Growing up with dyslexia, Sophie Day felt most confident at school in art class and playing cricket at recess, where words are not the measure of success.
The 23-year-old allrounder was drawn to the persistence and creativity of sport and art through her early years playing for Victoria and the Melbourne Stars while undertaking a degree in Fine Arts at the Victoria College of Arts at the University of Melbourne.
Since leaving high school and beginning her degree as a ‘Plan B’ or by way of having something else to focus on other than her cricket career, Sophie has sold and undertaken commissioned artwork.
Her latest exhibition, ‘The Art of Cricket’, is a case of two interests aligning.
“Professional sport can be all consuming and when it isn't going as well as I would like it is so important to be able to focus on something else and still achieve a sense of accomplishment and joy,” says Sophie.
“(Having something else to focus on), for me this is very important.”
The Cricket Victoria administration building at the CitiPower Centre will showcase Sophie’s works until Wednesday 5 January, with each piece inspired by her day-by-day life.
“The works throughout this exhibition are drawn from cricket, my routines, training and the environments I place myself in,” says Sophie.
“I find ideas from team meetings, the patterns the coach makes on the whiteboard or the wagon wheels and stats from a game. I find the analysis and data from a game of cricket fascinating. The ability for shapes and symbols to sum up a game is incredible.
“I see patterns in the cones the coach lays out to the nets we train in. I find beauty in repetition. Repetition of movement, shape, pattern, environment and colour.”
Just like they were when growing up, Sophie’s art and cricket continue to be closely paired.
“My process in creating my artwork is very similar to my cricket,” says Sophie.
“Both art and cricket I repeat and repeat until I feel I have matched or beaten others and myself. In both art and sport I compete. I compete to win a game and I compete with myself and my mind for that perfect painting.”
“Both can also mess with your head. Cricket is about overcoming fear and pressure and art is dealing with the fact that it’s nearly impossible to paint what I see in my mind.
“I see things quite differently to most people I know that. I use art as a diary to show my thoughts. I use sport as a way to focus my mind and allow myself to settle into routine and pattern. Art and sport are the best ways to show and be myself.”
Studying full-time and playing cricket professionally can lead to some challenging moments when it comes to time management, but this is where the ACA and Victorian Women’s Player Development Manager, Jess Bustin, has been able to assist.
“I have worked closely with Jess to learn how to prepare and hold a solo art exhibition and the opening night event,” says Sophie.
“This included learning how to prepare for a meeting with different departments and senior officials across Cricket Victoria and the Melbourne Stars, as well as website development, marketing and developing longer-term business plans.
“Jess also assists me with general time management and organisation required to manage my cricket and art commitments, especially during COVID travel hubs.
“And of course I am very grateful that the ACA has helped me financially with my university fees which allowed me to dedicate more time to my cricket training and career as well as being able to maintain a full-time study load at university.”
For more information on Sophie’s pieces of artwork or the exhibition, visit http://www.sophieday.com.au.
For more information on ACA Education Grants click here, speak with your Player Development / Transition Manager, or Elesha Te Paa at the ACA via email.