Sheer Artistic Brilliance: An Interview with Caitlin Shearer

It's a rainy day in Sydney, Australia, but fortunately, today is Saturday, therefore going to school is not necessary. Despite the weather, Caitlin Shearer knows that today is going to be a good, productive one. She sighs — but out of mellowness and not scorn — and turns on some FKA twigs to get her creative juices flowing. Her easel is upright, and her color pallet does not have too much variety: a dull pink, soft lavender, dusty blue, pale brown, light green, whites and creams, and occasionally some others. Variety is not needed to capture the stunning aesthetics Caitlin does — creative brilliance is. Over time, an incredible nude emerges, and feels a sense of completion. She takes a sip from her ceramic mug, sets it down, and begins working on launching her textile business. The patterns of her textiles range from bunnies to blots of color.

Check out our exclusive with artist Caitlin Shearer: 

WRITTEN CITIZEN: Hey Caitlin! How are you feeling and doing today?

CAITLIN SHEARER: Hey! I’m alright this morning — a day off school always puts me in good spirits. I've got a long to-do list to tackle: some sewing, washing, painting, and finishing assignments, so I’ll be pottering along and listening to something soft, like Vashti Bunyan or the singing nun, to keep my brain at ease.

WC: Your art is mostly pale paint and watercolor. How did you get into art and your style of art?

CS: I've been painting and drawing as a form of diary keeping and self exploration for about ten years now — since I was a young teen — and I’d say my style has just been a gradual progression, and will continue to be that way for as long as I’m able to hold a pen. I think I tend to whittle down what I love and then turn it into a visual language full of consistent motifs, colors, and moods.
   I got into art because it was something always encouraged at home by my crafty mother. The bottom shelf of the bookcase was easy for me to reach as a child, and was filled with books on Dali, Angus McBean, and 70’s female photography anthologies; that’s where it all started.

WC: What does art mean to you?

CS: Art is something so necessary and vital for me. More than mere decoration, it is a form of therapy — a way to record moments in time and overarching themes running through my life. 

WC: Who and what are your artistic inspirations?

CS: At the moment, I’m really into surface design, ceramics, nature, silk, and the beauty of flowers — unabashed and simple things that stand alone in their individuality.
   Matisse, Sylvia Plath, David Lynch, and Kate Bush are all heroes of mine. Some awesome friends making inspiring work are Rosaleen Ryan, Maddy Young, Aaron Billings, Nicky Minus, Julia Trybala, and Georgia Blackie.

WC: Do you have any other passions besides your artwork?

CS: Gardening, dancing until five AM, sewing clothes, and yoga.

WC: What are your favorite objects or beings to paint?

CS: I’m pretty fond of the female form; nudes are my favorite. Flowers, books, table scenes, and things sprawled out on the floor as well.

WC: How would you describe your style?

CS: I would describe it as soft, genuine, heartfelt, feminine, and poetic.

WC: Thus far, what have been your favorite projects?

CS: I've really loved working on textiles for the clothing that I've started to make these past few years. It’s a miraculous thing to see a painting suddenly spring to life and be worn around town. In fact, I love this so much that I've been studying fashion for two years so I can start my own label of illustrated garments.

WC: Excited about anything new?

CS: I'm most excited about completing my diploma in two months and finally diving headfirst into running my business. Also, loving exploring the fine city of Melbourne, delving into the dark cavern that is sleep hypnosis, new friendships, moon spirituality, witchcraft, powerful women, and a budding romance. Just harnessing power and banding together with the ones you love, really.
   I'm also excited about some new tunes — I’m really liking FKA twigs and her lusty but fragile persona.

WC: What are your favorite things to do around Sydney?

CS: Night-walking around the city is amazing — especially if it's by a body of water that is able to reflect all the city lights.
   I love day trips out to Coogee Beach and all the swimming spots along that strip of coast. Rozelle Markets has me spending all my spare dollars on any given Sunday. I also enjoy going to little exhibitions mid-week, seeing what my friends are up to in their own creative practices, and getting happy on red wine.

WC: How does Sydney and Australia, as well as your general surroundings, influence you?

CS: Flora and fauna for sure — the plant life here is both scarily obtrusive and so unique looking, such as wattle, banksia, and eucalyptus. Some have potent scents which invade the air. Plus, the bizarrely bright sunshine must be doing something to my brain and vision, I expect.

WC: This might sound like a weird one, but what is your favorite object? Just tell us your favorite everything!

CS: I love my goose-feather pillow on which I sleep at night, a pink ceramic cup out of which I drink water, and a silver ring with a tiger’s eye stone that used to be my mum's, which I wear every day without fail.

WC: Do you have a quote that inspires you or that you enjoy?

CS: I can’t say that I have anything that sticks in my head over the course of months, but I am currently reading the philosophy of Andy Warhol, and his thoughts on love and life are understated and ring true.

WC: What’s next for you?

CS: Graduation, then I’m going to start my textiles label and see where life takes me. Ceramic classes and summer of sunshine and swimming are also on the cards.

WC: Anything else you’d like to share with WRITTEN CITIZEN?

CS: If any of you’d like to find out more about my art, please visit here.

All images via Caitlin. 

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