Red Carpet Red Shoes 90x120

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Caroline Yates: inspiration, influences & artistic life

We are very much looking forward to hosting Caroline Yates’ solo show in September and took some time to meet with her and learn a little about what makes her tick…

Red Carpet Red Shoes 90x120

Red Carpet Red Shoes

What made you decide to become a painter?

Although I studied printmaking and printed textile design, all my work was very painterly. In fact, I sold most of my portfolio of ‘designs’ as paintings when I graduated from the Royal College of Art.

That was 22 years ago and I started painting seriously more or less straight away via some illustration work

Describe a typical day in the studio…

I’ve normally dumped everything the day before to run to school at the last minute to pick up my children, so the first thing is to clean brushes from the previous day, generally tidy up, organise my paint colours and prepare fresh palettes. This gives me a bit of time to think about my day.

I usually have more than one painting on the go so that they can dry adequately between layers, then I’ll choose which one (or more) is ready to work on.

Sledge with Lovers

What influences your work?

Colour is so crucial. I have had years of colour theory education and this is probably my principle criteria for a successful painting. In my eyes, a well-executed picture can be irritatingly wrong if the colour isn’t working!

I think an awareness of interior design and colour trends influences me whether I like it or not!  I am interested in unusual spaces, textures and pattern and my own house has been photographed for magazines.

Printmaking techniques also inform and appear in some of my work.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I work from old cinefilm and Super8 film found on the internet, and any found imagery to do with memory in the form of newspaper cuttings and books capturing things like nostalgic school days, family holidays, influential events.

I moved to the coast eight years ago and have been quietly introducing the sea, painting en plein air.

Before going to art school I worked in an investment bank for seven years in the city. It was a creative vacuum, though I am now influenced by uniform, suits and identity and semiotics created through dress.


What has been your most memorable moment in your artistic career so far?

I was fortunate enough to have a painting accepted into the Royal Academy summer exhibition this year, it was the first time I’ve entered and has inspired me to enter more competitions!

What are your most rewarding moments as an artist?

The most rewarding has to be having a solo show in a gallery like Hicks Gallery; seeing a body of work completed over many months, coalescing as an exhibition is challenging and ultimately a relief to get it done on time!

Do you buy art and which artists you admire?

I’m fond of twentieth century artists like David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, William Scott and Antoni Tapies alongside contemporary artists such as Louise Balaam, Tom Hammick, Kurt Jackson, Paula Rego and Chloe Lamb.

Earlier in the year I travelled to Edinburgh to see an exhibition of the late Joan Eardley. I see a lot of shows, and have my favourites but haven’t bought a lot of art.  My most recent acquisition this year was a painting by Arthur Neal. (My tip for buying art has to be the ‘Own Art’ scheme – it’s a fantastic way of enabling people like me to buy what is an expensive, luxury item and pay for it in instalments.)

The Road Out

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

Where you show your work is crucial. Choose the right gallery to represent you, with work that fits with your own and other artists you respect.

Your upcoming show is titled ‘Palimpsest’ – where did this name come from?

I rub off, erase or paint over areas of some paintings, followed by scraping into or disinterring imagery underneath. Some pieces have been completely covered in a new layer, revealing traces of previous paintings.

The word palimpsest means recycling a document or script that may have glimpses of the previous document showing through.

This show differs from previous in that my work has shifted trajectory over the past two to three years, becoming more abstract, yet straddling both abstract and figurative camps. Intentionally, my painting language has expanded, emphasising drawing and mark-making, printing techniques, with more emotion invested in each piece.


Palimpsest: a solo show by Caroline Yates

29th September – 27th October 2017


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