Monday, 25 July 2011

Featured Artist - Clair Letton

Clair Letton is a painter and illustrator who lives and works in Brighton. She draws inspiration from the landscape around her, and the places she has visited like France, Spain, Italy, India and Morocco. Some of her paintings are produced using a combination of painting and printmaking techniques.

Where did you train?
Brighton University, I studied Fine Art Printmaking as a mature student.

What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
It taught me to be self motivated and how to use a printing press. I wish I had realised then, that it would be useful to what I do now, to have access to the painting and illustration courses.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I have always made things, and I have always wanted to do something creative for a living. I trained as a chef first and then worked with computers. I got fed up of spending Sundays dreading Monday morning and decided things had to change. In my mid 20s I started working part time in order to do a part time foundation course. I discovered printmaking and loved the process so I went on to do a degree.

One favourite living artist?

Very hard to choose just one, this week I have rediscovered a book I had at university on Marlene Dumas, and I have been particularly admiring her beautiful portraits of women.

One favourite historical artist?

I can't choose one, top four at the moment are; Ingres for his luminous figures, rich pattern, colour and detail. Mark Rothko for those huge, intense fields of colour. Frida Khalo for her colour and pattern. Gustav Klimt for incredible attention to detail and intricate pattern.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
All around, stories I read to the children, something I hear or see. Sometimes a particular colour will really capture my imagination and I will start from there.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?

This is definitely the most fun job. I get to spend my day playing with paint and creating my little world on canvas. What could be better?

Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
Not so far, maybe in the future.

At age 16 who most influenced your style?
Art wise I loved Gustav Klimt, Tamara de Lempicka and anything art deco.
Music, I loved Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and The Cure.
Style Icons were Audrey Hepburn and my Gran (she was a very stylish lady)!

Last book / film that blew your mind?
Currently very much enjoying Catlin Morans "How to be a Woman".

What music are you currently listening to?
Adele, Southern Tenant Folk Union, Po Girl and Be Good Tanyas.

Who would you say buys your work?
Hard to say, men and women, old and young!

Where and what is your studio?
My Studio is in New England House in Brighton. It is a large shared space. There are 13 of us in the room of various creative disciplines.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Yes, I think so, I like to do a bit more work but I have 2 children under 5 so they take priority at the moment.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
I'm very happy doing what Im doing, I would like to do more illustration work.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
Somewhere warm and exotic!

Any other relevant information?
We have Open House in May and at Christmas as part of the Brighton Festival. I turn the garden in to a cafe and make around 800 cupcakes during May. At Christmas its mulled wine, mince pies, christmas puds and presents. So, if you're looking for something for yourself, or a lovely gift for someone, come and see us at "The Cake House" this Christmas.

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