An Interview with Lindsey Carr

by JL SchnabelPosted on

Opening this Friday, April 13 at Seattle’s Roq La Rue Gallery is the much anticipated exhibition by Scotland based artist Lindsey Carr, ‘The Augmented Animal.’ Since we first featured Lindsey’s work last year (here) her style has evolved into a more sophisticated rendering of animal and aviary portraiture. The new work glows with an antique sentiment and yet remains fiercely rooted in present day environmental sensitivities. We recently had the chance to speak with the artist as she wrapped up the final touches on her work. Read the full interview and view an exciting preview of the new work below, here on Hi-Fructose.

Have you always been interested in creating?

Yes, although it has gone through peaks and troughs. I had a 10 year dry spell which was only broken by moving to Scotland and having a studio of my own. Seems like I need a generous amount of space and time to feel comfortable.

What sparked the change in your style / mediums?

It was a pretty bland reason. I used to work on thick wood with acrylics, a very opaque style of working, laborious and somewhat stiff as a result. One winter I had prepped a board and ended up putting gesso on it which went bad – I think the cold created a problem – the board was ruined and I was snowbound in the studio. I had paper though so I started working on that. I realised after about a day that it was a much more dynamic way of working with transparent washes, also the medium was less expensive, easier to transport…it seemed obvious.

What is it about these animals that compel you to focus on them? Are they exact portraits of these animals and birds or do you augment them at all?
It really depends, sometimes I just like the look of a creature and sometimes I find their characteristics interesting. Herons keep me coming back for more, their reptilian heritage is so apparent in their faces. And monkeys i’m fascinated by because I think all humans, myself included, find something very unsettling about them. I sometimes do a straight portrait, but maybe only about 1 in 10.

Flora is another important element in your work. Are they fictional are very specific plant life you choose?

Actually most of the flora is a specific plant, I rarely change them. I paint a lot of lotuses because they’re such a great flower, symbolically and physically fascinating…. and a lot of roses – who doesn’t love a shamelessly beautiful rose?

Do you keep a sketchbook? If so, how close to your sketches do you keep when working on a final piece?

I do but it’s pretty haphazard, I might do a very rough thumbnail sketch and if I like the idea I go straight to a drawing to prepare for painting. I find if I do too much prep I exhaust the idea and my mind gets bored of it. So, over the years i’ve had to learn how to tread the line between too little and too much preparation.

Can you describe what a “normal” working day for you is like?

I try to get into the studio as soon as I get up – I find if I putter about too much I don’t get far that day. I need to put in about 12 hours a day to really be effective. I listen to a lot of audiobooks as I work and work from references on the laptop.

What sorts of objects do you keep around you in your studio for inspiration?

I have a lot of fake flowers and leaves, they’re great for references. I also have Thornton’s ‘Temple of Flora’ prints on the walls. It’s a true masterpiece.

What inspires you most these days? 

Actually, i’m getting a real kick out of chinese & tibetan masks and books on primates.

When you are creating these pieces, where do you imagine the ideal place for them to go once they are sold?

Oddly I just can’t imagine them once they’re out of my hands.

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