Ever wondered what it would be like to leave your day job and become an artist? Two women, Clara Hallencreutz and Phaedra Peer talk passion, inspiration and the good and bad of being a career artist...
Clara Hallencreutz, Sweden
“Being an artist is the best work in the world! I get to play around with my imagination and express myself through art. The downside is that it’s a bit lonely as I have no colleagues – especially as I like having people around me. I wish I could have a big entourage like Andy Warhol had at The Factory… a girl can dream! My passion for art comes from my home. We have a lot of creative people in my family. My relatives and parents have always been eager to show me and my siblings museums and art shows around the world and in our hometown. They have always been very supportive of us practicing whatever makes our heart tick and since that was art for me, they’ve become my biggest supporters. They have really helped me to pursue a career which is slightly unconventional. I wish that more people would dare to choose an occupation in something that they think could only be a hobby. I find a lot of inspiration from the Abstract Expressionism movement in which the artist expresses themselves purely through the use of form and colour. In my opinion, colours are the most powerful instrument to capture the viewer and form a connection. Colourful artwork has the power to transform the mood and ambiance of the environment and the spectator. Before we have time to explore what is actually depicted in the artwork, the colours within affect us. That’s why it is the most immediate tool to work with. I choose objects that have an appealing form or texture. It’s also important that it is a common object so that a lot of people have associations to it. Then it becomes fun to twist the imagination and prescription of it. There can never be too many artists in the world because everyone’s imagination is unique therefore your art will be unique as well! That’s why it is important to support other artists. I think we all are “works in progress” our whole life. There are always things that we can work on to become better people, we should always be improving. That’s why I love getting older. I hope to showcase my art in more countries and cities around the world. It’s always so interesting to see how different cultures respond to the work. My biggest dream now is maybe showcasing my work at the Art Basel.”
Phaedra Peer, London
“There is no holiday or sick pay. I don’t have a stable income and sometimes I really miss the structure of routine. However, I remind myself that though I have these fleeting moments of career blues, when I had a standard 9-5 I was miserable all the time – it’s definitely not for me. There is a wonderful feeling when I start a painting, a satisfaction and pride of finishing it and the sheer thrill when it sells! I grew up being inspired first and foremost by Stella Vine. I can’t praise her work highly enough, it’s so emotive and wonderful to me. Being exposed to mostly classical fine artists during my education, it was such a breath of fresh air to realise that there was another way of portraying art, that is so much more fun and yet still speaks to people. I also love Marcus Harvey, Anthony Lister and Marlene Dumas and then there are street artists such as Fafi, Alec Monopoly and Ben Frost. My work toes the line between pop art and urban art. Sometimes I will depict things in blocks of colour and lots of acrylic paint such as Lichtenstein and Warhol did and other times its stencils and spray paints. I would describe it as fun and fresh and hopefully aesthetically pleasing. I’m very enamoured by the stuckist movement which promotes figurative rather than conceptual art. It’s an international concept and was started in galleries around Shoreditch. In that sense ‘Brit Art’ is very relevant as we’re doing some pretty ground breaking stuff. I like to depict the apparent glitz and glamour of fame but set it against a background of something darker. When I think of celebrities I don’t think of the fame and fortune, I think of the countless stories of mental breakdowns and suicide. The inevitability of your looks and youth and money becoming washed up, I think it would be a really unsettling position to be in. I now have some great clients. One very loyal customer is from Sotheby’s and she must have purchased about 20 paintings by now. I did a commission for Jenny Frost from Atomic Kitten and have sold to a few other glamorous models and city people. Apart from that, currently my work is in various galleries around London as well as some clubs, bars and restaurants. I think everyone is born with a vocation whether you are lucky enough to pursue it or not. This is definitely my calling in life and as soon as I realised that, everything else just seemed to slot into place.” Do you have a story to tell? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org