Cathleen Clarke Interview - The Hopper Prize

Cathleen Clarke

Cathleen Clarke on early experiences with oil painting, preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition, & maintaining a continually evolving practice.

How did you get into making art?

My mom is very creative and artistic, so I grew up drawing and making things of my own. I found my mom’s old oil paint set when I was a pre-teen and since then have always been drawn to this medium in particular.

My family and I moved from Chicago to a small farm in the country when I was 10, and I believe this change in lifestyle affected me creatively through my teenage years. We had very limited techonlogy at home, and the open space and quiteness could feel isolating at times which only stengthened my need to be creative.

What are you currently working on?

I have a solo show coming up this fall, and I’ve been in the early stages of planning it. I don’t want to say too many details yet!

I’ve also gotten back into making monotype prints, which have been really fun. I love how fast the process is, and how it alters the image in a way I wouldn’t have thought of.

My practice takes a broader approach and has continued to grow and evolve with time.

Cathleen Clarke

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

My practice takes a broader approach and has continued to grow and evolve with time. I see a lot of recurring themes and motifs in my work over the years, and though I usually work from different references or ideas, the overall feeling and inspiration to paint remains the same for me.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

It takes me time to warm up before I start painting, so I usually begin by putting on some music, looking through references I’ve collected, and maybe sketching out some ideas. Then I’ll begin painting, usually focusing on one painting at a time. I like to take breaks pretty often just to look at my work from a distance and think about it.

Who are your favorite artists?

Cecily Brown is one of my favorite painters, and I’m really excited to check out her new show at the Met. I’m also obsessed with Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, Edvard Munch, Toulouse-Lautrec, Léon Spilliaert, among many others. I also love the work of Naudline Pierre, Maja Ruznic, Claire Tabouret, Noah Davis, Anthony Cudahy, Ambera Wellmann… the list could go on and on.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I discover a lot of artists by checking out Platform’s monthly online exhibitions, reading Artsy, and also reading/listening to artist interviews to hear who they’ve been inspired by. Going to physical shows, especially group shows can be a great way to discover artists.

Stay Connected

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Our Network