Hoy comparto una entrevista a Ann Carrington. Conocí su trabajo hace aproximadamente unos 3 años y desde entonces su trabajo ha seguido sorprendiendome.
Ann realiza sus obras de arte a partir de materiales deshechados, botones, piezas usadas, piezas de anticuario, restos, lo que no impide que su trabajo sea cotizado en el mundo entero. Sus piezas artesanales son ya deseo de coleccionista, por lo que tiene disponible también a través de su web, impresiones de alta calidad de sus obras originales.
Did you know from your childhood that you were going to be an artist?
I always loved drawing and painting and was quite good at it too ! My teacher used to ask me to illustrate the lessons on the black board for the other children. I can remember other people telling me I would be an artist when I grew up, but I had no role models as I am not from an artistic family so it wasn’t until I went to art college that I realised I could be an artist as my ‘job’ !
At what age and how did you start your artist journey?
As soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil I wanted to draw, paint and make things. I remember saving up for a year so I could purchase my first camera when I was seven and then when I was nine my art teacher at school gave me a present to take home – a box of beautiful inks and a drawing book. I enrolled at the local art college when I was ten where they had weekend art lessons for children – needless to say I loved it!
You use so many textures in your work, how do you determine the materials with the piece?
I like my art works to tell a story and the materials are part and parcel of that. All objects come with their own histories or associations whether you are talking about an old tea pot, a pair of shoes or a box of old buttons. I like to explore and unravel the stories within an object to make a new narrative. So, for example, a coconut shell, for me, evokes memories of being a child and banging together two halves of a coco nut to make the sound of galloping horses – and from this seed of an idea I made sculptures of life size galloping horses from coconut shells.
Another idea I had was to make a crocodile from beaten up crocodile shoes – taking the shoes full circle and returning them to the crocodile. So the materials often determine the artwork as they reveal their stories to me and because of this method of working I am constantly working with new materials and textures which keeps me on my toes as I have to constantly learn new techniques to conquer new materials.
What has inspired you in the past to create your pieces?
I take inspiration from many diverse sources. The Pearly Kings and Queens of London inspired me to make all my Pearly Queens. For a long time I had wanted to remake postage stamps as art works as the British First Class stamp representing the Queen is strikingly beautiful and yet we are so over familiar with it and because it is so small it is kind of invisible. So I decided to blow the stamp up – to present it in much bigger dimensions and as you do that all the printing dots appear like buttons – so I recreated these enormous stamps in buttons a la Pearly Kings and Queens.
Another piece – ‘Tusk’ was inspired by the time I spent in Africa (I had a studio in Zimbabwe for a while) I wanted to make some elephant tusks on my return and decided to make them from ivory and bone handled knives. An elephant uses its tusks for cutting and stabbing in much the same way we might use a knife so I felt they were perfect for the piece – and the fact that the knives incorporated bone and ivory meant that the sculpture had a kind of cyclical story.
So I have been inspired by many diverse sources! Denim always evokes the Wild West and Cowboys so I have made a lot of American inspired pieces from denim (Stars and Stripes, Map of USA).
When you come across different materials, do you see the potential of an art piece?
Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t. Sometimes you I will see interesting objects juxtaposed which might suggest an idea . Or I may see things in multiples and that will trigger a new direction – I recently drove past piles of defunct car tyres in a scrap yard – all laid out in a long line like a tree trunk – that got me thinking about rubber trees and the way tread on a car tyre resembles the veins on a leaf ( because they essentially have the same function). A couple of months later I was commissioned to make an art work for the Rothschild collection – a piece to be displayed in the grounds of the family seat Waddesdon Manor and I built a rubber tree from tyres which I called ‘Ficus Elastica’.
I always take photographs or record the idea in sketch form and then I will return to it when I have the time to develop the idea more fully
Your button artwork is so beautiful, how long does a piece like the crown take you? About 3/ 4 months – though I don’t sit down and work on one piece at a time – I always have several art works and ideas on the go.
Because my art works are so time consuming , the art works command quite high prices, particularly as they become more collectable. This was why I decided to produce signed Limited Edition prints of some of my art works which are available from my web site –anncarrington.co.uk. The prints are fantastic quality and affordable.
Do you do all the work yourself or have assistants?
I have assistants who help on certain projects for example I am building an enormous mural for the W Hotel in New York this Easter and a gang of us are going out to build it. Other pieces – like the button pieces are made entirely by me. I have just moved in to a great new studio in a Victorian railway building – so I have lots of hands on deck getting that straight.
What is one of your favourite pieces that you created?
I won a National Competiton to build a public sculpture for Margate which is where my studio is based . Margate is a small sea side town famous for its beautiful beaches, shell grotto and sea shell souvenirs . I wanted to make a sculpture that was quintessentially Margate –. When I was younger I used to visit the souvenir shops in Margate and they were full of little ladies in crinolines made from sea shells – so my idea for the sculpture was to take one of these little ladies and make her into a bronze sculpture- a permanent shell lady, standing ten feet high and cast in bronze – a scaled up version of the original – so the little shell lady is granted all the civic respect of a local hero.
When the sculpture was eventually installed at the end of the pier looking out to sea (in late 2009) she meant a lot to me, not least because my childrens’ names (Isaac and Rose ) are carved into the bronze shells.
What are you working on presently?
Lots of things, I mentioned the piece I am building for the W Hotel – I am installing a huge ( 23 x 18ft) magnetic wall. The image on the wall will be the Manhattan Skyline as seen from Hoboken. The image will be built up from thousands of magnetic metal objects (spanners, keys, New York transit tokens, dollars and dimes) inspired by the industrial docklands landscape in Hoboken.
I am also working on several pieces for the study at Yale University inspired by the University – right now I am thinking along the lines of making a piece from exam papers and hard back books.
Are you doing and international exhibits?
A lot of my work is in America, though I am based in the UK . I try to have an exhibition every couple of years, I am making plans for a show in Texas next year.
Who is your favourite artist?
What has been one of the most exciting moments of your career so far?
Some of the most exciting moments are the eureka moments when I have been working on an idea for a long time and then suddenly it comes together – like when I worked out how to make the Pearly Queens – the buttons and the image coming together.
Winning the Commonwealth Fellowship for Sculpture was pretty good – it enabled me to travel all over Southern Africa and set up studio in Zimbabwe. The most recent exciting thing was being invited to make a piece for the United Nations for a conference on Human Trafficking – I travelled to Luxor, Egypt just before Christmas to speak and present my artwork.
Do you find that being a mom has been difficult to balance your work and family life?
Yes I do ! I have a great husband who helps out a great deal – so if the children aren’t with me they are with him which is a good thing. I always see them off to school and finish in time for tea, bath and bed and I never work weekends. If I am working abroad I try and arrange the trip in the school holidays so that they can join me. The family all came out to Egypt when I made the piece for the United Nations at Christmas , they also came to Brazil for 2 weeks when I was working on a piece in Bahia last year – and they are coming to New York in the Spring . I think it is fantastic experience for them to visit so many places.
Thank you Ann for sharing with us!