl and disposable cameras. 

Do you still listen to music? If so, what's been the best stuff you've heard all year?

I could live in it. The best finds are at 3am when my thoughts are idle. Sibylle Baier’s album Colour Green is something I adore and has consoled me when no one else could. I was pushed in Daniel Johnston’s direction finding nothing but familiarity in “Story of an Artist”. My nostalgic being brings me an 80’s classic, Yazoo’s “Only You”. When I’m lost in ideas, Bjork’s “Pagan Poetry” and “Unravel” transcends my mental block and unearths new ways of thinking about whatever subject is on my mind.

Do you read? Tell us about good books you read this year?

A majestic creature bestowed upon me a secondhand copy of Betty Blue by Philippe Djian, my favourite film. Words cannot describe how much this babe, Betty radiates. True crime is an ugly thing but a good read, Susan Atkin’s Child of Satan, Child of God got me hooked from the first page. It’s a 1978 edition with pages that have turned yellow with age and I honestly feel so blessed to have found it. Of course Manson by Jeff Guinn rests against this. I will never not be fascinated by the dichotomy of good and evil. 

 What are you currently working on?

I started this site, www.shelleyannedesign.com to give my work visibility but it also acts as an archive for everything worthy I’ve produced. Making an effort in trying to make my work accessible by collecting interesting fabrics and visual inspiration to recreate it. On the DL, I’m dipping into some delicious mid century modern art and making shapes. My preference is squares. 

Broadening my vocab with beautiful sentences I hear on TV. Catching up on episodes of Buffy.

'Every single commodity you produce is a piece of your own death'. Discuss?

 In the words of Marilyn Manson, “Each thing I show you is a piece of my death”. 

 So do you fancy yourself as some kind of artist or what?

Wouldn’t that be lovely?

'Quit... quit... you should quit... you should quit... you should... you should...'. Should you quit?

Just the usual everyday internal conflict.

Are you just in it for the money?

Money provides the material to make it real and the platform to share. But the driving force is concept. I just want to share.

Can you give us the names of two other interesting people who you think we may not have heard of but should have heard of?

Fenton - you might catch him in the library late on Thursday nights. 

Veronika - her talk is sweet is sour like crab apples but her freckles are sweet like summer fruits.