Christine Highland is one of the founder members of Artspring gallery, so it is lovely to have an opportunity to get to know her a little better. She is photographed above on her studio steps by Sally Anne Low Photography.
How long have you been an artist and how did your artistic career begin?
I studied Interior Design at college in London straight from school. It was an Architecture focused course which led me to work for many years as a Designer/Architectural Assistant.
Why do you make art and what themes do you pursue?
I am in essence a designer and have always enjoyed the creativity that gives me. The need to discover new ways of creating an image, new ideas, problem solving. I have been using maps as a theme for about 12 years and have now moved on to using strong colour and shape initially with maps in mind but developing it in to a contemporary abstract style.
Who or what have most inspired you?
There are many artists: Miro, Calder, Delauney and the Albers whose work I have researched to clarify my ideas. Most recently I would link my work to Paul Klee, David Bomberg and Bridget Riley
Can you describe your first big break?
I had created my pattern maps and knew I had something different: a eureka moment. I was lucky enough to sell 3 originals of local towns to the Art Curator at Fidelity Financial. I was shocked but hugely thrilled and it spurred me on to secure many commissions and sales of maps since.
What gives you joy?
Creating a piece where I have developed the design alongside my own colours and placed them together in such a way that they are joyous to look at.
Are there any achievements of which you feel particularly proud?
Being an instigator in the creation of ArtSpring Gallery has been very special. Also being shortlisted for the RA Summer Exhibition was a shock and has helped keep me motivated.
How do you like to spend your time when you are not being an artist?
This is difficult to answer as I am committed to caring for a family member. Being in my studio is where I want to be but I do not have as many hours there as I would like.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given regarding your art?
I think “create art that you love not what pleases others”, I have definitely taken that onboard but luckily other people like it too.
I have also been encouraged to “go big” so that is my new focus.
Is there anything else that you would like us to know?
I am pleased to have been asked to do many map commissions. I get a great sense of achievement when I hand a map over to my client and see the pleasure it gives. I am delighted when someone recognises my work and tells me I am famous even if only locally.