Q&A with Caroline Collom

Q: Tell us about your latest series of work...

This series is a little different to my usual works because these are the smallest stretched canvases I have worked on before. I wanted to challenge myself to work smaller but treat the works as I usually do when they are larger; letting my technique shine through. This series was inspired by a series of Native Earth Wallace Seymour paints I purchased. I wanted to let the ground and pigments lead the direction of this body of work. I have used an array of different linens to work on as the oil sits so differently on each of them. I wanted to concentrate on pulling the work back in a confident manner.

Q: Abstract painters are often thought to work in a highly spontaneous manner but your approach is much more measured. Talk us through your creative process...

There definitely is spontaneity to my practice but I leave that to the latter stage of the painting process. Having a guide to work from really helps me distinguish the palettes and shapes in the works. Without this I feel there might be too much ambiguity to the work and they might all start looking the same! I spend a lot of time sketching and mapping out ideas before I lay any paint down. Taking progress shots throughout makes me continually look at the piece when I am outside the studio to see what my next move is. I do this manually or on Photoshop as I want to ensure I put the right shade of colour down.

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Q: Your paintings are as much about surface as they are design. Talk us through the textures and techniques celebrated in this series of work...

Texture has always been a huge part of my practice as I want to create a play of depth with layers. This series I have created surfaces uncommon to a painting ground. I have used a cracked texture similar to cement and a rust technique. These two pieces were hugely influenced by the outdoors and finding the tonalities in these surfaces. I really like to make paintings that exemplify the beauty in the mundane. Contrasting this with harsh geometric lines as I see this as a metaphor of one’s landscape.

Q: Caroline, you were born and raised in the UK, studied in the US and in Melbourne and are now based in Sydney. How have these places and experiences informed your artistic practice? Do you see yourself as an international artist?

I decided to study In Australia as I saw it as a great platform to become an international artist; I am very fortunate to say it has worked. I am hugely influenced by my surroundings and my art now gives me the opportunity to travel which just feeds back into my practice. I personally think you can see my heritage, influences and inspiration in all my work. In the order of UK, US and Australia.

Q: Who or what is currently inspiring your practice?

I usually answer this question with “who” as there are so many. However, I have been trying to keep focused with creating my own style that I have just been focused on the “what”. I am really inspired by textiles, design and architecture at the moment. This has always been an influence but I am slowly letting it come to the forefront of my practice.

Q: When your not in the studio what do you get up to?

I tend to stay in Marrickville but locate myself in another warehouse, the ones serving beer!

Q: You've had a busy year exhibiting at The Other Art Fair in London and Los Angeles. What exciting projects are up next on the horizon?

It is so exciting and scary but in the next few months I will start making work for some shows I have planned for next year. I have a solo show next April and I really want this to be an exhibition I push myself in. I am also collaborating artist for a forthcoming Gorman collection available in stores early next year! I am also planning to get back into welding which is something I haven’t done for some years and create three dimensional pieces.

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