Clare Packer’s classically inspired collage is the star of our poster campaign for Affordable Art Fair Battersea Spring (9 – 12 March). We caught up with Clare about her career defining moments, inspirations, and what she’s looking forward to at Battersea!
Our latest campaign for Affordable Art Fair Battersea Spring this March takes a stylish collage by Clare Packer as its focus. ANTIQUE PROFILES VI is part of Clare’s paper collage series, which gives a cutting-edge twist to ancient Grecian and Roman inspired figureheads.
Represented by Kittoe Contemporary, Clare Packer is a former magazine illustrator and ceramicist turned artist with an unconventional approach to creating collages. ‘My pictures are perhaps not collages in the conventional sense. I think of them also as paintings’, she says. To date, Clare’s monochrome and terracotta heads have attracted an impressive roster of collectors, including former British Vogue Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers.
Ahead of our upcoming spring Fair, we visited Clare at her studio to learn more about her work. Read on to find out more.
I’m fascinated the profile of a face, for the profile can be so readily ambiguous – male or female: sad or happy: shouting, singing, chanting, jeering: old or young, new and fresh, shattered and broken. I have always been drawn to Greek, Roman, and Etruscan sculptures and friezes, and they became an immediate and fruitful source of reference and ideas. I love huge classical chunks of marble and stone, which is of course totally opposite to collage on paper, but it certainly informs my work. Picasso is another influence; you make the image and then you dissect it, and it turns into something else. My current body of work is the result of all this.
“Picasso is another influence; you make the image and then you dissect it, and it turns into something else.”CLARE PACKER
I have two studios, one for wet work and the other for dry. The wet one is in the garden where I paint and texture the paper and do various mono-prints. There is quite a lot of mess and experiment, so it’s better out of the house! The dry studio is at the top of the house, and there I ponder, cut, and create my finished collages. I love to get totally immersed in my work. When there’s no distractions, I often feel I could work through the whole day without a break. The one thing I need to kick-start or accompany the process is classical music – Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart… It’s extraordinary how it sets the mood.
I’ve had one or two highlights along the way, but I have to say being the campaign image for the Affordable Art Fair is probably going to be the biggest one! In 2001 I was an invited artist for the Discerning Eye Exhibition, and I turned up to the Private View to see that they’d sold all 6 of my ceramic dishes. Then in 2013 Piers Feetham gave me my first one-man show, and another in 2017.
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My taste is eclectic! The last artwork I bought was a Bernard Meninsky from Portland gallery. I often buy things I couldn’t possibly do myself, but it’s not that I’m not drawn to graphic art. I also love Michael Rothenstein, I have one of his mono prints which I always look at and find inspiring. I love John Nash too, but I could never create anything like that!
I’m probably rather more thrilled than you are, and very flattered. I’ve shown in the Fair before, but to be on posters all over London in this way will, I hope, bring even more attention not only to my work but to Kittoe Contemporary’s other artists. It’s just so important to be able to exhibit one’s work, and it seems to me Art Fairs are the way forward. I don’t believe many artists want to work in a vacuum. Having my work seen and bought by visitors is a wonderful validation and stimulant.
You can find more from Clare Packer at Kittoe Contemporary’s stand at Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Spring from 9 – 12 March, alongside over 100 other leading exhibiting galleries still to be announced, and 1,000s of stunning affordable artworks.
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Photos taken by Graham Turner.