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Self-portrait among commuters

Self-Portrait Among Commuters

ink, watercolour and oil pastel on paper
2009

 

 

Artist Statement

Do artists need words? Do poems need illustration? Painters have always been inspired by words – whether classical myths, biblical narratives, or phrases encountered in novels or poems. These just happen to be Claire's own words.

Claire creates pictures to tell a story of our time, both in poetry and in paint, of life as she perceives it but with a gentle twist that reflects on some of the little absurdities and ironies of the human condition. Sometimes a little quirky and sometimes quietly subversive, these observations on life are presented back to the viewer with a subtle and sometimes humorous, sardonic or even satirical hue.

The artists who have influenced her range from the charm and sincerity of medieval illustration to the
Neue Sachlichkeit art of Germany in the 1920s, and include the work of Paula Rego, Saul Steinberg,
James Ensor, Mel Calman and Edward Gorey.

 

Career Path

Claire's career began in a cake shop in St Albans, Hertfordshire. She progressed from jam doughnuts to rum babas but her life was changed forever by the Russian slices.

She studied Russian and Soviet Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London. In 1991 she was ready to tuck into the next layer of adventure and set off to live in the Soviet Union. When the USSR collapsed shortly after her arrival, she experienced at first hand the challenges faced by ordinary people in the crumbling Soviet empire. Claire lived in Minsk until 1994 and frequently returns to Belarus to visit friends.

Settling back in England, she worked at a project for homeless women for 7 years, trained as a spiritual director, studied theology and generally tried to figure out what to do with herself. Finally she graduated from London Met with a degree in Fine Art and won the University's Purchase Prize.

Claire set up the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras Church, London and was its Director for 12 years. During this time she also played a part in developing a small charity called PSALM, which brings creative workshops to older people, carrying the strapline "taking ageing and faith seriously".

Claire has a studio in St Albans and currently works as an administrator in Westminster. Her life and daily commute provide endless material for her imagination to work with. Her artwork has been bought by the Hertfordshire County Art Collection (a resource for Hertfordshire schools), she has illustrated two Kindle books and has exhibited her paintings in galleries across the UK.

 

Qualifications and training

2005 - 2009   BA Fine Art (Sir John Cass Dept of Art, Media & Design – London Metropolitan University)
2003  City & Guilds Certificate in Providing Therapeutic Activities for Older People (Royal Hospital, Chelsea)
2000 - 2002  Post Graduate Diploma in Theology (Heythrop College – University of London)
1986 - 1990  BA Russian and Soviet Studies (School of Slavonic & East European Studies - University of London)

 

Selected Exhibitions and Prizes

May 2016 - "Organic Matters", Burgh House, Hampstead
Nov 2014-Jan 2015 - "Autumn in Cambridge", The Michaelhouse Centre, Cambridge
July 2014 – “Catching the Eye”, The Crypt, St Pancras Church, London
July 2012 - "Layer on Layer",The Crypt, St Pancras Church, London
Oct 2011 - "Random Thoughts", solo exhibition at the Renfield Centre, Glasgow
Dec 2010 - "Merged Stories", Real World Gallery, London E1
Sept 2010 - Creative St Albans/The Big Project, St Albans Town Hall
June 2010 - The St Albans Festival Exhibition of Art, Sculpture & Crafts
Sept/Oct 2009 - "Herts Open Studios", Ashley Hall, St Albans, Herts
July 2009 Purchase Prize (London Metropolitan University)
Dec 2008 - “Presence” The Crypt, St Pancras Church, London
July 2007 - “The Vanity Show” The Crypt, St Pancras Church, London
June 2004 - “Out of the blue – into the red” The Café Gallery, Mary Ward Centre, London