Tag Archives: artist

The Boating Party with Claudia McGill


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of Q&As with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation.

Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy.

Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

Perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where is the creativity that will solve the world’s problems going to come from? Including economic and scientific ones?

In this Q&A, I am delighted to welcome artist Claudia McGill.

I love her bold, graphic style and use of colour. Reminds me of Picasso’s ceramics.

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What has been your greatest personal or career achievement?

I can’t pick out one thing. I’ve been alive for 58+ years and I just can’t pick one thing over another. I won’t even start to speculate or compare, just thinking about trying to do so is unsettling me!

What has been your greatest sacrifice?

Once again, I can’t pick one out. Not because there have been so many to burden me that I can’t choose, thank goodness! but because I think that pretty much, things might have looked bad at the time, had been painful, even life-altering, but in the end, it came out all right, or else somehow I managed, and I have come to believe that this pattern will hold.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My husband, who has always one hundred percent supported me in all my endeavors.

Who, or what, inspires you?

I just enjoy pretty much everything about ordinary life – maybe I am easily amused or interested, but I’m always thinking something intriguing is just around the corner, and usually it works out that way.

What makes you unhappy?

Harsh words, intolerant attitudes, and people who do not take others’ feelings into consideration.

What makes you happy?

Too many things to list.

What are you reading?

I read a lot, and mostly I read mysteries. I also like biographies and how-to books. As for the last, I don’t need to want to actually do the how-to of whatever it is; I just enjoy reading about how things are made, done, constructed, etc.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Usually I listen to audio books; I am not much interested in music. I get the books from my library and I lean toward thrillers. That’s kind of funny because I don’t enjoy reading print version thrillers that much, but having one read to me – I love it.

You’re going on a day trip. Where are you going and what is in your ‘day’ bag?

I might visit a library or go to a park for a run, I can’t decide which. In either case, I’d take a snack or a lunch, some drawing materials, a pen and notebook for writing things down, a sweater (for the library in case of extra-powerful a/c) or extra clothes to change into (the run). Probably a grocery list or items for the cleaners, since I always seem to be running errands wherever I find the time, but that’s not part of the trip, really…

What’s your favourite film?

The Wizard of Oz. My favorite since I first saw it about 55 years ago. What a strong impression it made on me right from the first.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Very easy question! Unsweetened iced tea – since I was a teenager – has been my favorite drink. My addiction picked up after I left school and went out on my own – cheaper to make a pitcher of iced tea than to buy bottles of soda, and at that time, every dime counted. Now, I am very partial to Honest Tea’s green tea. And I like drinking tea from the bottle more than a glass. A very tame addiction, maybe, but it’s lifelong.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I don’t ever want to go back in time. I’m interested to read about the past, but I don’t want to be part of it.

What frightens you?

High winds; dogs running up to me, even if their owners say they are friendly; being stung by a wasp; being late; eating food past its sale date; I am afraid of the dentist now, or rather, of any pain at all in dental procedures, though I didn’t use to be; I’ve had some recent procedures that tipped the balance. Let me add that my dentist does his best not to hurt me and I appreciate it. I am not afraid of public speaking or most kinds of insects.

What do you do to relax?

Read. Ever since I learned to read, in 1963, I have never lacked for friends, excitement, new horizons…I can pick up a book and everything is all right.

What do you do when you’re angry?

Speak right up and let it out. When I am angry people know it. I don’t like being angry, though.

What can’t you live without?

My husband, my friends, my art and writing activities, and libraries.

What’s your motto?

“Give it a try and see what happens.”

Where is your Utopia?

Wyncote, PA, right where I live now and have for the past 25 years. It’s taken me time to understand it, but somehow, I’ve landed in (or made it into) just the right place for me.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Just as I am doing now. I like my life and I don’t long for things to be different. I might make sure I eat more chocolate cake than I do now, though.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Really, no one’s, to tell you the truth. I mostly want to go my way and let you go yours.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

The person who knows how to fix it the fastest so I can get out of it. I am not very fond of feeling trapped…

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on some paintings, for a friend, of his house and his dogs, for the art portion of the question. In my poetry writing I continue my Installment Plan Poetry Marathon sessions, in which I spend a scheduled time every week focusing on writing poetry. I am also working on returning to running and my goal is five miles straight – I am making good progress. Maybe in the fall I’ll get there.

