Interview: Charlotte Keates

Since leaving Falmouth University with her BA First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art, she has exhibited extensively throughout the UK as well as AAF Stockholm in 2016. Recent exhibitions include the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize Exhibition
at The Mall Galleries London. Charlotte’s work has been featured in numerous publications including Art Maze Magazine, Atlas Magazine, Harpers Baazar and The Jealous Curator.

We absolutely love your recent paintings. When were you initially inspired to use interiors and architecture in your work? How did the new series come about?
Thank you. I’ve always loved Mid-Century architecture and interiors – particularly the geometric beauty conveyed within the architectural forms and the calming aesthetic that they evoke. I’m always aiming to push the boundaries of perceived space, but it is the dialogue between the architectural structures and the landscape that particularly interests me.

This latest body of work is influenced having spent 3 months on an inspiration trip around the United States and Canada. I sort of feel an innate energy and connection to a certain space, and I just know I have to use and do something with it. Having this sudden urge to create is what drives my work, and with the excitement of the unknown, helps push me into some unexpected results.

Where do you get your inspiration and references? Briefly describe your creative process. 

It definitely helps living in London and having incredible galleries on my doorstep. It's also really important for me to go outside, have a coffee in the morning and go for a walk before I return to my studio, otherwise, I would never leave. So much of my work is about observing what's around me. My inspiration is sourced from many different areas, it almost becomes an obsession. Everything around me can relate in one way or another. 

Textures and consistency of paint play an integral role in my process. The surface that I paint on is where the process all starts ... an adapted version of a traditional gesso ground, which is painted onto the panel in a very fluid, free manner. The exposed fragments of ‘ground’ are as much a part of the painting as the paint itself. I love that each process within my paintings co-exist and become as important as each other.

What do you hope the viewer takes away from your work? 
The viewer doesn't need to know where the space or location is that I'm painting, or know how it influenced the work. They don't even need to feel the way that I did when I saw it. But they have to feel something whilst viewing my paintings.

What I really like is that the viewer can relate to my work through their own experiences and place their own narrative. I want the viewer to be transported into their own world. 
How has being a part of Affordable Art Fair impacted your work? Share a few tips with new fair participants. 
Being a part of the Affordable Art Fair has been a wonderful experience. I have also been fortunate enough to show with Arusha Gallery at Hampstead, Battersea, Bristol and Stockholm a number of times, which has given me the opportunity of showing my works in such great venues and to such a huge number of people.

All fairs for me have been great so far, the Affordable Art Fair as ever is buzzing with such a brilliant atmosphere. I'm very fortunate to have such an amazing and supportive gallery too, selecting my work that they show at the fairs. This year, in a couple of weeks time, the team at the Hampstead Affordable Art Fair has invited me to take part in a 'sofa talk' Q & A ... I am really excited about this.

Something I might suggest to potential participating artists, is that they ought to make themselves available for the duration of the fair - to be there in person most, if not all of the time.  I have found it invaluable to be there, immersing myself and soaking up the atmosphere, meeting people - especially as some clients visiting the gallery stand love to find out a little more about a specific piece ... or just meet me for a chat.  So for the gallery team knowing that they can call on me adds yet more value to what they're doing ... plus it's also a really enjoyable way to actually talk about your work.

What are you most proud of in your art career so far? 

That's a difficult one, I think it would probably be that I have had success at such an early stage in my career, that I am already fulfilling an ambition of being a full-time Artist living in London, with my own studio ... doing exactly what I love with little other distractions, something I thought I may have had to wait a little while for.
A highlight has seen one of my pieces hanging in the Royal Academy Summer Show last year ... a dream I'd had for some time. 

Tell us about your upcoming projects. What should we be on the lookout for?

Oooh ... lots of exciting things in the pipeline. After my solo show; 'Sojourn' at Arusha Gallery Edinburgh in a weeks time, they then turn to exhibiting my work at the Affordable Art Fair, then onto the London Art Fair in January ... busy busy busy! We're also making lots of really exciting plans to show at the fairs in Miami and Los Angeles too - which next year, might just become my new answer to the question above...!

Upcoming Exhibition: Sojourn

ARUSHA GALLERY are delighted to present a new collection of paintings by London based artist, Charlotte Keates debuting at their Edinburgh gallery this May. Sojourn is a new body of work made in response to her recent 'inspiration trip' around the United States and Canada which took place during the summer and Autumn of 2016.

‘I am trying to negotiate a space that captures a sense of stillness and peacefulness that can be achieved from a temporary experience or place; even if only for a short while. I want to attempt to trigger a feeling or memory within the viewer, it's important that they feel something; whilst documenting my own personal experiences and observations, crossing the boundaries between nostalgia and the anticipation of the unknown.

Ever-inspired by the 1960’s and 70’s classical architectural interiors; with the aesthetics of an artists working atelier, I aim to create intriguing and surprisingly illusionary interiors. The Landscape and Sea, with Swimming Pools and Birch Trees have consistently become a significant part, and over time any combination of these features are likely to play an integral role in my paintings. What is outside and surrounding us, I find exhilarating and inspiring; a beautiful location, or setting,

becoming the anchor of the painting, as this exterior I allow to flood into the interior. The viewer’s own experiences and imagination play as much a part of the narrative as my own, whilst a moment or scene is composed from my imagination, the story is left entirely ambiguous to unfold as the viewer wishes it to.’ Charlotte Keates 2017.

About the Gallery:

Founded in 2013, Arusha Gallery has its permanent premises in Dundas Street Edinburgh where it presents a yearly programme of exhibitions from emerging and mid-career artists working both in Scotland as well as Internationally. In addition to regular solo and group exhibitions, the gallery also presents pop up exhibitions and presentations at art fairs in the UK and Europe.

About the exhibition:

Dates : May 5th - May 30th 2017 || Private View Thursday May 4th 6-8pm Address: 13A Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6QG
Opening Times: Monday - Saturday 10am-5pm Sundays 1pm-5pm

Contact: | 0131 557 1412 |