MEET THE ARTIST: Claire de Lune Simultaneously serious and absurd

Claire de Lune is a Scottish ceramic artist and painter living and working in Margate. Claire started her multi-media art practice in Edinburgh before relocating to Glasgow, London and Berlin. Her playfulness with materials was evident from the start, and she has now created her own immersive world of characters and symbols, little talismanic islands of love and hope for the viewer.

1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
I love the humour and playfulness of DADA, Situationist, and Fluxus movements. The simultaneous seriousness and absurdity. I think visually I have more in line with folk arts, though I don't like to belong to a club too precisely. I would rather start my own club...

2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I rotate between my studio at Bon Volks, Clayspace Ceramics Studio, and my studio at home, here in Margate. I'm a fidget! And I like to change perspective on works, often having up to 10 pieces on the go at a time, and coming back to something with fresh eyes. Everywhere I work, I leave a trail of objects and artwork that inspire me, including my rock collection... I am happiest with the works that come from a place of clarity inside myself, so I guess I go inside my brain... I am pretty sensitive to my environment, so having a happy and comfortable working space is incredibly important. I make art every day, so I never really switch that part off. I find ideas solidify well when I am travelling, even if that's just the walk to my local cafe!

3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
Constant and ever evolving. Every day is a creative process, and you have to seek inspiration. I surround myself with objects and people who inspire me - I love to see my friend's artwork, and art objects I pick up on our travels. Everything has a story to tell, and I am particularly drawn to symbolic works that can be read in a multitude of ways. Narrative and symbolism are very important to me, and I love to read as much as possible about different ways of telling similar stories. I think artists have naturally inquisitive minds, so there is no such thing as boredom! 

Claire de Lune

4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
At the moment I really love Frida Kahlo. I was in St Petersburg recently and caught the most amazing retrospective of her work at the Faberge Museum. I had never seen her work and dresses in 3D before, and it was truly wonderful. I love the colours in Mexican work, both traditional and contemporary and I plan to make a pilgrimage to Frida's house in Mexico next year.

5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
I don't know what to do apart from making art! ..... I would probably try my luck at working for the Natural History Museum and help them with their taxidermy in the basement! Imagine getting to play with the collections every day!

6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
I listen to Paul Simon's Graceland a LOT.. You Can Call Me Al is always stuck in my head, and I never get sick of it. I have pretty varied taste, but love to listen to Punk when I need energy - Black Flag, or Misfits - and I love listening to Wire's new albums while I'm working. I get a lot done to Wire! I really enjoy singing loud (to my studio neighbours despair), so when that happens it is normally female vocals, maybe Sugar Cubes, The Slits, Go Gos or Regina Spektor. I could talk about music all day... The only time I take off working is to go to gigs all over the world. We recently went to Rome to see Patti Smith doing an intimate semi acoustic gig which was absolutely beautiful. She's one of my favourite people in the world. Music inspires my work a great deal, I'm inspired by wonderful people.


7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
I would buy Rauschenberg's Sheep Combine for my partner because it would make him really happy!

8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
The Smithsonian has an amazing collection of folk art and 'self-taught' art... But now I'm thinking more about which collections I want to explore, rather than be a part of!

9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?

Think long term!

While you develop your practice, you also need to think about the sustainability, and how to make a living.

10) What is your favourite book of all time (fiction or non-fiction)?
Angela Carter’s Fairy Tales and Hermann Hesse Fairytales are two books I return to time and time again. I have a copy of them both on my desk, plus extra copies for around the house and studio. Storytelling in this format really inspires my work.

11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non-traditional art setting, where would that be?
The moon! I would love to have some of my creatures climbing around the craters like The Clangers!

12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
Critical thinking! Developing a language to be able to talk about yourself, your work, and your ideas. I think that having critical faculty and to be able to objectively review something is a hugely necessary skill, not just in art, but across life. I think schools need to push this more, so people can make informed decisions about themselves, their work, and their opinions.

13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
I will still be in a workshop near the sea, with the cat on my lap, and clay all over my jeans. I hope I will have learnt a lot, met more amazing artists and been on a lot of exciting adventures. I love to travel, but I also plan to have a shed to call my own one day! You will still find me making art with my friends and partner, surrounded by the things that inspire us, and my library will have expanded exponentially!

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