It takes muscle to commit to art as a vocation, but Claire Johnson has found a fiercely independent voice within a collective of creatives at the Nest Creative Space. From her Sydney studio, Claire immerses herself into a multimedia practice, producing vibrant paintings and ceramics.
"My studio is definitely my soul place. It is a sacred space to me where I go to create and reflect. There is nothing better than having a creative space to call your own."
What was the pivot point that set you on your current path?
My pivot point came in my last year of art school. I was filled with a new drive to make my artistic career my life's work. Even though it was scary leaving the comfort of my art school bubble, graduating pushed me to realise I had to find it within myself to make it on my own. It's still a struggle sometimes to maintain that drive as I'm not financially stable solely through my practice, but it is worth it to me. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s going through their own transformation?
If it's what you truly want for yourself, keep going. Most artists don't choose their passion, it chooses them (as cliché as that sounds!) The best advice I was ever given was by another artist I admire greatly. He said to me, "Don't just sit around waiting, wondering when you'll 'make it'. If your only concern is when it will be your turn, that will be your only focus and your work will cease to become important and all you will be is bitter."
Are you following the path of a trailblazer or being guided by a mentor?
I don't know if I'd consider myself a 'trailblazer' but I do work like a Trojan. I either paint, draw, or make ceramics every day in addition to working my retail job - but I try to be conscious of when I'm forcing it rather than letting it come naturally. That's when I know to stop for the day, when it starts to feel like a chore.
Where in the world would you describe as the place that speaks to you - your soul place?
My studio is definitely my soul place. It is a sacred space to me where I go to create and reflect. There is nothing better than having a creative space to call your own.
If you could do anything, what in the world would you want to do next?
If I could do anything in the world the top of my list would definitely be to collaborate with a fashion designer on a series of garments. I would love to see some of my painted ladies and jugs brought to life on fabric and worn on the body.
All images used with permission from Claire Johnson.