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Studio Secrets

Claire Pestaille

Photo by Paul Murphy

Describe the things and images that you have around you in your studio and how they influence or inform your work.

My desk houses a collection of books, some are ordered in a neat row, others in uneven stacks or haphazardly strewn over the floor with pages spread open or torn out. My books act as references, guides and inspiration, they range from gothic horror stories to art history, psychology, philosophy, films and novels.

Describe your working methods and processes.

I begin researching for a project using the internet, magazines, newspapers, second hand book shops and museums, searching for images I can utilize and absorb into my work, whilst reading a variety of different books and watching films that interest and inspire me.

Which single item in your studio is most important to your work?

Paint brush.

Which artist/s most influences your work and which recent show has been inspirational?

Goya, Rembrandt, John Currin, Matthew Barney, Ingres, Velasquez, Paula Rego, Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dumas, Louise Bourgeois.

The taxidermy collection at the Natural History museum in Vienna

Is your studio a refuge or a place of torture?

The studio can be a place of both pleasure and pain.
A sanctuary and a cell,
for moments in making, when time stands still.

My studio manages to bless me with extreme temperatures, from icy cold in the winter when I paint wearing five layers of clothing and a hot water bottle strapped round me to becoming hotter than the Kew garden tropical house! Regardless of the pain, it's a place of escapism and creativity, where communication is isolated to the conversation of paint on canvas.