INTERVIEW • CHARLOTTE EDEY
How did you start making art? When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I was always drawing. I think it was reading that really sparked my interest; I always had my nose in a book as a child. As I grew older, I realized I drew to pacify myself or when I felt unable to articulate myself. I always found drawing to be instinctive, and it’s hugely important to me as a means of communicating. I had no idea what a career in art would entail, but knew I wanted to keep drawing, even if it was on my own time.
Where are you from? Has this impacted your art in any way?
I was born in Manchester and raised in London. My heritage is English, Bajan, Irish and a lot of my work is a contemplation on identity. The intersections of my own heritage certainly feed my interest in visual contrasts, with sterile structures next to lush, organic landscapes and improbable use of scale.
What themes are you exploring in your artwork?
Female identity is a recurring theme, but I think my recent work has really been an exploration of balance. The idea of balance is both precarious and delicate and my recent works are very much on the edge. I love playing with scale and visual contrasts to suggest equilibrium, and most of my figures are miniature for that reason.
Where does your artwork get influenced or inspired from?
Visually, I’m really drawn to fluidity and wide landscapes. Cities make people feel bigger than they are, but a vast landscape shrinks people. I think it’s kind of sublime to be reminded of how small you really are. Recently, I have been drawn to spaces of peace. Private chapels, still-life arrangements, mementos, the right two sentences from a book. My work has become quite a bit softer, there are less hard lines and black outlines and I’m working a lot more in pencil.
How do you go about choosing the colour palette for a piece of art?
It’s usually mood based. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed working in muted neutrals with pops of warmth.
Who are some artists we should be on the watch for?
Some of my favourites are Joy Miessi, Sanam Khatibi, Jee Ook, Liam Cobb and Micah Ofstedahl.
Are there any specific avant-garde or surrealist artists that you take inspiration from?
So many. Kay Sage, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington all hold a special place in my heart. I’m really excited for new work from Juno Calypso too.
Describe the process of your artwork
The composition and detail is always done by hand, usually first in pencil then in fineliner. I colour digitally fairly often, but have started colouring in pencil and light watercolour washes for more texture. Commercial deadlines are usually pretty demanding in terms of turnaround, so when I am working on personal work, I try to take my time. I’m allowing myself more time to finish pieces and focus on the hand-drawn elements of them. I work primarily now in print, tapestries and ceramics, and have experimented with concrete relief and copper engraving in the last couple of years.