Brighton born-and-bred artist Charlotte Esposito has been emerging on the contemporary British Art Scene since 2012. True to artistic form, Charlotte incorporates a wide range of techniques into her work, and endeavours to elude to various themes through her pieces. She is a woman of many creative talents, enjoying painting as well as sculpture. These two are often arguably combined as she admittedly enjoys manipulating the surface of her canvases using not only brushes but screws, credit cards and other unconventional implements. At times, Charlotte has adjusted her paintings by cutting out large sections of the canvas, giving these pieces a curious and particular beauty.
Charlotte’s paintings shrewdly unite traditional media with the unexpected by combining oils, acrylics and inks with various materials including feathers, threads, flowers, spray paint and coffee. Charlotte explains that she came across this obscure use of components at university; not having the money to buy the right art equipment, she would resort to raiding household cupboards for materials and implements to use for her projects. These have since become ingrained in her aesthetic. This unique approach gives each piece respectively an original and layered impression, with Charlotte herself maintaining that her art has various motif’s, touching on human connection, femininity, the natural world and the urban environment.
The above piece, Golden Decay, best showcases Charlotte’s intriguing talent for modifying the surface of the canvas to create a textured and intriguing composition. This piece is a contemporary urban painting that depicts the contrast of nature against urbanisation. The flowers decay, colour bleeds, paint peels, elements pull against each other in a visual abstract illustration of the biological nature of existence.
Path of Flight is a large scale painting from the artists Canvas Sculpture collection. The colour palette is inspired by aerial photographs taken by astronauts from the international space station. The artist states this piece references our physical place in the universe and our desire to travel and discover new things. The central exposed cross is a visual metaphor associated with humanity’s need to apply religion when attempting to make sense of an otherwise unexplained existence.
The Wait is a captivating piece referencing street art, stations and buildings as well as transient places where people travel from one place to another. Through this work the artist considers time and the continual movement of people. A train pulls away as a visual metaphor for the past; at the same time another train approaches suggesting the arrival of the future. In this painting the figure is suspended in the now.
After coming across her work, I got in touch with Charlotte to find out a bit more about her art.
Hi Charlotte, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My childhood was filled with creativity, which led me to study Art and Design at college here and then Design at University. I found that the majority of my work naturally developed in to fine art outcomes and I’ve always felt at ease with having one foot in both disciplines. I became a qualified teacher to support my practise and I did that very successfully, quickly becoming a head of department and later being chosen to be part of a national group of teachers who were thought to be displaying exceptional talent in terms of teaching ability and subject knowledge. I loved teaching but continued to produce my own work at home and in 2010 after the birth of my daughter I decided to leave teaching behind and become a full time Artist. By 2012 I was taken on by London Gallery Debut Contemporary and I have been lucky enough to have been selected for some incredible exhibitions over the past few years.
You seem to enjoy trying your hand at various artistic techniques. At the moment, what are you enjoying the most?
At the moment I am enjoying the painting the most, but that is in part due to space constraints. My home studio will only allow for canvasses up to around 2m x 2m but I would be on gigantic canvasses if I could. I would also be further manipulating the concept of 2D canvas work and incorporating more 3D elements. I approach my work a bit like sculpture anyway, removing sections and adding parts in before I have even begun to apply the foundation layers. I tend to design and sketch up what I am trying to achieve and I am obsessed with materials. I will have concepts for works years before I ever begin them and so although I am painting at the moment, in my mind there are full scale sculpture pieces that have not yet been realised.
I enjoyed learning of the diverse materials you incorporate into your work. Can you give us a hint of perhaps the most bizarre implement or material you’ve worked with?
The most bizarre material is probably alcohol; I like the smell of whisky, and red wine gives a good effect. People are often surprised to learn that I also paint with coffee, which is one of my favourites. I love to use flowers and have developed techniques that allow me to retain most of the colour. I use screws, nails, the edge of bits of cardboard, old bandage (that’s quite odd I guess) and wax. I also use Iron Pyrites, leather, fabric, silk thread, collage, shell, feather, gold leaf, bone and resin, alongside all the traditional materials.
Can you give us any artist that have inspired you throughout your career? (what inspires you about them)
I am inspired by strong female role models like Freda Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth (who was both a mother and an artist), Georgia O’Keeffe, and Margaret Keane who was able to eventually claim the credit that she deserved despite adversity. There are millions of female artists out there but we are still on the back foot and women like these and more recently artists and designers like Coco Channel and Tracy Emin deserve to be celebrated as becoming well known names in a world that is flooded by famous men. I’d really like to see a higher volume of women being recognised for there achievements in Art and being able to reach the same levels as success as they do in the music industry.
Any suggestions for artists we should be keeping our eyes on at the moment?
Apart from myself?! I’ve had the privilege of exhibiting alongside many incredible artists in the last few years, both male and female. Sam Shendi is an amazing Sculptor and is rising through the ranks. My first exhibition in London five years ago I also met an artist and illustrator called Damilola Odusote whose work struck a chord with me. There is a French female artist called Héloïse Delègue who is probably also one to watch. What I do find though is that I now repeatedly come across the same set of artists and names, at least at the London circuit exhibitions, and undoubtedly all of those people are set to do well. There is much to be appreciated in other people’s work and everyone has their own unique and interesting story to tell.
Charlotte will be exhibiting her work at a month long solo show at Junkyard Dogs Arts Café in Brighton. The show will be opening this coming Saturday 1 April.
To find out more about Charlotte, visit her website at www.charlotteesposito.com