What is your ambition?

To take care of my house and those in it, do art, do poetry, exercise, and visit friends. That’s it.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

That chocolate cake would have very few calories and in fact be necessary to maintaining health.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

This one I can’t answer, because I don’t want to make choices and hurt anyone’s feelings. Maybe I’d make a list and draw names? Here’s a sign-up sheet…

What would be on the menu?

Chocolate cake. I guess you knew that!

What question would you have liked me to have asked?

I’d loved to have told you about how much I enjoyed working in the cafeteria in college, something people can’t believe, but it is true – and so you would ask me – what did I learn there that I could have learned nowhere else – and I would say, A lot of things, but one tangible skill I have as a result is that I know how to cut a pie into 9 equal pieces.

Thank you Claudia.

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Claudia McGill

Biography

I am a self-taught artist. I came to art later in life. Because of these things, making art for me is not a separate compartment in my life but a thread that runs through everything that I do.

Currently I concentrate on painting in acrylics, but I also spend time working in collage/mixed media as well as doing some hand-built clay, mostly tiles and sculptures. I got my start in fiber art, making pictorial appliqued wall hangings.

Here is a synopsis of some of my activities.

Fiber Art: I did many craft projects when I was growing up, and I learned to knit and sew clothing. I turned to appliqué quilting as a hobby in my thirties, eventually developing a style that used machine sewing to interpret my ideas as collages in fabric.

Collage/Mixed Media: After some years, I wanted to spend more time on composition and less on sewing. I began to experiment with collage, seeing similarities in the artistic process with my fabric work. In the beginning, I created pieces that were usually based on photos I’d taken of landscapes, city scenes, objects, or other images of this sort. I then interpreted them in collage using papers I’d painted myself with acrylic paints.

As time went on my work grew more abstract. I became more interested in portraying feelings, emotions, memories, or imaginings rather than representing scenes. I began to use found papers and materials in addition to my own painted papers and started incorporating painting (in acrylics) as part of the compositions. As well as creating art intended to be hung on the wall, I made and still do make postcards, artist trading cards, embellished art books, etc.

Acrylic Painting: My painting work was an outgrowth of my mixed media art, which familiarized me with acrylics. Painting is now my main artistic activity. My works are inspired by the world I see around me but my intent is not to represent it. Instead, I pick out what appeals to me, set these pieces together as I think they might like to be placed, and concentrate on how it all fits together, color and shape.

Other work: I have done hand-built clay for some time, changing styles as my interests change, but focusing on sculptures and tiles. I’ve recently begun spending more time sketching with pen and ink; I enjoy the focus and observation that go into this activity. I also write poetry and have self-published a number of books.

In all my activities, I work with a sense of purpose and hope mixed together. Making art is very important to me as it is the way I work out answers to questions and guide myself through everyday life.

web site: www.claudiamcgill.com
art blog, featuring current work: https://claudiamcgillart.wordpress.com
poetry blog: https://claudiamcgill.wordpress.com/

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Filed under Art, Ceramics, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Uncategorized

The Boating Party – with Sue Dale.


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Well, it’s been a while…

Welcome to the first Boating Party interview of 2014.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

In this interview, I am delighted to welcome Australian artist, Sue Dale.

Sue Dale

Sue Dale

1. What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

My greatest personal achievement is raising a beautiful daughter who turned out to be creative, intelligent, funny and with strong humanitarian values. She’s made her decisions and I did have some help but I like to think I did something right along the way to get her there and the right things outweighed the bad.

Career wise, I’m not finished yet, but to date, running my own business was a highlight – nothing better than turning up to work and opening the door to the smell of coloured pencils.

Painting wise, knowing how I want to paint. Finding my way was a great moment when it all fell into place. I’m still learning but I know it’s me when I pick up a brush. I feel confident, or maybe that should be comfortable, and that’s a remarkable achievement for me.

2. What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

Jervis Bay, it will always be my home. I miss it.

3. To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My daughter, for making me laugh every time when I could’ve easily cried. My painting and drawing teachers and Willem De Kooning.

4. Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by great artists who took the hard road in order to paint everyday. I admire those early landscape artists who would lug their gear out to remote places and paint on the spot. Music and poetry always help to inspire my work.

5. What was the last thing that inspired you?

Jellyfish and Nick Cave. Both are beautiful and a little scary.

6. What makes you unhappy?

Cruelty.

7. What makes you happy?

Painting, drawing, music – usually all three at once.

8. What are you reading?

“Old Masters”, Australia’s great Bark Artists. I’ve recently visited the exhibition at our National Museum in Canberra. Marvelous curation and excellent show.

9. Who, or what, are you listening to?

Amy Winehouse, Meatloaf and Madame Butterfly. Not on shuffle, it’s too confusing to sing along to.

10. What’s your favourite film?

It’s a difficult choice between Pulp Fiction & Moonstruck – I’m a hard-edge romantic.

11. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The Cedar Tavern, New York, 1950’s, to drink, smoke and talk paint with those hard-arse abstractionists.

12. What frightens you?

Gallery directors.

13. What do you do to relax?

Paint.

14. What do you do when you’re angry?

Paint.

15. What can’t you live without?

Paint… and maybe red wine.

16. What’s your motto?

You never know what’s around the corner.

17. Where’s your Utopia?

A huge painting studio, big white walls, massive canvases, overlooking the Shoalhaven River.

18. If you only had one year to live, what would you do?

Paint. Visit galleries and museums in London, Paris and Hobart

19. Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Tony Abbott. [Australian Prime Minister.] For his views and treatment of refugees coming to this country.

20. Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

The cast of Seinfield. Or maybe Billy Connolly; I love to laugh.

21. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve taken close-up images of jellyfish, and want to use those colours in painted studies. They create some wonderful, subtle greys and I want to test some glazes in oil to capture that weird translucency.

22. What is your ambition?

To paint. To finish my Boatshed series.

23. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I’d probably abolish religion – it seems to cause more trouble than it’s worth.

24. Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Hans Hoffman, Willem De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, John Olsen, Helen Frankenthaler and Mick Jagger.

25. What would be on the menu?

Anti pasto plate, red wine. If it’s a hot day, seafood and cold, cold beer.

26. What question would you have liked me to ask?

What’s your favourite painting?

So far Portrait Group, 1907 by George Lambert.

I have only seen it in person a few times but find it so hard to tear myself away from looking at it, especially the folds in the baby’s dress. It mesmerizes me and I can never understand why.

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Thank you, Sue.

Just click on any of the images to see Sue’s work on her website.

Artist’s statement:

My past art practice has been primarily landscape painting. This involves not only painting but also a constant study of the landscape that evolves from drawing and sometimes gathering of material. I have been able to produce works inspired by the world around me but become frequently fixated by signage in the landscape and my last
exhibition at Project Contemporary Artspace was a series of drawings based on the road between my then studio at Thirroul and the South Coast of NSW.

Signage not only becomes essential information to the driver but also a disruption of shapes and sometimes colour and I like the way driving becomes a frame for the landscape.

My current art practice has been influenced by my recent move back to Lake Illawarra and my place within a remembered landscape and due to studio space limitations I have been working on smaller drawings and painted gouache studies of the Lake where my family owned a boatshed.

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Things for which I am grateful #47/365


Candy Chang.

What is art? Is it a beautiful painting or sculpture? A photograph or a poem?

For me, art either holds a mirror up to society in a way that hasn’t been done before, or shows us the next stage of human development – our future selves. (Basically, people who are ahead of their time.)

Candy Chang does both. She is a Taiwanese-American artist based in New Orleans who creates interactive art.

I would also call it – Positive Action Art.

Because, not only does she get people involved and bring them together, it tends to point towards improving whatever is, or, was.

Here are a couple of beautiful examples. The first is when she painted a derelict building with chalkboard paint and invited locals to write what they would like to do before they die. Entitled, oddly enough, Before I die.

The second, is where she invited people to make confessions on wooden plaques, in private confessional booths, which were then displayed in a Shinto-esque shrine. Bizarrely enough, called Confessions.

Anyways, here are a few images from both exhibits. But you can see a whole lot more of her brilliant work if you click on any of the links.

Thank you, Ms. Chang. Your work is an inspiration. And thanks too, to Paul Wood for enlightening me to her.

