See more work by Jacki Cairns at www.heartwork.co.uk
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I can’t describe myself in a few words….sorry…I am way too complicated!
How and when did you start out as an artist?
I started making art when I was 3. I do it as a job now, the only difference is that I am a little more self-critical about my work.
What training did you have?
I studied at Chelsea College of Art and then the Kent Institute of Art of Design, Canterbury. To be honest, I learnt far more when I started teaching Art… strange I know!
What has been your best creative achievement so far?
I got a 1st class degree in Fine Art, for someone who did so badly at school, never took Art at GCSE (as my teacher was useless) … I am pretty proud! I taught Art in secondary schools for 10 years and found it rather ironic I was teaching kids GCSE and A Level standard, when I by-passed both. I got a place at Chelsea based on my portfolio alone. I stood out like a sore thumb as I was self-taught and perceived the subject from a rather unusual angle.
What’s your favourite quote?
A pencil is pointless without a sharpener…..You live by the sword, you die by the sword……If in doubt, say ‘No’….
Who is your favourite artist?
That’s difficult….I guess Damien Hirst for his balls. Tracey Emin comes a close second though. I respect artists who put their neck on the line and question stuff.
What are you aiming for?
I am aiming for sales! I hope one day I can earn a good living out of my art… That’s my dream. In the meantime I juggle all sorts.
How will you get there?
The no. 52 from Mill Hill Broadway?……How longs a piece of string….I’m on a mission at the moment, currently exhibiting at ‘Art in the Heart’ Peterborough, but I am hoping to spread all over England like a rash.
Is anything holding you back?
I have ADHD, I procrastinate chronically! It is a double edged sword, it has given me the gift of a great imagination, but the downside is there are so many distractions. I am rubbish at multi-tasking… it’s a constant battle!
You and art
What sort of reactions do you get to your work? are you ever surprised?
I am amazed at how many people don’t know what the ‘Mod Target’ actually is. I don’t mind, I think its interesting though when the symbol is such a recognisable symbol for people of my age. I often start giving people an impromptu lesson in the history of 60s Pop Culture. Now we have the internet, everything is so diluted, I don’t think there will ever be teen movements like there were in the 60s/80s….we all watched the same stuff on TV and had listened to the same music, the choice simply wasn’t there. I guess I am reflecting on the past in a contemporary way….
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
Again, how long is a piece of string. I have a painting, I am still working on, which I started in 1998! I tend to work on many pieces at once, and therefore they take longer. They are all so different, its hard to come up with an average time. When I start something, there is very little logic or time frames involved.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I listen to Radio 2….it’s almost an addiction. I like the mixture of music and phone ins. The music can be really bad, but they also play some great stuff.
What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?
I am hoping to exhibit in Brighton next year, the feedback so far has been very positive but nothing has been signed on the dotted line yet. I am feeling the urge to do some more figurative work with a 60s twist. Watch this space!!
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Tracey Emin (her openess), Damien Hirst (his balls), Chuck Close (attention to detail), Richard Hamilton (composition), David Sylvian (his eloquence), Ingrid Chavez (her eloquence and beauty).
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
I try to work intuitively, the ideas come and a lot of the time I don’t know where from. I listen to my sub-conscious all the time. I like to turn my mistakes into happy accidents, and that makes my work more interesting for me. I don’t know where my work will end up until its done. I go on a journey, and follow my nose. Its a very exciting and addictive way to work. I’ve been working this way now for almost two decades. There appears to be no logic, but I can recognise some patterns in the way I work now, but it’s impossible to explain it.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
Probably ‘Mid-Life Crisis’….It started of an abstract oil painting, I was messing around with the colours and this seated figure with their head in their hands appeared from nowhere. I decided to turn it into me, gave it some clothes, my hair and purple nails! She looked just how I felt at the time. I had just got married and rather wished I hadn’t…We’re divorced now!
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
Something I am learning is the importance of marketing! There is no point making all this art, if no one gets to see it. Always, always, listen to your gut. I am beginning to learn that those times I didn’t, were the worst mistakes I ever made. Its really good to remove logic some time!