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Take Five with Caroline Banks

Caroline Banks is a London based artist whose work is drawn on the nature of time and memory, recording the intangible. She uses brush and ink, as well as gesso, paint, gilding and piercing to capture the circle, a constant preoccupation which forms the core of much of Caroline’s current work, which is beautiful and contemplative. She has been a regular exhibitor at the Other Art Fair in London and Bristol. Find out where you can see Caroline's work in person via her website, or online via her Instagram account.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

The sense of wonder that comes from releasing something I need to express into the outside world and finding that people connect with what I'm getting at. Actually making the work comes pretty close to the top too.

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

So many artists have and continue to inspire me. Direct influences include Egon Schiele who I was obsessed with at the age of sixteen for his raw, unflinching drawings which revealed the truth beyond appearances; Robert Rauschenberg whose multimedia paintings inspired me to hijack the functionality of everyday materials and mix things up; Bronzino for the perfection of his painting; Louise Bourgeois for her obsessiveness, tenacity (and longevity); Richard Long for distilling experience into elemental simplicity; Kate MccGwire's sensual and unsettling sculpture. Sorry, I couldn't choose just one.

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Surround yourself with a support network and be gentle to yourself. I pushed hard at the beginning of my career with a lot of drive, very little focus wanting everything to happen quickly and ended up burning out. It took a very long time before I was ready to put myself out there again. Looking back I can see that I needed those experiences to get me where I am today and can now enjoy the many facets involved in being a self-employed professional artist with everything it entails.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Play. Whether it is dancing madly or yelling whilst throwing paint around (make that all at the same time). Anything to break through the intellect and regain connection with my core being. After having conjured up that vivid image I'd say that activity with meditation works too for minor blocks: swimming, going for a walk, something where my mind can be quiet and the monkey on my shoulder will shut up.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Ooh, this is something I have seen and am coveting: a pair of bespoke black pony skin riding boots. Timelessly stylish, practical and understated with an edge of subversion and humour


Originally published 26/11/17

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