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Interview with a Fine Artist: Caroline Lowe

Updated on August 8, 2013

Caroline Lowe

As a studying Fine Artist, I have always found it inspiring and useful to discover how other creative people approach and promote their work.

In this hub, is an interview with Caroline Lowe, an artist fresh out of university with a Fine Art degree. Lowe recently won the 'Vice-Chancellors Award' for her body of work displayed the Art and Design show of The University of Derby.

68/183 #6, #3 and #12 by Caroline Lowe
68/183 #6, #3 and #12 by Caroline Lowe

A glimpse into an unknown past...

The photograph that inspired the project.
The photograph that inspired the project.

A brief outline of Caroline's art.

Caroline Lowe creates large canvas oil-paintings with a limited colour palette, (this particular body of work is entirely monochrome.)

In her recent work, she became fascinated with a historical photograph of a young girl, peering at the camera at what looks to be a local event.

This immediately poses questions; 'Who is the little girl?' 'Why is she important?'.

Caroline explores the different realities this photograph offers by masking sections of her paintings. The paintings all focus on this sole image, though some offer a detailed view of a small area, whereas others are almost entirely masked by a crisp white line, giving very little 'true' information and allowing your brain to fill in the gaps.

The idea of 'suggesting reality' is largely important within this body of work.

68/183 #8 by Caroline Lowe
68/183 #8 by Caroline Lowe

Artistic Statement

For many artists nowadays, it is important to have written an 'artists statement'. These are good ways for artists to connect with their viewer, state what their art is about and hint at a meaning that may not have been previously considered.

Caroline Lowe's artist statement:

"Through my work I aim to explore how we perceive ‘reality’ by asking the viewer to question and analyse what they are actually seeing. To accomplish this I use the materiality of paint and the illusion of the two-dimensional picture plane. Having always been interested in the theatre, I see the canvas as the equivalent to the ‘fourth wall’ of the stage. The divide between reality and the suspension of reality. I have been exploring what lies on the surface of the canvas and what can be interpreted by seeing through this as a façade I have a passion for the physicality of paint and the illusion that can be created by its application; manipulating and editing the material, line, shape, light and dark, space and composition.

I have been using anonymous historic photographs as my source material and have become intrigued by the information that can be obtained from such a limited view. Whilst these are snapshots of a moment that remain only as chemicals on photo paper, we are nevertheless inclined to make judgements on what we are presented with. We do not see the whole, only the version edited by the camera and photographer. In my work I construct, de-construct, edit and select from these referents; I use vertical sections to allow or deny the viewer the whole picture with the intention to create further ambiguity and alterity; a multiplicity of truths that are subject to the viewer’s interpretation. In the tradition of figurative art, I attempt to create reality whilst at the same time create an abstract other world.

My current body of work includes multiple editions from one source. In this instance the canvas and the oil paint have become equivalent to the photographic process. I have captured a moment by selecting and editing the image thereby referring back to this image but denying the viewer the complete picture. Through the medium of paint I have edited the view creating a divide between the documentary and subjective. I would like the viewer to question how reading the surface can distort the truth and how much we really know about the world around us if we only judge it by its edited surface."

The work in an exhibition: the project-inspiring photograph is placed on the far wall, to inform the art work.
The work in an exhibition: the project-inspiring photograph is placed on the far wall, to inform the art work.
68/183 #1 #4 #7 #11 #9 #8 by Caroline Lowe in an exhibition.
68/183 #1 #4 #7 #11 #9 #8 by Caroline Lowe in an exhibition.

Caroline was drawn to Fine Art as a university degree subject due to the freedom offered by the course. There are no strict briefs to comply with, allowing creativity to flow and almost any artistic path to be followed.

Since completing her degree, Caroline has sold pieces of art to The University of Derby for their personal art collection. She now sells her work in a commercial gallery and works based on commissions from friends.

Building a prevalent internet portfolio is also an important aspect of artistic exposure; Caroline Lowe is a member of popular social media sites such as, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. She also has a personal website. Links to these can be found at the bottom of the hub if you would like to discover more of her art.

Which of these social media sites do you think is most useful for promoting art work?

See results

An interview with the artist.

Now you have finished your degree, do you intend to use it in art-related jobs?

I really want to develop my career as an artist and realistically as I have started later in life, I have no grand expectations. I love exhibiting and meeting other artists and having a real passion for something. I have drifted through life for too long without something I was really passionate about and now I have the chance, I want to make the most of every opportunity. I have always created art since I was little and now, I want to be taken seriously as a professional artist. I think having a degree will definitely help. More with the things I have learnt and not only with the certificate.

Would you recommend an art degree to people who are interested?

Most definitely! The best thing I ever did was to go to university. I learned a lot about myself, my art and had some great experiences. It's not always easy but well worth the effort.

Have you got any current art projects on the go?

I have had a couple of commissions from friends since leaving University. I have two paintings in an exhibition at the University's Enterprise Centre arranged by Banks Mill and have become an associate at Banks Mill. I'm now waiting for a studio space there. I have also been invited to exhibit my degree show work in an exhibition called the Best of the Best Show at the University in September and also in the graduate exhibition at the Wirksworth Festival in September.

Are there ways of promoting yourself as an artist other than using social media?

As well as using the normal social media avenues, I think the best way of getting opportunities is through actually meeting people; going to exhibition previews and art events. To promote myself further, I intend to develop a better website and am considering creating an online gallery. I also get quite a lot of information fed through from Banks Mill Studios and I always have a look on the for any opportunities.

What processes do you go through to take an idea to a finished piece?

It has to be a developing process really, when you are learning you are always told not to think of the final conclusion first. This can be quite frustrating when you are learning but its quite true. I keep sketchbooks to help me develop my ideas. Just to keep any notes and scribbles or exhibitions I have visited. If I'm out and about I usually take photos instead. They are so immediate and can remind you of the experience easier than a sketch. Sometimes I would rather sketch on a cheap canvas in paint than in a book because the materials I use are an important part of the development of the final work.

What do you do if you hit an artistic block?

Kick and scream, cry and then move on. Read and carrying on working it all comes right in the end.

Have you got any advice for a budding artist?

Keep producing work and reading about art, current and historical. Never give up, even if you don't seem to be getting anywhere and mostly, learn by your mistakes.

What inspires you?

Photography has always been a big influence but I am definitely not a photographer. I use photographs like a sketch book to record the world around me. I am really interested in the complexities of people and social history. The theatre has also been a big influence. What is the difference between the people on the stage and in the audience? Nothing really, as they are both acting a part. The divide between the audience and the stage is known as the fourth wall and I use the canvas or surface in my work the represent this divide between the two 'realities'.

Who is your favourite artist?

Its got to be Gerhard Richter because he is very diverse. I don't really link my work with any one artist but I am inspired by many.

More of the artists work...

If you like what you see and would like to discover more of the artists work, please have a look at the links provided below.


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