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And it went global... in over 60 countries.

And it went global… in over 60 countries.

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The haunting – paintings by Mike McGinn


Mike McGinn is an Edinburgh-based artist whose work I love. Full of energy and emotion. There is something quite haunting and melancholy about the expressions he captures.

I first became aware of his work when he very kindly donated a piece to the Japan Art Auction I held in 2011 for victims of the tsunami.

Unfortunately, I was outbid for it. (It was fortunate for the auction, mind.)

Hope you enjoy his work as much as I do…

Donated to the Japan Art Auction

Donated to the Japan Art Auction

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Like most artists, self-publicity isn’t high on Mike’s priority list. So, if you would like to buy one of his paintings, or commission a piece, drop me a line and I can put you in touch with him.

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The Boating Party – with Eoin Coveney


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Well, it’s been a while…

Welcome to the first Boating Party interview of 2013.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

First up, in this luckiest of lucky years, is Graphic Artist, Eoin Coveney

Eoin Coveney

Eoin Coveney

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

Working with, and being mentored by, the late Will Eisner.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I really can’t think of one. Maybe I sacrificed some of my social life working in a solitary environment?

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

I owe Steve McManus of 2000AD for giving me a meeting many years ago even though it was against their policy.

Who and what inspire you?

European masters of the graphic novel such as  Moebius and Cam Kennedy.
Music and cinema also.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Drawing a 6- page comic strip written by Gordon Rennie. It was a politics / zombie satire which was a joy to work on.

What makes you unhappy?

Lack of enthusiasm.

What makes you happy?

Trust.

What are you reading?

Nothing right now. My last was “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Lots of dark ambient right now.

What’s your favourite film?

Impossible to narrow it down. “The Host” is pretty close to perfect.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I’d probably be too worried about getting stuck there so I would stay here given the choice.

What frightens you?

Laziness.

What do you do to relax?

Noodling around on my microKorg.

What do you do when you’re angry?

Scream into a pillow.

What can’t you live without?

I would say music.

What’s your motto?

Keep on learning and improving.

What’s your Utopia?

Probably West Cork in August.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Six months frenzied work, three months of traveling and another three months of relaxing with friends and loved ones.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Probably Damien Hirst because he doesn’t feel the need to manufacture and craft his own art.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Howard Marks.

 What are you working on at the moment?

“American Caesar”, a graphic novel written by Neil Kleid.

What is your ambition?

To work hard on cool projects with brilliant people.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I’d like to turn down the dial on human greed a good few notches.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Fiancée, parents, 3 close friends… no celebrities!

What would be on the menu?

Greek food.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

“What’s it all about?”

Thank you, Eoin.

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Artist’s statement:

I have been illustrating professionally for 14 years. 
For the first ten of those years, I worked mostly on
 the pre-production phase for many of Dublin’s top
 advertising agencies. Producing
storyboards & visuals for hundreds of campaigns.


In 2005  I joined the Illustrators Guild of Ireland,
 and since then have broadened my range of styles 
and disciplines. These days, my work is split pretty
 evenly between illustration for ad campaigns,
 book covers and interiors, press and magazine
 work as well as pre-production work.
 Private commissions also undertaken.

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Filed under Advertising, Animation, Art, Cartoons, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration, The Boating Party

The Boating Party – with Tone von Krogh


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many people view artists as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

This week, I’m delighted to welcome ceramic artist, Tone von Krogh.

Tone on the wheel

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

In some ways I feel I’ve not reached the point of my journey where I’m counting my achievements. However,  being able to do what I love on a daily basis is my highest achievement as much as work in constant progress.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I don’t think I have made many sacrifices. I moved to a new country to follow my love for ceramics and dream to take it further. I found another love which meant I settled here. At times it is hard to live far away from close family, but I have my own little one now…

When baby number two came along, I put the ceramics a side for a for a while. It felt like a hard decision to make at the time, but we were starting a build a total house renovation, so something had to give. When, after 3 years, the girls were both at school and I could move into my brand new garden studio, it felt like I had never left my business. I wouldn’t have missed those years with my girls for anything in the world.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

I’m sure there will be many more than I remember to mention here.

