Moving between illustration, painting, and ceramics with multi-talented artist Claire Christerson
On the opening of their solo show at Larrie in New York City, we talk to Claire about their journey through art and finding the medium which keeps them most on their toes.
- Joey Levenson
- 22 July 2021
“Of all the mediums I work with, drawing is the one that came first and remains the core,” multidisciplinary artist Claire Christeron tells It’s Nice That on their expansive career. With a brand new solo show entitled Spiral in Stone opening from the 25th July to 7th August at Larrie in New York City, we found no better time than now to talk to the fascinatingly multi-talented Claire. “It all started from wanting to illustrate fairy tales in highschool,” they say. What started for Claire has since remained, as one look across their portfolio shows a Grimm-like fairytale quality to their art, whether that be in illustration, photography, ceramics or painting. “My drawings have definitely inspired my ceramic practice, paintings, and my occasional video works,” they add. “I mostly work between drawing, painting and ceramics now and the ceramics are often inspired by pulling motifs or figures from my 2D works”. Claire’s continuous inspirations of “friendship, growth, snails, plants and internal vs external experiences” is what cements them as an artist with undeniably fun energy. Their work feels at once personal and serious as it does magical and other-worldly.
“My style is consistent with what I enjoy,” Claire says. “I like to work with similar themes and imagery that can grow and change over time, and I always hope for my 'style' to stay in development”. As such a forward-thinking innovative artist, it’s to no surprise that they’ve seemingly mastered so many different artistic mediums – ready and waiting to use them at their disposal. “My process has grown so much in preparation for my next solo show, Spiral in Stone,” they tell us. “The majority of the works will be new ceramic sculptures and vessels, most of which started as simple doodles and grew into their 3D forms as I’ve learned to translate my works on paper into clay”. Drawing from the pastoral and macabre territories of gardens and cemeteries, Claire hopes to breathe new life into their art work with Spiral in Stone. With both feet planted firmly on the ground, Claire observes the world around them to make always-inventive whimsical challenges to conquer in their art. “It’s exciting to incorporate these elements from my 2D work to create objects that can be functional and also fit into my world,” they say.
Claire is also quick to cite the upcoming exhibition as a favourite of theirs, but not for reasons of it being particularly better than their past work. Instead, Claire is simply an artist who doesn’t dwell on former works, “though I definitely remember them”. Every new project for Claire is going to be their best. “I get so excited to keep on going with my ideas, so my favourite work is always what is happening in the moment,” they say. “Because it’s what is challenging me and motivating me to learn new things and grow”. Perhaps that’s part of the reason as to how Claire has managed to sustain success in multiple mediums; resisting the jack of all trades and master of none, Claire is quite simply a master of all. “The way I create my art has changed the most over time,” the artist tells us. “I’ve moved into ceramics and oil painting, and my ceramics practice has evolved because I am just so interested in always learning new techniques”.
As an artist who finds joy in maximising time spent in the studio, Claire is a lover of the process as much as they are the product. “One thing that I appreciate the most about ceramics and oil painting as well, is the slowness of that work,” they explain. “Working with these materials is more time-consuming, and it creates an intentionality that has strengthened me as an artist – patience has become more of my strong suit”.
But what is the magic behind sustaining such a cohesive vision over time? With so many plates spinning at once, there is always the conscious anxiety of an artist that a recognisable and distinct point of view may slip through the cracks. “Over time, I think that the fundamental ideas of my work have remained the same,” Claire says. “There is always the enjoyment of play, a reflection of memories, celebration of childhood, life, death, nature”. Ultimately, Claire hopes to continue creating sculptural and functional ceramic artworks, as well as new paintings. “I’m excited for more opportunities to share them with folks and for collaboration!”
Claire Christerson: Heart Map (Copyright © Claire Christerson, 2017)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.