Firstly before I introduce you to my next artist I have interviewed. I would like to explain why I am choosing to highlight various artists on my blog.
The main reason is that during our travels we enjoy many various forms of art, some in prominent places such as in museums, art galleries or street, to even footpath art. It is a part of ordinary life for many, and very much a part of a housesitter’s life. Those that do take the route of making a living out of it, though fueled by passion it is still very much a hard road to follow.
This is my way of supporting and highlighting artists who I have come to know via blogging or family/friends. Their art tells so many stories.
So now let me introduce to my next Artist.
Clare from Mermaids Purse which is just one of a few blogs that she endeavours to keep those who follow her intrigued by her various creative skills.
From drawing of cartoons, painting to her sculpture work.
Recently she has included a new addition to her list of blogs, that being a descriptive rewrite of her grandfather’s diary of his experience during WW2.
There is indeed something for everyone within Clare’s creative world via her list of blogs and her art.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I don’t know that becoming an artist was a decision based on one particular thing or even an inspiration. I didn’t like school. The only thing I was told I was good at was drawing so I opted to go to art school. That didn’t work out well for my first time around as I wasn’t that talented and I lacked confidence and maturity and ended up in the design sphere which does not suit me at all as I am very messy.
So employment was always a struggle. I continued to draw and started to paint because in the first case it gave me something to do and kept me calm, like meditation and in the second case because I guess I liked the idea of being an artist.
Of course, the idea of being an artist and being an artist is very different.
The concept involves a fantasy of freedom, rebellion, coolness. The reality is poverty and doubt, with doubt I think now being essential. When an artist gets to the point they know precisely what they are doing all the time, they are not making art. Maybe craft, which is good in itself, but not art as I understand it. That’s where a lot of people peel off I think when they see the reality. Doubt and insecurity don’t suit my nerves, but I kept going because I couldn’t think of anything else to do.
It has been a journey of decades really to get to a starting point.
You have a variety of artist talents, which art medium do you enjoy the most?
Impossible to say.
Each medium is continually evolving and serves different needs which I am barely aware of. For instance, when I was doing a dissertation for college last year, my cartoon output exploded. Then it ceased when I had finished the dissertation, so it seems to have been some sort of valve for letting off stress.
I have only recently begun building installations, and I recognise a need to build things now though it waxes and wanes.
Painting always seems to be in the background of all I do maybe because I painted for so long and it will never leave me. I love painting when it works but getting it to work involves a lot of having it not work and frustration.
All the work also requires preparation and dissemination, i.e. getting and preparing materials, space, organising shows or books and that can take up a lot of time too, and those parts can be less enjoyable sometimes.
What is the primary challenge you face when beginning a piece of art, whether that being a watercolour painting or cartoon character?
The challenge is getting me to stop thinking and sit down and do it!
How has art influenced your life?
Art can be difficult to define which is its nature-and means different things to different people.
Art to me (at the moment anyway) is a place.
A place of doubt and experimentation and meaningless where we can let ideas that are outside the restrictions of society, that are silly or stupid or pointless, evolve and that place should be cultivated within us and within society. That’s where the gold is, that’s how we can develop as people and as a species. So I am not sure that I see art as outside myself. Though it sounds grandiose, art is my life, and it can be that for everyone. Not that everyone should be painting or sculpting or whatever, far from it. That’s a very narrow definition of art.
Art and creativity can be brought to bear on everything and inspire ideas in all types of jobs, hobbies and all kinds of decision making and problem-solving.
How do you manage the balance between blogging and creating art?
Or very erratically. I am not good at the organisation or keeping to schedules, and I have a significant tendency to bite off more than I can chew and gallop off in ten different directions at once.
I am working on that.
I guess things just happen. Once I decide on a project, I tend to finish, probably out of some sort of deep-rooted Irish self-doubt, the feeling of never being good enough. That’s really the only driving force: low self-esteem and guilt! I wish I were better at organising myself so maybe I could make a living. The only good thing about having different things on the go is that they all serve and feed each other.
What do you like most about your life as an artist?
As an artist, I love that I get to do new projects in different places with different people.
I have worked 9-5, and I tend to get very depressed when I do so and going back to the first question, that’s a big part of why I am an artist: not because I am inspired but to avoid being unbearably miserable. A substantial part of me wants money, comfort, security but life was not liveable for me when I tried to do that. Though it has to be said if someone had thrown enough money at me, I might have ended up sticking with the misery!
As I get older, it gets easier, primarily I think because possible life choices become more limited. It also means more confidence by dint of experience, and I am beginning to enjoy the doubt and the fear involved in creating new work without any planning, and I have begun pushing that side of my work. It allows you to keep an edge, lets you know you are alive.
Socially, artists are welcome in all different types of society, well some of us, which suits me as I am curious about all sorts of people and things. When you are always only with people like yourself, I think you suffocate.
I also like being able to get away with behaviour that others in the more staid profession might not.
‘Oh don’t mind her, she’s an artist.’ I confess I consciously milk that a lot…in our society that can bring you closer to freedom.
See more of Clare’s work via the following social media:
The Mermaids Purse
– I am an artist living in the southeast of Ireland. I blog about all sorts of things that catch my eye or my heart: sea potatoes, factory life, murdering robins, hurdy gurdys, whale watching … [see blog for more
– A children’s book that Clare illustrated.