One of many, is my tutor at college in Norway, Peer Bjarne Moen for encouraging me to be me and express it in my work. I would not have followed my dream so confidently without his faith and push.

My family and friends for  their continuous support, encouragement, patience and help.

Fellow designers and artists for networking, inspiration and critique. And, of course, to all the galleries who promote my work.

Who and what inspire you?

The material clay itself really inspires me. The softness, its ability to take whichever shape you squeeze it into as well as the transformation from clay to ceramics.

I have always had a strong love for Scandinavian – and particularly Norwegian – woodlands and coastal landscapes. My current collection “Vinter” is directly inspired, as the name suggests, by winter and snow covered landscapes. The shapes are soft with indentations and bulges added to hint at something under the surface. After a heavy snow fall, all sounds are muted and objects become unrecognizable with sharp edges rounded. In a landscape, a bulge in the snow may cover a rock or a small tree or a man-made object.

It is this feeling of mystery, or lack of obviousness, that I am trying to express in the surfaces of my pieces, despite the main shape of the piece suggesting a certain function.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Little things inspire me all the time. A fairly recent moment was earlier this year whilst celebrating my 40th birthday in Switzerland. My partner and I were taking shelter in a mountain hut from a blizzard outside. Through the window I could see these amazing ridged snow swirls forming. I ran out and took lots of pictures with my phone as the folds continuously changed shape. I have been trying to achieve the same effect in my work ever since.

What makes you unhappy?

Hatred, unfairness, ignorance…. Unhappy children.
Kiln disasters.

What makes you happy?

Good music, creating, sunshine…. Happy children.

What are you reading?

In a normal week I’ll be lucky if I get to read the Observer on Sunday. The last time I read a book was in the summer holiday. Solar by my favorite author Ian McEwan. Not a typical book for him, I laughed out loud several times, which is rare when I read any of his books.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

I listen to anything from Melody Gardot to Muse… depending on what I do. In the studio I listen to Xfm which gives me a daily dose of The Cure and lots of other old favorites. I went to see Django Django live last week. They were so much better live than I expected.

What’s your favourite film?

Difficult to choose. I don’t watch many films twice because I hate repetition and knowing what happens…. One of the few that I don’t mind watching again is Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s – Amelie.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

To a hot summer’s day….

What frightens you?

Anything happening to my children that I can’t make better. Not being able to do what I do due to ill health or other circumstances.

What can’t you live without?

Oxygen, water, nutrition and love.

What’s your motto?

Do what you love rather than what you think others want you to do. It will make you a lot happier and creative in the long run.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

I would do what I do now for most of the year and then throw a big party for my family and friends.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Anyone moaning around me or getting in my way the next few weeks. I’m so busy getting ready for shows between now and December.  Tolerance levels are low.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

The thought of being stuck in an elevator should have been one of my answers to question twelve. Can’t think of anybody making that situation any better except for a lift engineer or escapologist.  I am not good in confinement of any kind.

What are you working on at the moment?

This is my busiest time of year. I am getting ready for 3 big shows (http://issuu.com/lakesideartscentre/docs/lustre2012 , http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/craftfair/index.htm , http://www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk/) all in November, as well as making work for Christmas exhibitions and general gallery top up. I spent the whole day on the potter’s wheel today making vases and bottles. I also started playing around with some new ideas for lamp bases. I may be under time pressure, but I still love being in the studio making all day.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Only six? I would fill the lake with boats and make sure all my best friends and fellow makers were there. Toe Rag would be a good band to invite for the musical entertainment.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

I’m quite happy to stop before I rant on even more…. Some tricky questions there already.

Thank you, Tone.

Inspiring snow

Cup and saucer detail

Bowls

Artist’s biography:

I was born in Switzerland, but spent most of my childhood and college years in Norway.  In 1994 I came to England on an exchange program with Manchester Metropolitan University and graduated in 3Dimensional Design  in 1995.  After years of having studios at various art centres, I now work from a purpose built studio in my garden.

My work has been widely exhibited in the UK as well as Norway, France, USA and Dubai. The work is also sold through the website www.madebyhandonline.com

My current collection of contemporary domestic Ceramics is strongly influenced by my impressions from the winter landscapes in Norway. When the snow covers trees, rocks, paths and architecture;  sharp edges become soft and everyday shapes may become unrecognizable. I have tried to bring the same feel to my work with a range of wavy vases and softly distorted beakers, bowls and bottles.  The colour range is reflecting the many tones of snow and ice and winter skies.

