Travelling artist – Spotlight on painter, print-maker and performer Camilla Brendon
Camilla Brendon is a multi-media artist, to whom travel and exploration are important factors in her creativity. Here we talk about her inspirations and career highlights, and find out about an ambitious upcoming project…
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I am a London based painter, printer, installer and collage artist. I explore themes of culture, geography, faith and existence. My work has an emphasis on strong, vibrant colour and powerful, bold shape. I love experimenting with new ideas and materials. My website documents my development over the last decade: www.camillabrendon.com
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I have always been an artist. My family is very creative. I grew up surrounded by sewing, cooking, music and gardening. Starting to draw and paint came naturally to me.
What training did you have?
I did a National Diploma in Fine Art at home in Kent, then went on to do BA in Fine Art at Kingston University.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Experiencing different cultures and places is key to my artistic practice. Bearing this in mind I would have to say a couple of things stand out. In 2007 I was awarded the Stanley Picker travel grant this was as a result of my proposed trip to South Korea. I use the grant to research how Contemporary Korean art was being affected by the globalisation of the art market. I used what I found out during the trip to produce several series of work, including ‘The Lotus Series” and to write my BA dissertation.
The second thing was in September 2013 I was selected to take part in the And’Art residency held in Casablanca. During the residency international and Moroccan artists worked together to exchange cultural ideas and professional practice. The residency allowed me to work in new surroundings and focus on different subject matter, outside my normal life with the pressures of juggling a full schedule in London. I also experimented with media I had not used before, making my first stop-animation.
The residency culminated in an exhibition where I showed individual work and installation work with Mariell Hehir.
Coming away from And’Art I entered a new phase of work producing the ‘Memories of Casablanca’ works.
Who is your favourite artist?
I don’t really have a favourite artist but Cy Twombly and Frida Kahlo are both inspirational and amazing artists.
What are you aiming for?
I am aiming to make art that reflects on my experiences of life and travel in a way that encourages people to explore and question their own culture and surroundings. I plan to do this through my fine art practice and by running a hostel galley with an artist residency program.
How will you get there?
I’m on the way. The next step is to begin 34South|61North a project that will see me travel from Chile to Alaska collaborating with artists and showing work physically and online as I progress. The project is explained here.
I am currently looking for people who are interested in taking part. The concept and requirements are explained at the link above. The success of this work will be determined by audience participation, so even if you can’t participate publicity is really important, so pass on the philosophy, basically you can help me to get to my goal!
Is anything holding you back?
No, I’m flying to Chile in February.
You and art
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I get a variety of reactions. My paintings and collage work are normally the most popular. I have been shocked by extreme negative and positive reactions in the past. As I get more experienced reactions don’t surprise me so much. Art is subjective so you have to expect anything!
I recently did a performative installation piece “Sakura Instal’ at The Shag 5. To do this I created hundreds of cherry blossom cut using old newspaper. I installed the work over the duration of the event interacting with the audience as I went. The result was a transformation of the three story house come studio space. Then I answered the audiences question and they seemed to have connected with the idea or changing an environment with something fragile to change how a place is perceived even if only for a few moments. I was really taken back by how popular the work was and am really looking forward to pursuing this work as I travel for 34South|61North.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It depends. When I begin physically making the art its normally a matter of hours. Having said that the idea sage of the work can take years. I write poetry to begin and take photos. I also have some themes that are continuous through my practice. I have been using symbolic images of cherry blossom, since I lived in Japan three years ago.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
During 34South|61North I am going to continue to show work in the UK and attend group crits via skype that I normally physically attend. I am also planning to help UK based artists show work in The Americas. If you are interested in a cross continent work dialogue and exchange get in touch with me, to do this use my Facebook project page 34South|61North or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Being inspired by art
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
As an artist I am constantly considering my environment and how it compares to different places.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
The Spectrum series was made over summer 2012. This work captured ideas that I had been considering for a couple of years. The resulting work marked my transition into more collage work. The whole seires is here, or have a look at Spectrum Gold on my HOME page of ArtWeb.
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
My advice is to stay true to what you want to do. Don’t make things that you think people want to see. If you persevere and do what you really believe in it should pay off.