I love ideas. My work is always sparked off by an idea, a phrase Ive heard, a conversation, or just a random thought. I like simplicity so my paintings are based on a simplified landscape and always feature people and often animals especially dogs. I would say that I paint visual metaphors.
2. And where is your studio located?
I have the tiniest studio but I love it. It is in my house, which allows me to be flexible about when I want to work. It has French doors onto an enclosed courtyard, a long skinny window that shows all my roses in summer, a skylight and an under the stair cupboard feeling because the stairs come over the door. On beautiful days I open the doors up and half feel like Im painting in the garden and on cold days its warm and cosy and the rain sounds wonderful on the skylight. I live in a very multicultural inner city suburb in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is a fabulous little city and when I need to go and find inspiration I head out my door and start walking. The central city and the beautiful harbor are about a twenty minute walk away.
3. Since your studio is a part of your home, I imagine you can truly work at anytime. So, what have you found to be the best time of day (or night) to get work done?
Im a very perky early bird. So I get up at the crack of dawn, make a cup of tea and head straight into my studio. I adore the peace and quiet of the mornings and being up before anyone else. My brain is humming with ideas at that time of day (quite the contrast at night).
4. Very cool. How long have you been pursuing work as an artist?
I dont remember a time I wasnt making things or drawing. But I really saw being creative as a career when I ended up in design school (after being side tracked trying out other things first) in my early twenties. Since then I have always made my living through being an artist in one form or another. I started painting full time about nine years ago and opened Barkingmad (my greeting card and image company) about five years ago.
5. Just being able to call yourself a full-time artist is quite the measure of success for many. But we all define success in different ways. So, I am curious”¦ What has been your most exciting / noteworthy event or happening in your work recently that you interpret as a success?
It is of course lovely when you sell lots of paintings in an exhibition or have great sales in a shop, but what I find most rewarding to me is when someone tells me how inspiring they find having one of my paintings. I recently had an email from a woman whose house had been destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake. She said the one piece of artwork she managed to save was my painting. It is now hanging in her dining room and every time she looks at it, it makes her calm and gives her hope. When I get an e mail like that I know Im doing something right.
6. Absolutely! What a fantastic story. Switching gears a bit… What advice do you have for other artists who may be just starting out, or are struggling to be seen?
Find your style”¦”¦..the way you express yourself and what you want to say”¦”¦.this can take time and perseverance. Always be honest and fair with your customers and try and give them a little more than they might have expected then they will recommend you. And dont forget business can be creative and fun too. Surround yourself with good people and always have a laugh.
Thanks so much for the interview and tour of your studio Crispin!