INTERVIEW | CHARLOTTE KEATES
  All works by Charlotte Keates.

All works by Charlotte Keates.

Some days ago I saw a painting by Charlotte Keates on Instagram, and I immediately fell in love with her special universe; her play with perspective, and how she combines interior, architecture and nature into her own imaginary world. So I wrote her, and asked if she would tell about her work in an interview for I DO ART. I’m very pleased that she said yes.

“I am particularly interested in the dialogue between architecture and nature. Ever-inspired by the 1960’s and 70’s classical architectural interiors, I aim to create intriguing and surprisingly illusionary interiors. These spaces convey a sense of stillness, a peaceful and calm location of contemplation – a space to think. Particular experiences and observations forge the main architectural structures, angles and objects in my paintings, where I aim to portray the beauty achieved through geometric simplicity.” Charlotte explains in a statement about her work.

Can you tell us a little about you and your background?
I was born in Somerset, UK and studied Fine Art at Falmouth University for 4 years, where I specialised in painting and received a First Class Honours Degree. I then moved straight to London and have been living here ever since. Because of my love for interiors I initially worked part time at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, but I am now thrilled to say that I am a full time artist.

Tell us about your technique and process. Do you do a lot of sketching or do you work directly on the final piece?
Although sketching and drawing underpins everything that I paint, I do not use it to plan a painting before I begin – I find this too forced and sort of unexciting. Usually I tend to start with a section of the interior or architecture in my painting and let the painting unfold from there – it is the working out as I draw/paint onto the board that I find most fascinating.

Textures and consistency of paint play an integral role in my process. The surface that I paint on is my initial process – an adapted version of a traditional gesso ground, which is painted onto the panel in a very fluid, free manner. The rocks and mountainous elements in my paintings mirror the same sensibility and texture. The exposed fragments of ‘ground’ are as much a part of the painting as the paint itself, particularly the outdoors. I love that each process within my paintings co-exist and become as important as each other – it’s not just a means to an end – each brush stroke is intentional from ground to paint.

When did your interest in the 1960’s and 70’s classical architectural interiors begin?
I have always loved interiors – it is the combination of colour, light and form that intrigues me. I am always aiming to push the boundaries of perceived space. Although I do love the 1960’s and 70’s style of interior architecture, the interiors that I paint are entirely imagined – I am very interested in architecture; a certain angle or spatial construction within a room. I do not necessarily have a constructed interior in my head, I start with one element that has inspired me and let the painting unfold.

Although people don’t feature in my paintings, I like to think that they have just left; personal objects are left lying around, yet no-one is to be seen. What I really like is that the viewer can relate to my work through their own experiences and create their own individual response – I think that this is so important for my work.

Where do you find inspiration?
It definitely helps living in London and having incredible galleries on my doorstep. Inspiration can be sourced from many different areas, it almost become an obsession. Everything around you can relate in one way or another; I may see a wonderful colour or a beautiful angle of a chair, and that’s all it takes to trigger a painting – an initial starting point that develops subconsciously over time. My paintings are about control and constraint as well as self expression and experimentation. You can never be bored if you remain inspired and inquisitive. To be able to do something that other people can enjoy and relate to, is simply a plus!

You have a big solo show coming up at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh, please tell us more about this?
I am so excited to be showing my first solo exhibition of large paintings at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh, UK. The exhibition is titled “Exploiting perspective; a harmony in chaos” and explores the idea of a lived-in space. It fuses both memory and imagination to creating a ‘dream-like’ world. I am aiming to push the boundaries of perceived space through the use of incongruous spatial constructions, whilst building a dialogue between interior with exterior in a convincing yet improbable manner.

I hope for the spaces to elicit a sense of stillness, a peaceful and calm location of contemplation and thought. Looking closely at the interior rooms, there is a mimicking of the decorative details of an empty theatre-set design. The lack of figures encourages and asks the space to be occupied by its viewer, allowing the narrative to be deciphered by the onlooker. Studying the paintings one is inside looking out, whilst also outside looking in and so a person in the space would divulge too much of a narrative or personality. I like that the objects in the interior act as a footprint and suggestion of a person who had been there before. So if you should go to Edinburgh, the exhibition is open from Thursday 2nd of June – 23rd of June.

You have had a lot of exhibitions during the last years. Can you tell us a little bit about your way after you graduated?
I was fortunate enough to be picked up by a couple of galleries at my final degree show and it sort of just took off from there. I feel very lucky to be able to spend all day every day doing exactly what I love.

In which direction do you see your work progressing?
It may sound a little odd but I don’t like thinking about the direction in which my work might go, as this is all part of the fun of painting. If I can predict my next work then I perhaps shouldn’t be doing it… fluidity and natural development is so important to me. I am however embarking on a 3 month road trip around the US and Canada this summer, where I plan to spend a lot of my time sketching, photographing and drawing and so I am certain that I will come back refreshed and full of new ideas and inspiration.

  All works by Charlotte Keates.

All works by Charlotte Keates.

Karina Petersen (f. 1982) er grafisk designer har taget en kandidat i Grafisk Design ved Designskolen Kolding, 2009. Karina har bidraget til idoart.dk siden 2015.