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PORTFOLIO REVIEW #12 / Carrie May

 

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Carrie May and I am an Illustrator and Artist.

Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because it feeds me, [not just literally.]

How do you work?
The process has different stages; I collect old papers upon which I
paint, draw, collage, print, stencil, I use ink and dip pens and
incorporate any markings already on the found papers....the more aged
and imperfect, the better. Texture, colour and layering are strong
characteristics in my work.

What’s your background?
I studied BA Illustration at Brighton before continuing at The Royal
College of Art for a further two years. I am originally from
Gloucestershire, where I spent my childhood in the countryside.

 



What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Inspiration; encouraging an optimum state for creativity, a state of
playfulness which resists distractions which inhibit the creative
process. Art working should be viewed as a continual process and
artworks as evidence of this process.

What has been a seminal experience?
Spending some time soaking up the colours of Morocco.

Explain what you do in 100 words
I collect old papers, envelopes, stamps, postcards, second hand books,
paper record sleeves, paint charts, tickets. If it is looking a bit
tired and discoloured, I’m probably going to pick it up. I then paint
on these paper finds using oils [ for a richer hue] then they move
into my collage archive.
I draw in pencil and or dip pen and incorporate the collage material.
If I need to tweak in photoshop at a later stage I will do, but I tend
to hold off until I reach a stage where I cannot achieve what I want
manually/by hand.

 

How has your practice change over time
My work used to be a lot less figurative, and a lot more concerned
with abstract shapes and colour and composition. I believe this is all
part of the story of my visual language and the
shape/colour/composition exploration served it’s role as a basis for
what I do now.

What art do you most identify with?
I love collage but mostly I am struck by Artist’s colour palettes
regardless of what form it takes. Colour and texture I find most
alluring. Turner’s paintings stir me in a different way to Antoni
Tapies’ for instance, whose rich swathes of texture and are so brave.
I love to get really close to oil paintings and examine the textures.
I also love old Polish posters which are so charming and playful.

 


What work do you most enjoying doing?
I lose myself in painting which I find a very different process to
collaging. With painting I rely entirely on intuition, I have never
begun a painting with a vision in my minds eye. I do love piecing
together a collage and to see it suddenly come to life. Sometimes I
really enjoy a labour intensive, detailed work when you can see it
gradually grow.

What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
My strongest memory of my childhood...is probably music. We were
brought up with music around us, and making music. Hearing something
can transport you back in an instant.

What themes do you pursue?
There is certainly a running creature theme in my work, flowers and patterns.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I was humbled by someone writing to me to thank me for giving them the
opportunity to enter my “wonderful world.”
Someone also wrote to me to say  “if I didn’t have the chance to meet
you before and, for having looked at all your paintings and
illustrations, I would not be surprised in the slightest to finally
meet you and find you just the way I would have imagined you through
what I have see of your work.”  Which is particularly assuring as I
feel I put a lot of myself into my work.

What food, drink, song inspires you?
There are some marriages of flavours that just make you want to
applaud and I would expect some pleasing creations to emerge whilst
listening to Futile Devices by Sufjan Stevens with a bowl of
strawberries and black pepper... and sipping jasmine green tea....mhmm

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It can be at times, but I have friends who are also Artists so we help
each other out and you can go out to find what you need if you get
cabin fever. Sometimes being a hermit is good, a period of
productivity.

 


What do you dislike about the art world?
I don’t like noticing insincerity or pretentiousness.

What do you dislike about your work?
I dislike how long it can take sometimes to create something seemingly
simple- because I always want to do it the long way round.

What do you like about your work?
I like how my particular colour palette unites my work. I like it when
people say that they knew it was mine.

What makes you angry?
Rude people. Losing things.

What research to you do?
I love to search through old posters and book covers, visit
exhibitions and I take a lot of photographs ...anything that pleases
me at that moment. I love hunting through flea markets for old
ephemera and paper finds. I sometimes spend time looking through
wallpapers and paint charts, and I always like getting lost in a book
shop for a while.

 


What superpower would you have and why?
To have anything that I draw come to life...

Name something you love, and why.
I love music, “Life without music would be a mistake.”

Name something you don’t love, and why.
I don’t love long winters...I think I get 'sads'

What is your dream project?
At this moment in time, perhaps to produce an entire fabric range.
[That might change next week.]

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Sara Fanelli, Kurt Schwitters, Matthew Richardson

 

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