About the artist
Photos, paintings, portraits, sculptures
Sophie Grillet - Art
Sophie is a British artist working in Ann Arbor, Michigan, serving clients mostly in southeast Michigan and the greater Detroit area. Her preferred media are: painting in oils and acrylics; sculpture in stone, metal and clay; pastel, drawings, and photography. Much of her work is abstract, but it is always about something, and often has interesting titles. She likes to experiment with all kinds of media from aluminum to yarn.
Being insatiably curious, Sophie attempts to integrate her interests in art, social justice, science (physics and ecology), and math, but the journey has just begun. Her work reflects on the tragedy of our love of natural beauty and our haste to destroy it.
Back when Sophie lived in the UK, she was a cartoonist for books, magazines and national newspapers, such as The Guardian, The Observer and the London Evening Standard. She studied at the Central St Martins School of Art (Foundation year) in London, and graduated from the University of Brighton.
Soon after graduating (with Honors) in Visual Communication, Sophie chose to fill a knowledge gap in Physics and Mathematics, which she then studied with the Open University in the UK. Several of her 3D works and paintings reflect this interest.
Sophie was Artist-in-Residence at Spread Art, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd, Detroit in Nov 2016. In three weeks, she created five paintings and a print set of the Detroit River, had a well-attended art exhibition and directed an evening of rap, song and poetry at which the entire, extremely diverse audience movingly sang along to the late Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.
Since 2005, Sophie has been a Docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, since November 2019 a member of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission, and since October 2020 a Board Member and Chair of Communications for the Huron River Art Collective. (See further information below.)
When the Velvet Revolution began in Prague in 1989, Sophie traveled there and made drawings which appeared in the pre-publication issue of the Independent on Sunday, and in the Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper. The drawings are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Sophie is a Docent at the UoM Museum of Art (UMMA). Volunteering to lead guided tours for kids, students, adults and adults with memory loss through the Meet Me at UMMA program, in which she is a founding member. She loves to research the history behind the art, and find links between apparently disparate works. Finding scientific angles for the Physics Department's summer student group is always a highlight. She has been involved at UMMA with special programs for Autistic kids and for summer math programs for Ypsilanti schools, as well as creating workshops for the family art-making program.
Recently, Sophie was asked to assist with research into the background to 18th Century paintings for an UMMA exhibition which will roll out over 2021, Unsettling Histories, about slavery and colonialism.
Sophie is a founder (2012) and the organizer for Westside Art Hop, a twice-yearly local art walk in Ann Arbor, MI. Suspended in 2020 for Covid-19, Art Hop will be entering its 9th year, and has gone from 12 artists to around 60. She also organized a Zone5 Art Show & Sale, in Plymouth Michigan.
From time to time Sophie teaches classes or individuals in drawing or abstract painting. Please contact if you would like to be on the mailing list, or to ask about remote one-on-one lessons.
Socialism for Beginners (co-author) Writers and Readers (London) 1986 (Cartoons)
Feminism for Teenagers Piccadilly Press (London) 1997 (Cartoons)
Thirst Gravity Presses (Dearborn Heights) 2002 (Poetry under pen name Louise Rill). Sophie also writes occasionally online on Medium.com, from social commentary to fiction. She is currently writing a thoroughly researched novel about characters from different times and places, such as New Amsterdam in 1654, Syria in 2015, and Michigan today, going through similar struggles and experiences.
As Communications Chair of Huron River Art Collective (formerly Ann Arbor Women Artists) Sophie writes the Wordpress blog, soon to migrate to the new website under the title The Current, but for now, here.
Isn't Grillet a French name? Yes, her grandfather was French, and having a basic grasp of the language, she pronounces it in the French way: GREE-yeh.
All images on this site are the Copyright of the artist.