ARTIST OF THE WEEK: CHARLOTTE AGERNovember 10, 2017
London-based illustrator Charlotte Ager creates multi-layered art that has a powerful energy offset by bright pops of colour and sense of urgency. We spoke to her about her style, being emotionally driven and Jane Eyre…
Have you always been interested in art?
When I was younger I used to hate going to galleries because my mum worked at one and I couldn’t sit still, I just wanted to make and do things. I think it was a gradual interest that came from random places and people.
How did you get into illustration?
I went to do my foundation at Kingston because art seemed to be what I was best at even though it made me most of the time very unhappy (it still can!) and one of the pathways was illustration and It got the way I think much better than anything ever had, and the tutors were really wonderful, I owe a lot to them.
How would you describe your style?
I think it dips around but others say it’s very clear so I’m not quite sure! Sometimes it’s spontaneous, about getting things down quickly and often messily but then some times it’s a longer process of relating something that’s been in my mind for a while.
What sort of themes do you like to explore in your work?
Lots of things, a lot of my work is capturing a moment, a feeling of a place at a particular time. I also like to make images that respond to text, to quotes, to articles, to books. I think it’s very emotionally driven. Recently I’ve moved and the environment and relationship between people and buildings in something I’ve been really intrigued by and therefore has slipped into my work.
Does the London art scene inspire you? If so, how?
Yes and no! When I was younger I used to love London and dream of living here , I used to love how overwhelming it was, now I’m not so sure. Its amazing to be around somewhere that’s always moving and I think it keeps my mind active but sometimes that gets a little draining. What I find most inspiring is the amalgamation of all these different people spaces and lives.
When creating a new piece, what inspires you?
I draw a lot from real places and read a lot and I think both act of each other, when I’m drawing I’ll often be thinking of stories. Im inspired by moments I see everyday I guess whilst being inspired by the language of lots of different writers.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
It’s chaotic! I don’t really know what it is! Stress and happiness! I always think of this quote from Jane Eyre where Mr Rochester asks her if she is happy with her drawing and she replies ‘Far from it. I imagine things I’m powerless to execute’ which is something I relate to a lot.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
I don’t really have a favourite, I like using something when I haven’t been using in a while, for example I really like using gouache at the moment because I’m drawing a lot on location and don’t have time to get out all my paints so actually sitting down and painting slowly with the vivid colours you get with gouache is a wonderful relief.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given, about art or otherwise?
The best piece of advice is hard to think of right on the spot, I think an accumulation of words people have given me that I’ve been thinking about recently is the advice of not seeing everything as finite, what you do isn’t as weighted and all consuming as you think it is, allow yourself to trust yourself.
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
I think a pause, communication becomes something quicker and quicker but I like that my work could give time to places and people.
Hopefully lots of things! I’m someone who gets pretty impatient so changing the way I do things and what I do is important, but right now I’m trying to go at a little slower pace, I’ve been rushing myself too much! I’d love to work more with books, do projects with museums, collaborate with old friends, work on projects with new people.