Mia Meets… Phoebe Wright-Spinks

Interview by Mia Kingsley

This week I will be chatting to a good friend of mine whom I have known for 5 years now but seems like so much more. When you meet Phoebe Wright-Spinks you instantly know that she is a one of a kind, breathing an energy that I think is hard to come by in our current world. Full of creativity, beauty, charm and character she is an artist of many mediums, takes part in some extremely exciting projects and is planning her final performance of her uni years, so who better to interview for this weeks ‘Mia Meets…’? She also modelled for us and will be featured in this years summer issue trend story, so keep your eyes peeled for that too! She doesn’t own an iPhone, she has a singing dog, lives by the sea, writes poetry and on occasion runs through the forest nude (for art projects of course!) meet the magical Phoebe Wright-Spinks….

Your currently studying at Brighton uni, this is your third year! Tell us about it…

Three years in Brighton has been incredible! Its such a great place to live, filled with so many vibrant and interesting people, many of them arts based which is really nice since they keep you feeling inspired!

Right now, It feels like it has come to the crunch time as there is a mountain of tasks to do for my rapidly approaching degree show, ‘Touching at a Distance’ which consists of a musical element combined with live video art.

You have been brought up in a musically encouraging family, do you feel this has had an impact on you creatively? 

As you in particular know; my mother is apt to bring out the guitar and other instruments at 3am in the morning and everyone tends to get involved. My little sisters are both very talented- so I’d watch their space too!

The dog sings too.

It must be really exciting mixing your musical talents with new found mediums that your course has encouraged you to explore, what has been your favourite collaboration so far?

I’m pretty into making films, and composing music to accompany these. My current project is a mix between live music and live video art. I  love working with live elements as the outcome changes each time.

If you could collaborate with anyone, using any mediums what would be your dream?

The first person that pops into my head is Bowie… (although my uncle Pedro got there first!) as I saw the recent V&A exhibition on his work where it becomes apparent that his works are bursting with mixed mediums, lyrically, musically and visually.

You are part of an all female choir ‘Breathing Space’ which formed and had their first performance at the Lugus event by Stephen Shiell for Cody Dock, your latest project involved you singing to an audience in a swimming pool!! Tell us more, it must have been an amazing experience? 

Yes,  and I have been astounded by the response; I kept getting texts telling me that we’re on the news! Water carries sound 4 times faster than air, so the sound inside the water was completely different from outside, above water it was the sound of voices bouncing off the water but if you have your head under you can hear every word…

Talking of new experiences how was it modelling for Cooler!? You were a great model by the way 😉

Thanks,  I felt like we are a good team!

How about the clothes? Did you like them?

I’m definitely a fan of white cotton in summer so I loved that all in one suit and the two piece. It was hard to let them go….

It was pretty hard keeping the white clothes clean considering we were shooting in mud! Have you ever had any other times when you have been challenged during performances or shows?

One thing I’ve learnt though doing performance is that you have to always expect the unexpected.

One time, at a sold out mansion arts party, the whole sound desk went down and all we were left with was a microphone and a grand piano, a friend and I had to improvise the accompaniment for all the next acts, which ended up being fun… I encounter this kind of untapped element consistently in my current practice, as it is very technological, which can get pretty glitchy. I’ve ended up embracing the glitch.

I know your family is a big inspiration for you, what or who else encourages you?

The outdoors. I do so much of my filming, writing and thinking there.  You can truly exercise your mind there and I believe its important to step away from technology from time to time to wander round in green. The fresh air makes ideas flow.

When writing your poems what makes you put pen to paper, do you have to be in particular mood?

It’s hard to say. Sometimes I feel that writing unlocks ideas, in a really different way to talking to someone about it. Often I don’t remember when I have written something until I find it and it recalls the exact mood and feeling of when it was written. Writing is a great way to engage with yourself creatively, even if I don’t feel like it  I try to write every day.

Who do you admire in the poetry, music and art world?

That’s a big question! I go through intense phases of one thing to the next. Music that you can dance to is great, I have been listening to lots of Jungle (the band) and also been really enjoying listening to the radio, otherwise its easy to get stuck in a rut of listening to the same thing all the time. I recently read The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen, which is the most beautiful narrative prose and language. I really enjoy art that’s out of the gallery, one of my favourite things I have ever seen was a Sea Organ in Croatia but that’s not too accessible…

Do you have any recommendations for books we must read!?

Lately, I have been reading into the effects of sound upon humans. We live in such a visual culture, it is astonishing our brain responds more to sound than sight! If you are interested in the history of sound, which is actually really overlooked and genuinely fascinating, read David Hendy Noise, a human history.

What was the last show/ exhibition you attended that impressed you? 

I just saw Momentum at the curve, a light and sound show. I lost track of time there. If you see it, you will know what I mean!

What are you really into at the moment? What are listening too, wearing and reading?

I’m really into hula hooping right now. I find it really mentally important to have physical activity I am doing and hula dancing is definitely a fun way to do it. I have also invested in some trainers lately and I can hardly bear to take them off- so comfy! I’m really into denim right now too.

Your course in Brighton is nearly over, what’s next for you Phoebe?!

My time here has literally flown… I’d like to form a collective with some of the people I have been studying with, and continue practicing arts and music, potentially looking at composing music for film. I think I will see what opportunities come to me and just say ‘YES!’ for a while. 

Thanks so much Phoebe!! Good luck with your degree show, and we look forward to seeing you in our next printed issue!!

If you want to see more of Phoebe’s work, listen to ‘Breathing Space’ or Phoebe’s solo music follow the links below:

Breathing Space Facebook

The next ‘Mia Meets…’ will be out this coming Thursday but until then for more Mia Kingsley:



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