The second interview in our LOVE YOUR MOTHER series is with the extraordinary talent, my pick of the new breed of artists, Claire Johnston or Claire Pony as she is better known. Claire is an artist through and through, she lives and breathes for it, through it, from it. Claire’s work is raw and emotional, provocative and energetic, just like the lady herself really, wild and free. She works across painting, collage, ceramics (which she studied and which I collect and covet deeply btw) and larger scale interior projects. In fact, Claire Pony can turn her deft hand to just about anything.. Currently never seen without a paintbrush in her hand, watch her Instagram stories to see her totally in flow. The word prolific comes to mind, punk does too. Get on it. X
A selection of Claire Pony originals are selling out quickly on the Appetitefordecoration.shop as part of #loveyourmother
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?: Making art fills so many voids for me. Emotionally it allows me to process a lot of shit, see through the fog if you will. I love the freedom it brings me, because my work is my own, my heart on paper and in sculpture.
FAVOURITE WELLNESS/SELF CARE RITUAL: Meditation would definitely have to be up there as one of my daily wellness rituals. Lately I’ve been really interested in Kundalini/Tantric meditation, getting back in touch with my body and grounding myself again. Connection between body and creativity is very important to me.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE FLOW WITH YOUR WORK?: This used to be a very difficult space for me to be in, and it still is.. However, I am trying to be more accepting of it. I think as artists we are constantly questioning our work and its value, I know I do. I think because a lot of my work is based on my own experiences whether with a lover, mental illness or my own insecurities I often feel at a loss when I can’t channel that the way I’d like into my work. If anything, it has forced me to go down other avenues and perhaps create something I would otherwise not have.
WHAT DOES COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU?: For me community equals connection and support. I have so much love for the art community, not just here in Australia but globally. I have been able to make so many lasting connections with people not only through common interest but also with people who challenge my perceptions and truths. I think we can have many different communities in our lives who fulfil different purposes.
LOVE IS…… constant.
FEMALE ICON: My favourite female icon and artist are one in the same, the forever inspiring Tracey Emin. I will never forget discovering her work as a young teenager and I don’t know whether it was angst or sheer admiration (probably both) but I just thought ‘YES! Here is a woman who understands.’ The way she captures her own heart and experience is so fucking powerful. The subtly of her words and drawings are so relatable. I think any artist who can somehow lay bare their soul the way she does yet still have people able to relate is something very special.
WHAT ARE YOU READING CURRENTLY?: Slowly getting through ‘Women Who Love Too Much’ by Robin Norwood.
WHAT’S NEXT?: I’ve got a couple of exciting projects coming up which unfortunately I can’t talk about yet but watch this space! Also hoping to get my solo show underway soon! It’s something I haven’t been ready for till now, I’m glad I’ve waited though. I think I needed those few years after art school to just experiment, be a bit feral and find my true voice.
WHAT HAS YOUR CREATIVE PRACTICE TAUGHT YOU?: To have faith in my own voice as an artist. When I am fully in that head space it is something super powerful
FOOD FROM THE GODS: A big bowl of pasta from Tiamo, Melbourne.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Popping the bubble wrap at Officeworks.
EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL?: Haha I am literally the definition of night owl…. bed is never before 2am.
Fall In Love (Your Funeral) – Erykah Badu
Ms Fat Booty -Mos Def
Thuggin -Freddie Gibbs
Can’t Wait -Jill Scott
Exhibit C -Jay Electronica
War -Mos Def
WHAT REACTION ARE YOU LOOKING TO AROUSE IN THE PEOPLE THAT VIEW YOUR WORK?: The reaction I hope to incite I guess is one of familiarity. I want people to feel something… when people tell me they connect with my work it is one of the biggest compliments, especially after I went through a breakup and my work was really sad and angry. Being a highly emotive person I think my work really taps into that and if my audience somehow connects with those feelings which are so personal to me I feel like I’ve achieved something.
CURRENT THEMES IN YOuR WORK?: Love, definitely love and connection. I tend to create work after people, people I come into contact with, people as lovers and my own journey towards empowerment. I remember someone saying to me not so long ago that they were afraid I would create a body of work about them if things didn’t go well between us. It took me aback and I had a good laugh about it but I think it also resonated with me that yeah I do find inspiration in that, those obscure fleeting passions. There’s been a huge shift in my work the last few years, what used to be angry and pain stricken portraits with a million teeth and words like ‘PIG’, has given way to something more ephemeral and I think beautiful. I think I will always be that angsty little scorpio with the ‘fuck you’ attitude but I’m really enjoying this new exploration of my higher self. Moving back to my hometown on the mid north coast for the duration of this year has helped me shut out the bullshit and get back to what is real and true.
Great interview C Pony! Looking forward to your solo show big time x
Thanks Ali. We love Claire Pony!!