Interview: Clare Haxby

002Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

Interview: Clare Haxby                                                                                                               

Luca Curci talks with artist Clare Haxby during FUTURE MEMORIES – Reconstruction of new identities exhibition in Venice on August 2015. 

Clare Haxby is a British contemporary artist who has been based in Singapore South East Asia for the last 8 years. Clare works in acrylic and mixed media bringing to her paintings her background as a printmaker; in many of her pieces will combine printing techniques and a host of different techniques for applying paint. Her vibrant paintings on canvas are inspired by the environment of Singapore – the architecture and nature of a city in Asia.Clare interest in portraying the eclectic heritage and modern architecture of Singapore as well as Asian botanicals from the Singapore Botanic Gardens now a world heritage UNESCO SITE led to 2 major solo shows in Singapore at The Fullerton Hotel and The American Club of Singapore where her giant canvases of Singapore’s skyline and heritage shophouses garnered the attention of ambassadors and journalists and collectors from all over the world. The French Embassy in Singapore commissioned a series of prints for their offices located next to the Botanic Gardens one of Clare’s favourite places to visit for inspiration.

008Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

Luca Curci – Can you talk about your personal experience in Venice?

Clare Haxby – It was my first time exhibiting my paintings in Italy and my first time visiting Venice – somewhere I have always longed to visit especially for the art and architecture. There was some synchronicity about my visit to as I had decided to visit Venice this year before I was aware of the exhibition. We were relocating as a family from Singapore to London over the summer after 8 years in Asia and I decided I wanted to take my 3 children to Venice. After I had booked my apartment to visit for a vacation the ‘artist call’ came through from Luca. Because it was in to be in Venice it particularly caught my attention and I joked to my friend that it would be amazing if I did get selected as I was due to be in Venice at the time of the exhibition. Later when the selection confirmation came through I was very surprised and so excited. I had to rescue the paintings from the container which was being packed and have them sent instead to Italy.

001Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

When I contacted the Venice apartment I had booked to find out how close it was to the venue I couldn’t believe it when they said it was 5 mins away. The universe seemed to have a helping hand as I had already booked a Cannaregio apartment just around the corner from Venice Art House. On the night of the opening we were walking along the canal looking for the venue when my kids spotted my painting ‘My Beautiful Ginger Lilies’ through the open doors on the canal side, It was thrilling looking across the canalside restaurants and seeing my paintings on exhibition in beautiful Venice.

004Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

L. C. – What did you think about the whole organisation of the event, the artists’ selection, the communication management and opening nights?

C. H. – Its my first time to exhibit and collaborate with ‘Its Liquid Group’ and I was very pleased to have been able to attend the opening night at ‘Fractal Identities’ and to have also been selected for ‘Future Memories’. I really enjoying the collaboration of the performance art in the space and meeting other international artists. I was unable to attend the opening of the second exhibition ‘Future Memories’ as I had to be in London but the team at ItsLiquid have shared images of the opening night which I have been able to share on my social media and website and the photographer has sent me images to use. Its great to see my work in different spaces.

003Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

L. C. – What do you think about the collaboration between It’s LIQUID and Ca’ Zanardi/Venice Art House?

C. H. – Its very cool to have two different locations in the city to host the Art Events. I have loved the opportunity to exhibit at both venues this summer Fractal Identities at Venice Art House and Future Memories at Palazzo Ca Zanardi.

L. C. – Can you talk about the artwork you presented in Venice? How is it linked with the festival’s theme?

C. H. – The pieces I exhibited were ‘Sunbird’ and ‘My Beautiful Ginger Lilies’ both inspired by the Ginger Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens and part of my Botanicals Collection of paintings. The Botanic Gardens were one of my favourite places to visit in Singapore both to walk and to gather inspiration and I was really drawn to these majestic flowers of the tropics. They exhibit a statement coral pink flower head atop a tall strong stem growing amidst the deep green of the jungle plants. In Asia the soft bud of the ginger lily is also used to flavour dishes. It is an indispensable ingredient in Nyonya (Chinese-Malay) cuisine, where it is halved lengthwise and used in fish-based curries and soups such as the famous Penang asam laksa. Its also used as a medicinal herb to reduce fever.

005Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

The gingers became my flower obsession in Singapore. Singapore’s national flower is the orchid; also stunning but for me the tall show- off flowers of the Ginger family also know as torch ginger are the essence of Asia , I love the shape of the flower and the amazing pink colours revealed as the bud opens in the humidity. I immersed myself in the free painterly style, it was experimental and a change from the more rigid techniques used for painting my architectural pieces. The randomness of the techniques I was experimenting with is what gives the pieces their energy. I had a lot of freedom in painting these pieces particularly with ‘My Beautiful Ginger Lily’. The execution was less ‘considered’ more playful, more random more accidental. The exhibitions part of SELF I took part in were on a theme of obsessions and future memories. These flowers and my time in Asia in Singapore has has a profound influence on my life and work form a very real part of my own future memories. Singapore was one of my ‘homes’ . I had my third baby whilst there brought to life my Singapore inspired body of work some of my largest pieces to date. It was an intense period of ‘creation’.

Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

C. H. – I have just relocated my studio from Singapore to London but I am still represented there as I have a showroom in Singapore where my assistant Laura looks after my Singapore sales and projects. I produced a series of large scale paintings and Limited Edition Prints of the Singapore Skyline and its landmark buildings and these have been a huge success for me. The French Embassy of Singapore purchased a series of Singapore prints for their offices and the Swedish Ambasador and The British High Commissioner of Singapore also supported my studio. I will be exhibiting my large scale paintings at other exhibitions in the city. I am currently working on a new painting of Sentosa Cove in Singapore a glamorous waterfront location with superyachts and the contemporary W hoteland also on a new collection of London Landmarks which so many of my American clients in Singapore have requested. I think my first London Landmarks painting will be London Bridge. I work with acrylic on canvas but I am a mixed media artist and I combine printmaking elements and collage with painting on my original pieces. Aswell as the landmark paintings I also have a sketchbook of ideas for a series of flamingo paintings which I started drawing at the bird park in Singapore. A collection of flamingos is a ‘flamboyance of flamingos’. I love working on different subjects. The landmark paintings are time consuming.

006Image courtesy of Clare Haxby

L. C. – What is art for you?

C. H. – Art is my path , its what I am destined to do. I have always had an urge to create, draw, design regardless of whether there is any approval, recognition or renumeration though its amazing to have those things now. Being a mother and an artist is what I am. I have loved bringing the world of art and culture into my children’s lives as well as developing my studio professionally. In Singapore I had a unique opportunity to develop my painting practice and this culminated in my first solo show there at The Fullerton Hotel, It put my studio on the map and brought many international visitors to my studio.

View More: courtesy of Clare Haxby

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo and It’s LIQUID organizations? Do you think they can represent an opportunity for artists?

C. H. – I think its an amazing platform. For me as an artist I have mainly exhibited in London and Singapore but through Its Liquid and Art Expo I am now expanding my International platform and I am looking forward to exhibiting some of my equestrian paintings in Texas U.S.A.

Share on Pinterest