Claire Luxton does not sit still. As determined as she is talented, this girl has been carving herself a place in the art world since graduating with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from Goldsmiths university back in 2014. Her work spans across several mediums, and she is no stranger to the both the gallery environment, and the world of fashion.
In only a few short weeks, Claire's first solo show, Avalon, will launch at DegreeArt's gallery space on Vyner street. Grounded in Luxton's extensive research into mythology the show seeks to explore the notions of the sublime and submerge the viewer in a fantastical new world.
We thought this would be a good time to catch up with the artist and find out more about her journey and future plans.
How does it feel to be preparing for your first solo show only a year after graduating from Goldsmiths?
I am still so excited about preparing for my first solo exhibition. It’s such an amazing opportunity to showcase my work and practice, and one I hadn’t even imagined when I graduated Goldsmiths only 12 months ago. Back then I felt I had really developed my aesthetic and practice as an artist, however this past year in the professional world I feel my work has really evolved, taking on a new life of its own and Avalon feels like a manifestation of this growth and evolution.
The show is called Avalon after the mythical island in the legend of King Arthur. Does myth play an important part in your work? What drew you to this particular story?
Myths and Legend do often play an important developing role within my work. My third year dissertation centered on the relationship between the sea and mythology and that research really nurtured my love for both topics and it has since become integral to my practice. The Mythical Island of Avalon ties into not only my desires to further explore the void between mythology and reality, but also its historical context within culture and art. Moreover exploring Arthurian Legend allows me to further contemplate notions of the romantic and the sublime.
The Bride's Well Triptych 1 I, II, III, 100 x 67 x 0.5 cm, £1,600 (individually)
Self-portraiture is a big part of your practice. What do you find most challenging about the process?
The physicality of using myself within my work and the relationship I have to the self-portrait is really important to my practice. Recently my photoshoots have become more complex, and I often wish there were three of me to handle each of the different aspects of the process.
However, it is these challenges that force me to experiment and push my practice down new avenues that I might not have otherwise explored.
You’ve done some very exciting collaborations. Most notably your sculpture work for fashion designers Ada+Nik. Has your experience in the fashion industry had any impact on your art practice?
Working with Ada+Nik was a fantastic opportunity and it was a wonderful experience to work with creative, like minded people who happen to operate in a slightly different artistic field. I find that Art and Fashion can often go hand in hand, and I personally have always had a keen interest in fashion outside of my art. I don’t think that my experience in fashion has caused me to change my practice at all. If anything I feel it has re-affirmed to me the validity of what I do within my own work and shown me ways in which it can transposed across the creative spectrum.
A little known fact about you is that you are an expert welder. How did you obtain this skill and what was your first time welding like?
My first experience of welding was with my dad in his workshop, (he builds miniature gauge steam trains) the process of welding and the materials used, always excited me, even from a very young age.
When I went to Goldsmiths I took advantage of the metal workshop there and their welding facilities, creating the first of my signature ‘Cubes’. Since gradating I have come back full circle to my Dad’s workshop for any time I need to use the mig welder. I love having this skill as part of my practice and I like love to develop it further to be tryly called an expert!
The Hollow Shrine, 152 x 152 x 152 cm, £16,000 (painted panels available for sale individually)
Do you work at home, or in a studio space?
As mentioned earlier, anything that is mainly metal based or large in weight or structure I use my father’s workshop, but for my primary practice of painting and photography I have a studio set up in my own house.
Its really important for me that I can access my studio at all hours as I often love working into the night or early in the morning, so having a space set up at my home is perfect for me. I’m sure all artists have their dream studio in their head and mine would have to encompass facilities of all three of my disciplines - sculpture, painting and photography. I hope to establish such a space over the coming year.
Describe your typical day as an artist.
I like to make the most of the day, so I get up at around 6:30 have breakfast and a green tea, check my emails and go through my Instagram.
I will then get ready for the day and make my way to the studio or location, depending on what I’m working on. The first thing that I when I arrive to the studio is prep the space. This is really important to my process especially now that I’m working with resin - the space needs to be totally dust and residue free and the supports for my canvases have to be securely in place. I will then spend most of my day up until about 3 or 4 pm painting or working in the studio (music and more tea is essential for this). The afternoons I reserve for photo editing, answering emails and preparing my evening post for Instagram, after that I will often spend time reading or researching for my current or future projects before relaxing in the evening.
With a couple of weeks still to go before Avalon opens to the public, can you give us some idea of what to expect?
You can expect a real transformation of the gallery space, interweaving painting, photography and sculpture. You can also expect colour, atmosphere and materiality. Overall I hope to create a space and an experience in which the viewer can discovery their own Avalon journey.
Andromeda No.7, No.6, No.3, 80x80x2cm, £1,800 (individually)
How to you plan to develop your practice beyond the show?
I have recently started using resin as a primary material for the first time within my practice and have fallen in love with the physicality and versatility of this material. Beyond the show I really want to develop my relationship with this resin and see how I can push it across the boundaries of my other disciplines.
Moreover whilst working on Avalon it has become obvious to me just how crucial photography is to my practice. It is a skill I would really like to develop further in my future projects.
And finally: is there a special significance to the prominent use of the colour blue in your work?
As mentioned earlier, the use of myself as model has become increasingly important to my practice and often my work feels like a tiny piece of myself on show.
My hair is turquoise so you could take a literal reference form there, however for me blues and greens are more of an emotional and physical manifestation within my work that comes from not only my relationship with history, nature and the sea but also my my desire to explore the aesthetics of the sublime.
Having said that, you can glimpse pinks, purples golds and silvers amongst the usual blues and greens in the new body for work I am creating for Avalon.
Avalon opens on the 3rd of September 2015, and DegreeArt Gallery, 12A Vyner Street, E2 9DG.
To see more of Claire's work, head to her profile page.