O-A : What is art to you? Is creating an urge, necessity or maybe an essential way of life?
Christine Calow: I always wanted to be an artist, even before I really understood what “being an artist” meant, and what line of art I would follow. Art defines who I am and gives my life purpose. If I’m not making art I’m thinking about how to further develop my ideas or visiting an exhibition.
O-A : Who or what inspired you artistically; a person, artist, event, experience…
Christine Calow: Lots of things inspire me artistically. The artists I most admire are those who use colour as a powerful form of expression. For years I’ve loved the exuberant paintings and prints of the British artist Albert Irvin – filled with colour, light and life. Other favourites are Patrick Heron and early Kandinsky. Also Mark Rothko and the less well known American Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann.
O-A: How do you search for inspiration and themes for your work?
Christine Calow: The starting point for my work is travel, experiencing new countries and cultures. Since I was a child I have been fascinated by India, and my travels around the vibrant desert state of Rajasthan and to the sacred city of Varanasi on the banks of the River Ganges have given me endless ideas and inspiration. I look particularly for colours, shapes, symbols and textures – visual information that can be used in an abstract way.
Another source of inspiration is the Greek island of Andros, and one strand of my work explores in abstract form my responses to the island I have visited many times, and which for me is a very special place.
O-A: How has your art changed over time? Why?
Christine Calow: My degree is in Printed Textiles, and initially I worked as a fabric designer and printer. I have always been drawn to abstract art, and, having been trained in textiles experimentation with colour, shape and texture is something which comes naturally. My work has evolved from the creation of usable fabrics to wall hung textiles to works on paper. I draw on my past ways of working to create work that is meaningful to me now.
O-A: What names do you give your artworks?
Christine Calow: As my work fits mainly into two themes, India and Andros, the titles of my work reflect this. For example: “Indian Yellow Collage” and “Jaisalmer”; “Menites” and “Hora”.