In this edition of Hello Honey, we chat with British artist, Clare Haxby, on her art inspirations, Singapore architecture, favourite local restaurants, bars, and more
It’s easy to see why people would fall in love with this city. But there are those who love Singapore so much, that they depict colourful celebrations of both the heritage and modern architecture of it – such is the impteus behind the mixed media Singapore Landmark pieces that Clare Haxby is famous for. Aside from her artistry that’s made her a favourite amongst those who have exhibited their works at the Affordable Art Fair, Clare also has many more talents up her sleeve, including textile design, make-up artistry and interior styling. Described as an ‘art ambassador’ by the Singapore Consulate in New York, we were keen to discover more about the life and inspiration behind her paintings as well as the other projects she’s currently working on.
AND if you love her work as much as we do, you can enter our competition below to win one of her amazing prints for your home…
You’ve been involved in lots of different creative projects. Tell us a bit about your background and what you’ve worked on so far?
I studied Fine Art at Kingston University in London, and after graduating, I had my first solo art exhibition in Brighton. This was inspired by my trip to the Amazon, which I went on as a result of winning the Stanley Picker Travel scholarship. I then set up my own business, The ‘Green Design Company’, which produced ecologically-themed printed t-shirts and giftware.
I have always been self-employed, and I like it that way. I worked as a creative make-up artist in London for fashion shoots and music videos, working with the likes of The Bee Gees and Simply Red, as well as celebrity hairdresser Charles Worthington. I have also designed textiles for Liberty’s of London and Greenpeace, and worked on several interior design projects renovating and styling houses in London. Drawing and painting are at the core of all my creative works, and I love the freedom of using my creativity in different ways.
That’s a seriously impressive biography! Who do you get your inspiration from?
My family. We spent a summer in a rice paddy farm in Ubud, Bali and there were roosters in our garden. My son, Alfie, who was very small at the time, became fixated on them. So I painted a rooster canvas for his bedroom, which then led to a bird series of paintings. I’ve just finished a piece of The Crowned Victoria Pigeon, which I first drew at Jurong bird Park.
For my Singapore Landmark Series, my teenagers were involved in helping me select which landmark to paint next. My husband is often found hanging my exhibitions, and all three of my children came with me to Venice last year, where two of my paintings were exhibited. My daughter, Scarlett, was photographer for the event.
And where do you find inspiration for your work?
Travelling. I’m a serious travel junkie and will jump at any chance to visit a new country, new city or a new place. I always travel with my camera and sketchbook, and I love living like a local in far-flung places. We’ve done several house swaps around the world, which have included Sydney, Dubai and France. I believe that inspiration can be found anywhere – on a walk in the park, from something in a magazine or book, or even something that someone says. I’m constantly inspired by things around me that are close to home, and I always have so many ideas of what to do next.
What’s been your favourite piece of work to do so far and why?
I loved working on my painting of Marina Bay Sands. We saw the building being constructed and the ship-shaped top appearing in the skyline. And now, it’s becomethe modern landmark of Singapore. I chose a blue colour palette and built up this mixed media piece with silver leaf and glazes, as well as my trademark painted text. It’s a large piece at 244 x 122 cm and looks stunning against a white wall. This image is also part of my limited edition print collection and they have gone to every corner of the world, including The British High Commissioners’ home.
Where do you find yourself at your most creative?
I love working in my studio where, ideally, I don’t have to check the time! I always listen to the radio whilst I paint – Radio 4 woman’s hour is a favourite of mine, and there are so many great podcasts out there too. If I’m in need of some energy I will listen to Amy Winehouse – very loudly!
How would you describe your home in Singapore?
I lived and worked from one of the colonial black and white houses in Singapore on Malcolm Road for four years. It’s such a beautiful building with wooden floors, white walls and high ceilings; it really oozes colonial charm. The main house was our family home and gallery space, and a light-filled building in the garden was my art studio. I created my largest body of work there – my Singapore Landmark series of paintings which were exhibited at The Fullerton Hotel – and I also held monthly open days at the house and it was part of Geraldene Lowes’ Black and White Tour. It was a very busy and productive house!
How do you think your style has changed over the years?
My trademark style is mixed media, I use printmaking, acrylic paint, glazes collage and sometimes gold or silver leaf in my paintings which are built up in many layers. I have evolved this process through endless practice, and it’s truly my trademark style – my handwriting of painting.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have just finished a Ginger Lily painting commission for a client in Singapore, and have now started a new painting of The Liberty Building in London, which will potentially be the first of my London Landmarks Collection. The next group exhibition is in Buenos Aires in Argentina, where I’m exhibiting some life paintings. I’m based back in England now, but I often travel back to Singapore as I still have a showroom on Tanglin Rise.
Can you give any advice to budding artists in Singapore?
Meet up with other artists and get involved in group exhibitions here, but also look into exhibiting internationally if you can. I have exhibited in six different countries this year, from Italy to Colombia. It’s great to expand your profile this way, and my clients are now all over the globe from Costa Rica to New Zealand!
Favourite architecture in Singapore?
I love the Raffles Hotel Building; a white facade flanked by travellers palms with fascinating stories from the past and the home of the Singapore Sling!
Favourite space in Singapore?
The Ginger Garden in Singapore’s Botanical garden. It’s where I used to draw and gather inspiration for my Ginger Lily series of paintings, and I always loved to enjoy an Asian lunch with the girls at Halia restaurant afterwards!
Favourite cultural activity in Singapore?
I love The Peranakan Museum; the Peranakans have such a decorative culture and fascinating wedding rituals.
Colbar (short for Colonial Bar) is great for local Malaysian Curry and bottles of English cider. It was opened in 1953, and was where members of the British Army used to eat and drink.
The Lantern Bar at The Fullerton Bay Hotel has one of the best views of the Marina at night, so it’s the perfect spot for sundowners.
Favourite shop to buy art materials?
Straits Arts on North Bridge Road. It’s a family business and the best resource for professional artists; lovely service too… ask for Clara!
Add your details below for the chance to WIN this signed and framed print by Clare Haxby, worth $910! Competition ends 25 April.