MUNTHE ART MONDAY: CHARLOTTE EVANS
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is Charlotte. I’m a British painter living in Toronto with my wife and three kids. And the dog.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
I suppose I may have pushed more if I were a man. Been more ambitious, more determined, and certain of where I wanted to go from the beginning. But I think I owe my sensibility to being a woman, and right now the experience of being a mother is what is feeding my work. My eldest is nearly 8 and I think only now am I fully settled into my identity as a mother. I am working on a series of paintings about the goddess Diana. Diana, most commonly known as Goddess of the hunt is also, under her Greek alias of Artemis, the Goddess of fertility, childbirth, and care of children. I worked very little between when my children were born and when they started school. I was at home with them full-time and I had neither the time, space, or focus, nor the energy to work effectively. But I never stopped thinking about it.
This time of deep isolation, of being a new parent away from ’home’, raising children in a foreign country and being a foreigner, of making a new ’home’ within my new family and a total change in my identity. This time of trauma from births and grappling with post partum. And perhaps the most powerful thing of all, the experience of pure and unadulterated joy and love unlike anything I had felt before. All this focused me and distilled years of questioning and searching. All this has finally brought me to make the work I think I was always meant to make.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
I most often find myself taking inspiration from books and those books tend to be written by women. The intimacy of reading and narrative without someone else’s visual interpretation, allows for a world of inspiration. One of my most recent paintings took it’s title from a poem by Emily Dickinson, Hope is the Thing With Feathers. My mother is a writer. She was an actor before that. She gave up a successful career to become a writer but has yet to find recognition. But she keeps writing, she keeps producing work, writing at least a little every day nevermind how she feels or what is going on. For this I admire her immensely.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
Being a mother and an artist is like working two jobs. Both incredibly rewarding but at times, very challenging. Everything feels rushed. My work is like another child- it’s part of me, I couldn’t live without it but it needs feeding, nuturing as much as any one of my children. Or maybe its better described as an addiction- I am always thinking about it, it is always with me. It is the key to my sanity. Defending the time, I need to dedicate to my work is vital though it tends not to be the loudest voice in the room demanding attention.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
Something that is personal to them- something that moves and engages them. My work is deeply personal- the process of making it is cathartic for me, and joyous. It’s a deeply joyous and calming process. I hope that the work brings joy even if there is a dark underbelly to it at times.