Welcome to our “Spotlight On…” segment!
In this series of interviews, we shine a spotlight on creatives to uncover what makes their personal brand so strong and, well, creative.
Meet Claire Brewster, a London-based artist whose work has been widely exhibited around the world, as well as published in many magazines and books including Vogue, Elle Decoration, World of Interiors, and Marie-Claire Maison to name a few.
Claire’s medium of choice has historically included old maps and atlases, from which she created delicate and intricate paper cuts of flowers, birds and insects. Recently, Claire has found inspiration in a new medium to express her creativity. Here she talks about her creative personal brand and how it has evolved:
Claire, your work has taken an exciting new direction. Tell us about it.
I’d been looking to change my work for a long while but nothing had quite worked and then last year something clicked. The political events at home and abroad had been pretty traumatic and affecting and somehow making birds out of maps no longer felt right. I started making some wooden masks that I thought would be my way forward but somehow even though I spent hours and hours on them they felt like too much of a struggle. All the while I was making these wooden pieces and little voice in my head was saying ‘what about the collages you make with people cut from magazines? You’ve got sketchbooks full of them, do that’. So I followed that voice and that’s where I am. And I haven’t felt this happy in my work for a long time. It brings me so much joy to make my new paintings which I hope comes through. I don’t really know where I’m going with them, but for now I’m enjoying the ride.
How do you still express your personal brand through something that’s such a different style from your papercuts?
I guess it’s still me making them so I’m still expressing my personal brand through them. Even though I’m working in a new direction it’s still true to my core brand values and ideas of transformation and creating transformative work to transport the viewer to another world.
Authenticity is important and making work that feels important to me now feels very important right now. It would be easy to carry on doing what I’ve always done but that doesn’t really fit well with my explorer and alchemist (archetypes) nature.
I make sure I use all my channels, social media, newsletter, blog to speak to my audience to bring them along for this journey and hopefully pick some new people along the way. Telling the story of my new work is very important and something that I’m really going to focus on over the next few months to really bring the work to life and encourage people to engage with me and it.
Has creativity always been a central part of your personal brand? If not, when did it start to become more prominent in your life?
Yes, it’s everything in my personal brand, creating and making art has always been important to me, but I only really took it seriously about 14 years ago in terms of running a business and building up my personal brand.
How do you express your creativity, as part of your personal brand, on a daily basis?
Making new artwork, looking for new ways to express my ideas, reading and researching new ideas, testing out new materials. There are lots of ways I express creativity outside of making artwork, I try to be creative in the ways I market my work and how I use social media and relate to the world.
Does being creative generally flow, or do you have to coax it out?
Some days it flows, others it can be a little shy. But usually when I get down to work and stop over thinking the creativity starts to flow. The act of putting pen/brush/pencil to paper usually goes somewhere.
What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who put themselves and their vision in the world, without fear, particularly women – there are so many but people like Maya Angelou, Nawal Al Saadawi, Kara Walker, Brene Brown.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to express more creativity as part of their personal brand? Any specific advice for those initiating a creative career?
As the Nike slogan goes – Just do it! We’re all creative, it’s not a gift that only some people have. Creativity comes in many forms, not just in artistic pursuits. Allowing ourselves to see the creativity in many of our day to day activities is important.
Starting a creative career can seem very daunting, there’s no obvious route to progression or pay scales. You have to make it all up yourself, which can be frightening, but is exciting when you consider the possibilities that are available. There’s no one to tell you what to do so you get to decide. With all the opportunity open to you it’s important to take action, to make the best work you can, to keep moving forward, to never be afraid to transform yourself into something new, to stay open to new ideas and mostly have fun.