The work is produced using a potter’s wheel, but then cut and reassembled to non circular shapes or given soft dimples or bumps. I use food friendly glazes and fire the work to stoneware temperatures.

Ed: (Top tip, if you visit her webpage and decide to buy lots of her lovely work, her first name is pronounced: Torna.)

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The Boating Party – with Christelle Jones


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Bristol based artist, Christelle Jones.

What’s your greatest personal achievement?

It hasn’t happened yet. At least, I hope it hasn’t happened. I want something to look forward to.

What’s your greatest career achievement?

Enjoying my work. When I started art school, I stopped dreading Monday mornings.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I’m too selfish to make big sacrifices. However, I once sold a couple of Beastie Boys tickets, because something had cropped up at work. That wasn’t a sacrifice, though. That was just stupid.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My parents. I had a great childhood, spent most of it outdoors, stayed up well past my bedtime and I’ve never been in any hurry to grow up.
Also, there are several inspirational Art and English teachers who I wanted to impress.

Who inspires you?

Artists, writers, photographers, directors, musicians, poets, sportspeople, scientists, engineers, intellectuals and comedians. Off the top of my head: Goya, Lucian Freud, Diane Arbus, Carol Ann Duffy, Peter Doig, Peter Cook, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego, Roddy Doyle, Roald Dahl, Bill Hicks, Grayson Perry, Rachel Whiteread, Mark Rothko, Steve Martin, Anish Kapoor, Tim Berners-Lee, Dave Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ralph Steadman, David Pattern (my art teacher) Annie Leibovitz, Simon Armitage, Bill Cunningham, Bradley Wiggins, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Mozart, Anthony Gormley, David Eggers, Jon Ronson, Jessica Ennis, Nick Cave, David Byrne, Don McCullin, Andy Goldsworthy, Edward Hopper,  I.K. Brunel, Richard Avedon and on and on.

What inspires you?

Workaholics. High achievers. Daft optimists. People who never give up or give in. Google.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Driving through Wiltshire on an autumn afternoon. The low sun had lit up a field full of hay bales, so there was this patch of bright cadmium yellow set against a huge, dark storm cloud.

What makes you unhappy?

The News. I don’t know what to believe anymore, especially after reading ‘Flat Earth News’ by Nick Davis – an excellent, but scary book.

What are you reading?

I’ve just finished reading Jon Ronson’s Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

At the moment, as I’m writing, it’s the gas boiler. The TV, internet and radio are switched off. When I’m painting though, I listen to 6 Music.

What’s your favourite film?

Withnail & I.  I can quote that film from start to finish. It’s a master class in swearing.

What frightens you?

vigilantcitizen.com and things that make you go ‘hmm.’

What can’t you live without?

Friends, family, laughter and my camera.

What’s your motto?

I saw a great quote in a South Wales sports centre. It said: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

I’d sort out all the boring admin and hire a skip to save friends and relatives the hassle. I’d also like to make a video of myself hiding under a sheet, pretending to be a ghost, that would be played at my funeral to ‘lighten things up a bit’. After that, I’d probably live each day as if it was my last, move to the seaside and eat a lot of great food.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

I can think of several politicians. Guy Fawkes had the right idea.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Greg Davis.

What are you working on at the moment?

3 large canvasses, (I’m still at the sketchbook stage at the moment), and running an after-school art club.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Peter Cook, Grayson Perry, Bill Hicks, Mae West, The Dalai Lama and Dame Ellen MacArthur (well somebody needs to steer the boat).

What question would you have liked me to have asked?

“Do you need a bigger boat?”

Thank you, Christelle.

Sketchbook

Artist’s Statement.

With my recent work, there is an element of unpredictability. I start out with a rough idea, but I never really know what direction the painting will take. Often the painting takes on a life of its own. The trick is knowing when to stop. The loft is full of paintings either under or overworked, that look terrible, or even worse – look OK. It’s so frustrating, but when a painting goes right, it’s the best feeling in the world.

http://christellejones.com/

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