Young Masters Interview with Charlotte Piper
Charlotte Piper is a recent graduate from MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts. She tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.
What is it about the Young Masters concept that interests you most?
Young Masters acknowledges and actively promotes the importance that traditional skills and values have in contemporary art: current thinking does not exist in a vacuum but is intrinsically linked to the past. The confidence demonstrated by Young Masters and its commitment to showcasing such works is passed on to artists. This support is invaluable to an artist, such as myself, who is entering the next level of their professional practice.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
Through sculpture and painting, my work explores ways in which the body maps and processes its experiences – how embodiment and the senses enable the self to navigate its world.
Research centres on the psychological and emotional relationships between body, space and memory, extending ideas materially through symbolism and metaphor. Recent work references Carl Jung’s interpretation of alchemy; that is, how this ancient science mirrors mind and spiritual transformation.
Complementing my interest in embodiment and symbolism, I am drawn to the balance and tension of the ‘everyday’ and mortality; the ordinary and the extraordinary; what is concealed, what is revealed.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
As my work develops, so the artists who inspire me shift. They do, however, have commonalities and focus on narrative through form, line and texture. One core artist is Prunella Clough. I never stop learning from her re-interpretation and transformation of everyday objects. Others tend to be from Spanish-speaking countries, whether 17th century Juan Sanchez Cotan or contemporary artists such as Fernanda Gomes and Paulo Nimer Pjota.
Can you tell us something about your background?
The Welsh side of my family are a mix of artists, writers, actors – and doctors – so artistic influences were part of my childhood. Although my early career was as an office administrator, I maintained and developed my love of art (primarily drawing) through adult education classes and workshops. Living in London, I have been very fortunate to have galleries and museums on my doorstep.
What inspired you to become an artist, and where did you train?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t absorbed in telling stories, either through drawing or writing. These were for my own entertainment although later found an audience with friends and at school. Although circumstances prevented me from going to college earlier, being an artist is in my DNA and I have always been involved in that world. I later studied at Central Saint Martins, gaining a degree in Textiles Design, and in June this year, I graduated from the MFA Fine Art course at Wimbledon.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
My identity is too wound up in being an artist to have a clear answer: on my father’s side, Yorkshire, I’ve inherited a logical and forensic side to my personality… Before Wimbledon, I worked for a television production company, where my responsibilities centred on music rights and clearances for all programming. The legal complexities and media-creative environment suited me, so perhaps this would be my answer.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My biggest achievement is a personal one: no matter what the obstacle, I never wavered from my ambition to one day become a professional artist. I kept faith in myself and my work and, when the opportunity finally came, I took the plunge to study full-time. When I graduated from Central Saint Martins, it was, like the cliché, a dream come true.
What are your plans for the future?
I intend to continue exhibiting, including with a group of professional artists I have recently joined. To take my professional practice forward, I have moved into an ASC studio complex – an ideal environment for developing new work and meeting like-minded people. Early 2016, I will be co-curating a group exhibition. This is my first experience of curation, which I’m looking forward to.