Art Asylum: Candice, tell us a little about yourself, where do you live, your lifestyle / background?

Candice: I grew up in the suburb of Marina Da Gama in Cape Town, South Africa. I spent most of my childhood outdoors. In the early 80s it was a new area; all the houses had to be regulation white with a grey roof – to keep things tidy. The trees grew askew because the wind was so strong.

I moved to London at the beginning of 2004 and in 2005 I took a job as a graphic designer in Newcastle upon Tyne, where I still live. Nowadays I divide my week between painting and working part time in design. I have a cat named Stanley.

Art Asylum: Give us a little history on your art background? What was it about art that gained your interest?

Candice: My big fat plan was to go to London and study fashion design. When I arrived however, I discovered that I could pay considerably less in the extortionate foreign student tuition fees if I stuck out a three year residency before going to college.

In the mean time I worked as a bartender and then as a receptionist in the city. When I took my job in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I had a lot of extra time on my hands. My daily commute in London cost my day two hours, whereas living in Newcastle only demanded 20 minutes.

I’ve always enjoyed painting, but I never thought I would be able to treat it as anything more than a hobby. I don’t have a degree and did most of my drawing during science and english lessons in high school.

In 2007 I picked up painting again, sold a piece to the owners of Electrik Sheep in Newcastle and was offered my first solo show on the spot.

I thought “Holy shit” and went for it. Studying was put on hold for the time being.

Art Asylum: Were you artistic as a child? Are your parents artistically inclined?

Candice: I was always drawing and making things. Always. I used to get excited about sick days because it meant I got some precious time alone with my crayola fountain and fuzzy felt. I was a geek child.

If I asked my mother to draw me something, she’d say “I can’t”. If I asked my dad, he would draw a race car. Every time. But he would have to ask which crayon was red because he’s colourblind. Apparently that attribute won him a few colouring competitions when he was little.

Art Asylum: How did you come up with your specific style of painting? What methods where first implemented to establish a Candice Tripp painting?

Candice: I used to enjoy painting lots of horrible crap and gave little thought to developing any sort of style. One night as I passed my favourite shop, Skirt and I got to thinking about a sort of dress I really wanted. The sort they might sell, but didn’t. Off the back of that I pictured a girl in it. By the time I got home and painted it, she was holding an umbrella and chasing a rabbit on an otherwise blank canvas.

I thought “this makes sense”. And now I paint lots of horrible crap in a very specific way, on white canvases.

Art Asylum: Your paintings are very vibrant and alive consisting of subjects ranging from animals to inanimate objects what determines who or what makes it into a painting?

Candice: I’m still trying to figure that out, really. Sometimes I’ll finish a painting and will be happy with how I did it, but the end result won’t feel right to me. Even if people love those canvases, I feel a bit funny selling them, like I should hide them away until I figure out what the matter is.

Right now I can’t bear to paint a child’s face. I can get so much more out of a character if I don’t know who they are. I also tend to replace adults with animals.

With my newer work I’ve started to add a bit of scenery too. I recently realised that unless I alluded to a setting, viewers won’t know where the things on canvas are being played out. Despite how obvious that is, it took me a while to wake up and pay attention.

Art Asylum: If you had to describe your work in one word what would it be?

Candice: Unpleasant.

Art Asylum: As a young artist how do you measure the success in your work?

Candice: Booking a show always makes me feel like what I’m doing must be of interest to someone. Feeling like I delivered matters to me a lot too. Candice: I don’t always feel like the translation of an image in my head to the one on canvas is accurate. The best feeling is when I finish a piece that I feel shows a point of marked improvement on top of being exactly what I originally pictured. I don’t need to show it to anyone or sell it to feel good about it. Just knowing that I was able to produce it makes me really happy.

Art Asylum: What is your philosophy as an artist?

Candice: Get out before anyone can ruin it for you.

I got involved in the art scene because my hobby was well received. I keep saying that I’ll be drawing and painting forever, but right now it’s also very much like being self employed. With the matter of business to attend to, I don’t want to ever start regarding my painting as something I loathe to do. As soon as I feel like some element of the art world is threatening the level of enjoyment I get out of the act itself, I’m getting out or doing my best to distance myself from it.

It’s a bit of protection, I suppose.

Art Asylum: How would you describe your art for somebody who is not familiar with your work?

Candice: I really enjoy playing with negative space. The painting is normally only a fragment of a narrative. My titles are often a means to completely alter the visual scenario on canvas and I like that they offer a second reference point.

I like my characters to possess a sort of rickety disposition. Both physically and mentally.

Art Asylum: How long have you been doing what you do? Is this now your full time job?

Candice: I’ve exhibiting my paintings since early 2007. I paint part time. As much as I enjoy it, I need to break up my week with some human interaction. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy working with people until I’d paint for two or three days on the trot without going into the office.

Art Asylum: What motivates / inspires you to make art and stay focused while working on a new project or for an upcoming show?

Candice: Fear, panic and self doubt have all successfully contributed to my growing portfolio.

Art Asylum: How long does it take you to produce a piece?

Candice: I have no idea. Each piece varies dramatically and I tend to work on a few canvases at once since I need the oils to dry before I can start work on inking. The work in general is becoming far more detailed so canvases are generally taking longer to complete at the moment.

Art Asylum: What do you find to be the most difficult thing about being an artist?

Candice: I worry that I’ll hit a block as far as ideas are concerned. I start to panic when I lose a staring contest with a canvas.

Art Asylum: Your style is very recognizable; however Do you see your art work drastically changing in the future?

Candice: No.

Art Asylum: What is your life long goal for your artistic career?

Candice: I don’t look at life-long anything, ever. However, right now I would love nothing more than to work at translating my paintings into a sort of fashion collaboration. I would love to design my own prints, detailing a gorgeous garment with my seedy, dark things.

Art Asylum: Has any one artist in particular influenced your style or overall creative process?

Candice: No. I think there have been lots of contributing factors.

Art Asylum: How do you go about naming a particular piece, are the paintings based around a concept or the concept based on the paintings? Which originates first?

Candice: It’s funny because it’s always a situation of Either Or. Sometimes a title will hit me out of nowhere and I’ll spend a few weeks thinking about what types of visual would best compliment it. Sometimes I’ll see or come up with a visual and I’ll use the title to turn the concept on its head. I like a lot of old photos and illustrated product packaging from the 40’s and 50’s and enjoy thinking of a few choice words that completely change the feel of the picture.

Art Asylum: When you are not painting, what do you enjoy doing?

Candice: This year has been one of working solid 7 day weeks, so free time is normally post-dinner, spent half-awake in front of a horror. Back when I enjoyed weekends, I liked to sew my own awful clothing and I loved to tend to my match box sized garden.

Art Asylum: You have been the centre of a lot of attention, with that being said I’m sure you have had your fair share of interviews lately, what is something you would like to share with your readers that they do not
already know?

Candice: Have I? I have a man-sized model skeleton called Ralph who I lightly decorate around Christmas time.

Art Asylum: What should we expect from you in the coming year? Any upcoming gallery shows or new projects for 2010?

Candice: I’ll be sending some work to the HiFructose group show in March. What happens with the rest of the year remains to be seen.


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