May's Artist of the Month is Claire Brennan and here she answers a few questions about her artistic pratice and life.
When and how did your interest in art develop?
When I was about 6 I remember being fascinated by the illustrations in my books and at the age of 12 I got a Polaroid camera as a present which began an interest in photography. At Halloween, I composed songs and also put sound effects on my tape recorder for trick or treating. Then when I left school I began an art foundation where I learnt to process and print photographs in a darkroom and that was hugely enjoyable to me.
What influences your art?
I want to create work that is aesthetically pleasing to me and I am always very keen to learn new skills. I very much believe that learning is life-long and from time to time I visit the V& A to see what artists have done in the past. Also I am always very interested in what others are doing in the classes and workshops I attend.
What process do you go through when creating a piece (starting with the initial idea)?
What I've tended to do with my photo etching is take a series of photographs of whatever I feel inspired by at the time, review these, see what works for me then in terms of composition and think of how I can enhance the image further. That may be by making changes with Photoshop or during the actual etching and printing process itself.
As regards ceramics I may have an idea for a piece and then come up with other ideas during the making process itself. I first tried ceramics many years ago and having been doing bookbinding recently which is very precise and methodical, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the comparative freedom of expression that is possible with clay.
Also I find that working across disciplines and constantly varying the scale of pieces enlivens and energises the whole process. I hope to constantly challenge myself with what I am creating.
Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from?
I am always very interested in other artists work, whether established or not, but I am not aware of any that I'm particularly influenced by at this present time. There has been a lot of experimentation in what I've been doing recently and I expect to build on what I've learnt from this.
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
My work has tended to vary quite a bit in terms of content so I expect that would vary also, hopefully most of what I've done will interest and intrigue the viewer. It gives me a huge amount of enjoyment to be involved in the creative process and I would hope that the viewer can sense some of the enthusiasm I feel. I hope to work towards incorporating more of a sense of joyfulness in what I produce.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career?
Well, there have been a few good developments lately but was very pleased to learn that one of my prints was shortlisted this year for the Royal Academy Summer Show this year. I've been entering for this in recent years as it's a good chance for an artist’s work to be seen by the wider public. It’s also been one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I've attended, so I would very much like to be part of it.
What is next for you as an artist?
I plan to immerse myself further in making ceramic pieces, learning as I go and further developing my print portfolio. This year, in July, I expect to show some work in Lambeth Open and maybe in the Urban Art fair in Brixton. I am also working towards building a website and hopefully will sell more of what I've done.
Has being part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?
Yes, definitely. I’ve very much enjoyed seeing the other artists work and reading about them. It was also from the website that I sold my first print and I'm very pleased to have been selected for Artist of the Month. It’s very encouraging for me.
To see more of Claire's work follow this link
Image: Claire Brennan, Outside