artist interview - carmel seymour
What kind of artwork does an Iceland-dwelling creative make? If Carmel Seymour is anything to go by, it's magical watercolours and sweet botanical sketches that look like they've come straight from a mystical dreamland.
What kind of artwork does an Iceland-dwelling creative type make? If Carmel Seymour is anything to go by, it's magical watercolours and sweet botanical sketches that look like they've come straight from a mystical dreamland.
We got a little gushy when we came across her pieces, so got in touch to ask all about her life and art.
What is your name and how old are you? Carmel Seymour and I am 34 years old.
Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in London, I grew up in Melbourne and I now live in Reykjavik, Iceland.
How does where you grew up and where you live now affect your art? When I first came to Iceland I was really taken by the landscape, I still am. All the plant life is in miniature scale, lots of lichens and mosses. It made me view Australian flora with a new appreciation when I am there too.
Please describe the space where you do most of your creation – whether it's your art studio or kitchen bench! I have just begun my Masters of Arts degree at the Iceland Academy of Arts so my studio is in the middle of a big room with 18 other students. I had a beautiful private room that looked out over the mountains and sea of Reykjavik but I gave it up to start school. I think it is much nicer to be around many other creative people; there are people to inspire you and keep you on track.
What kind of mediums do you use? Why do you choose to use these mediums? I mostly use watercolour and drawing. I love the delicacy of watercolour. I like the detail of old scientific and botanical illustrations. I like to hide little secrets in the detailed parts of my drawings. Watercolour is unpredictable - it feels like alchemy sometimes. The coincidences and mistakes in the colour often lead to lovely new directions and occasionally small disasters!
Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? Each work is a reflection of a range of things within my life at that time. I am always drawn to the paranormal, history, science and nature. The works are usually a search for wonders of some kind. I include details of things I have read or seen during the creation of the painting, like marking the picture with my experience of making it.
What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment? I spent some time at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania this year and I'm focusing on the amazing moss formations I found there. I'm trying to keep some wild moss and lichens alive on my desk at the moment but it's a losing battle, I fear. I have begun some ceramic experiments as well, but I'm not sure how they will evolve yet.
Do you think people need to understand the artist's intention to appreciate the art? I hope not, but I think really great work is usually beautiful and also thought provoking. I prefer to think that people make there own narratives from my work. I have heard some amazing interpretations of my paintings. I love that multiple meanings can exist at once for a work; I would hate to dictate the way someone enjoys my paintings.
What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a piece of work? A garden gnome.
Which era of art do you appreciate the most? I love the figurative painting of David Hockney and Wayne Theiband from the '70s and the Romantic painters - particularly Casper David Friedrich. Anything narrative in nature tends to draw me in.
What do you doodle when you are daydreaming? Cats, pot plants, wizards.
What other budding artists do you love? I was so lucky to receive a bunch of beautiful works for my home from friends when I got married this year, so for now they are all my favourites.
What do you enjoy doing when not creating art? Tending to my pot plants (I have a small jungle growing in my apartment). Buying all kinds of junk from antique stores and op shops. Riding my bike when the weather permits in Reykjavik. Knitting and cooking (general old lady activities).
Where can we see more of your work? carmelseymour.com and helengory.com