I have been so excited to share this interview with @charlottekeates!
I interviewed Charlotte back in 2020, and so this feature has been a long time coming. In her own words, Charlotte describes her works as 'architectural, dystopian, dreamscapes'.
Discussing her work routine she says: 'I think I have quite a bizarre way of working… I have very little structure to my day. Often I will wake up around 10.30am (maybe 11am if it’s been particularly late) then I’ll make a cup of tea, have a shower and settle into the day pretty slowly. I’m very creatively useless in the mornings. I am probably at my most ‘creative’ from around 11pm and I frequently paint until about 4.30am. At night time, its so quiet and peaceful, with no distractions and so much easier to lose yourself in a painting.'
LET'S START WITH A Quick one - what 3 words would you use to describe your artwork?
Hmmm architectural, dystopian, dreamscapes
Tell me about your artist story. How were you trained? Tell me about your journey to where you are now CHARLOTTE?
I studied at Falmouth University, where I was lucky enough to have the lovely Lisa Wright as my tutor and mentor (I think you previously interviewed her too) I had a couple of galleries come to my degree show, and was super fortunate to have them show my work in group exhibitions a few months later.
I then moved to London and worked part time in Interior design whilst painting as much as possible. The interior design company actually gave me my very first studio (which was directly behind Westminster Abbey in a very grand and very haunted attic studio space)
I then started painting full time in a live/work studio in Hackney for a few years and just last year I moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
What would be your dream project?
I’d love to have my work hang in the MOMA or the Whitney Museum one day
What is your studio like CHARLOTTE? Where do you like to create best? What are your artist necessities? What could you not live without?
We are actually in the process of building a studio. Working with what we have to create the best, most inspiring space to work from. At the moment I’m based in the top/attic room in our house - its pretty spacious and with a great view of the harbour and sea, but the pitched roof makes it tricky for larger works. A home studio has always made sense for me - I love being able to dip in and out at any hour… I think its weirdly necessary for the way that I work. I find it incredibly difficult to force myself to stick to certain hours, or be disciplined within ‘typical working hours’ I’ve never been the type to need to differentiate painting and day to day life, as they sort of just blend into one. Another necessity = coffee!
What do you listen to while you work?
I usually listen to podcasts, audiobooks and music whilst painting. I find podcasts and books often help me lose awareness of time… with music you are always so conscious that 2 or 3 minus has passed with each song. Interestingly when making these large scale ritual drawings I have to either have gentle music or silence. I find that the sound of each mark on the paper helps me figure out where the piece is going and how I want it to evolve.
Tell me about your artistic process? What does an average working day look like to you?
I think I have quite a bizarre way of working… I have very little structure to my day. Often I will wake up around 10.30am (maybe 11am if it’s been particularly late) then I’ll make a cup of tea, have a shower and settle into the day pretty slowly. I’m very creatively useless in the mornings. I am probably at my most ‘creative’ from around 11pm and I frequently paint until about 4.30am. At night time, its so quiet and peaceful, with no distractions and so much easier to lose yourself in a painting.
Who or what are your biggest influences, and how do you find them? How do these come out in your work?
I think inspiration and influences are found all over. At the moment I’m really inspired by translated Japanese haikus and using these as a starting point or title for my paintings. I am interested in how words can inspire imagery without being illustrative… and how I can further this imagery and brings the words emotiveness into painting
Your work has a huge architectural side to it. What do you want your work to say? What are the main themes and motifs running through your work? Is there a narrative that runs throughout?
I’m not trying to convey a message or a bigger picture within the works really. It’s more about conveying and recreating an experience and feeling for the viewer. My approach is entirely personal, based on my own experiences and memories and I think there’s something special when that can instil a similar feeling or relate to the viewers own internal landscapes.
What role does colour play in your work?
Colour has always been one of the parts of painting that excites me the most. I am always trying to push the way that I can use colours together and alongside one another. For me its all about balance and making the piece feel right… but this doesn’t always mean a tonally balanced painting. I want to keep surprising myself, letting the colours sing.
What are you most proud of during your career?
I’m pretty proud to be able to do what I love so much, every single day and support myself financially. There are always going to be tricky days/weeks/months, super exciting times and super flat times…but I think for me there’s no better joy than being stuck into a painting.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have 4 kidneys
I THINK THAT'S THE MOST SURPRISING ONE I'VE HEARD! If you could have a meal with any artist from any time, what would the meal be and who would it be with?
I think I’d really love to be in Sweden having dinner with Mamma Andersson, maybe after a long day in her studio printmaking together.. what a dream
Favourite historical female artist?
Louise Bourgeois, Francesca Woodman, Barbara Hepworth
Favourite current practicing artists?
Ohh there’s just so many but to name a few :