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Charlotte Sorapure, an artist, is one of the guests judges for Jackson’s Art Prize 2024. In this interview, she discusses her painting practice, tells us her proudest achievement and explains why she thinks that art competitions and prizes are important to artists today.
Interview with Charlotte Sorapure
Josephine, could you tell us something about yourself and what you do?
Charlotte: My name is Charlotte Sorapure and I’m an artist living and working in Bath in Somerset. My paintings are divided into two parts. I find I can work from both observation and imagination. These two different ways to work actually influence and support me. It’s important for me that my paintings have some sort of poetic awareness and really to encourage people to stop and pause and hopefully recognise something that they see– a moment, an atmosphere, or a mood. Ultimately artists are trying to capture something that makes people conscious of the world around them in a way that they haven’t been before. I tend to work in oil paints because it’s the most versatile and forgiving. Oil paint is forgiving and allows you to work on things. The surface of a picture actually improves when using oil paint. The more you work on it, the more interesting textures and surfaces you get.
What are you proudest achievements during your career?
Charlotte: Well, it’s an achievement just to keep going really, as an artist. It’s quite a difficult life and occupation to have chosen. One of my proudest accomplishments was a portrait I did for the Holburne Museum, Bath. The portrait was of Don McCullin the war photographer, and the conversations we had during the sittings were fascinating. We found out that he was a painter, and a particular Caravaggio fan, because of his fascination for light and chiaroscuro. He shared so many incredible stories and insights. It’s not uncommon to meet new people when you do something like this. It was a real privilege.
Josephine: Who are the artists or artworks, and exhibitions you’ve been most inspired by this past year?
Charlotte: I think the best exhibition I’ve seen this year was the Vermeer exhibition in Amsterdam at the Rijks Museum. I was lucky to get tickets. Vermeer is someone who manages to surprise and reward. You never really get to know his secrets. He’s still very mysterious. No matter how many scientists analyze his paintings, he’s still an awe inspiring artist. And also there was a very good exhibition of Frans Hals at the National Gallery, and I thought I knew how his paintings, but again, they’re full of surprises. The exhibition was also very, interesting. Everyone’s seen The Laughing Cavalier and you think you know his paintings, but actually they’re sort of beautifully subtle. And the characterization of the of the portraits, the people, they’re so alive. I think that he’s somebody that most people just take for granted. But actually, there’s a lot to learn from Frans Hals and both in the way he paints and his understanding of people and empathy towards sitters.
Josephine: What importance do you give to awards and competitions for artists today?
Charlotte: I think awards and prizes like the Jackson’s Art Prize are very important for artists because we all need encouragement. As well as a bit of money, which is always helpful, there’s an opportunity to exhibit which can make a meaningful difference especially if you’re somebody who’s just starting out. For any artist it’s really interesting to see groups of your paintings hung together. Curiously, it’s interesting to see how you paint, what type of personality you have, and this can be very helpful and healthy for you.
Josephine: What will you be looking for in the entries when choosing your Judge’s Choice Prize?
Charlotte: I’ll be looking for sincerity, authenticity and honesty in in the work. I don’t have any particular bias towards abstract or figurative, although I am a figurative painter. I believe abstraction is a universal language that both disciplines can use. I’m always looking forward to surprises.
Josephine: Do you have any advice for artists out there thinking about entering Jackson’s Art Prize this year?
Charlotte: I’d say, just do it. Give it a shot. You never know if you will be successful. It is good to work towards a goal and have a deadline. It forces you to finish your work and get organised. I’d advise you to put your best work in and maybe you win something. Who knows.
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