Sid Motion

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As her eponymous gallery celebrated it’s first birthday, and the current exhibition Colour, Order, System settled into its bright and airy setting, we met with Sid Motion; to talk positive pressure, art world obsessions and the blood-sugar-rescuing potential of flapjacks.

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, I was going to tell you about the show, Colour, Order, System. Primarily, it’s a painting show, but it’s been really nice to include sculptural works [by Roland Hicks], and do the window piece [by Fiona Grady], which was such an exciting thing to commission.

I have shown a lot of painting, but in this show it feels like the focus has shifted to something a bit more abstract, and especially in the summer with such lovely light, it’s nice to be able to celebrate colour and form. It feels appropriate.

I feel so strongly that it’s only what you make it, the more I put in, the bigger it can be.

Did you always know you wanted to be a curator?

Yes, I did. It always felt like quite a distant dream to actually have a gallery—and it was all about finding this space, and realising it was actually possible—but I knew I wanted to do it, because it’s all the things I love.

I love looking at work, I love pulling works together and being able to make connections, and I suppose importantly, it’s really exciting to be able to pair collectors up with nice works.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

This is a really cheesy answer, but definitely the gallery. I find it so exciting, especially now [that I’m here full time], it’s a really exciting chapter. After I finished at my other job, I walked through the door of the gallery and just thought, “This is my life now!”

I feel so strongly that it’s only what you make it, the more I put in, the bigger it can be. I could see it as pressure, but I’ve decided to see it as a positive.

What’s your wardrobe strategy?

I wear very simple things, the simpler the better. I do often get told that I wear far too much black...


I feel like a snail in my shell.

What does a typical day look like?

I normally start the day with a studio visit, or a meeting with a collector, before I come to the gallery. And I set it up with an ethos of being open and accessible, I just really want as many people as possible to come in and see the shows. So I cram the diary with meetings, and we have a talks programme for each exhibition, which are usually in the end run, and inject some energy into the last few days.

What’s your side hustle?

In many ways this has been my side hustle for quite a long time, so shifting it into my full time thing has been really nice!

What would your fallback career be?

It would definitely be something in the art world. I’ve always been intrigued by being a studio manager, I think it would be really nice to immerse yourself in one person’s practice in that way.

My friends are wrapped up in my work, and my work is wrapped up in my life.

What’s the trashiest thing you love?

It’s not trashy at all, but I’m obsessed with following other galleries and artists on social media. It’s not necessarily trashy, but it is an obsession.

What are you reading at the moment?

Seven Days in the Art World, by Sarah Thornton. I’m quite late to it to be honest, each chapter is focussed on a different facet of the art world, whether it’s auctions or studios. It’s one of those books where you start recognising the people and situations being discussed.

What is your rescue snack of choice?

The word rescue really made me think of art fairs... I always go to them with a flapjack in my bag.

Where is your happy place?

At the moment, it’s definitely the gallery. I feel like a snail in my shell.

How’s your work/life balance?

They’re totally one and the same for me. My friends are wrapped up in my work, and my work is wrapped up in my life. Of course it was a huge risk to open the gallery and it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s come to a nice point where it feels like it’s happening.

I was born in London, and I think that the city is filled with some of the best art in the world.

Where’s your favourite art spot?

I was born in London, and I think that the city is filled with some of the best art in the world. There is so much to see, but I’ve become completely obsessed by King’s Cross. There are more and more galleries here all the time, and it just feels like a really creative place to be. It’s on the cusp of becoming something really quite interesting and it’s a privilege to be part of it in a small way.

What inspired you to join Marguerite?

Jo and I set up our companies at the same time, and I do feel very invested in her success, it’s such a privilege to see how well Marguerite is doing. She’s made something really special, and as we were saying, there are so many women in the art world who are very collegial and friendly and open, and to put us all together in an environment that is educational and fun, it’s a really nice thing.

Where do you hang out at the weekend?

Well, I’ve been working on the weekends, but I am lucky that my friends come and hang out with me!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I’m here all the time, so my guilty pleasure is from my landlords at the kebab shop! They make a mean Halloumi wrap.

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

I play this game all the time, I’d like a really strong female artist who I admire, so I think I’d have Frida Kahlo or Alice Neel. I’d definitely have David Attenborough, Stephen Hawkins and Larry David. And I’d have my twin brother, purely because, he’s my best friend, and I’d need to talk to someone about it afterwards.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be better at languages, because I love to travel, and I don’t have any language skills at all. When you’re travelling it’s so nice to be able to sink right in, rather than being the English person... like, “Sorry!”

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Definitely the gallery. When I started looking for a space I couldn’t fathom I’d be able to get it together to be more than a pop-up. To have a more permanent set up feels like a huge achievement and the opening last June was heaving with people. I remember sitting here [towards the back of the gallery], taking a breather, and not quite being able to believe that it had happened.

What’s next for 2017?

I’m looking forward to a very busy summer programme, I think it’s nice, especially in Kings Cross where there are so many people around, to put on really special shows over the summer.

Why don't you visit Sid Motion Gallery at 142 York Way, N1 0AX! Colour, Order, System is open until 28 July.
Words by Billie Muraben. Photography by Holly Whittaker.