Guest blog by Leah Grant
THE HONEST CREATIVE TRUTH with Claire Ishino
I love, love, yes LOVE ART. I love seeing, following, making and chatting all things creative. But if I’m 100% honest I don’t always feel creative.
In fact sometimes, I don’t even know how to get back into that creative space and other times it flows so damn naturally I wish I could bottle it up and save some for later. When there’s a lack of inspiration that passion, can easily turn to jealousy.
When you see the brilliant talent and opportunity of others, do you ever feel the same?
Or am I the only one?
In an effort to break free of that, I’ve challenged myself to meet with another artist and get their perspective.
I shamelessly stalked the very talented; Claire Ishino on instagram. I was delighted when she accepted my coffee invite. Claire currently works predominately with gouache on paper creating botanic patterns with such intricate detail and carefully selected colour pallets.
Meeting her, I found her so wonderfully open and kind. Within minutes she was cuddling my four month old and sharing with me the struggles and advice for juggling her own business.
Claire’s work is layered with geometric and organic shapes, bringing such a feeling of grace and heart. Currently she has a large selection of work at Brick and Mortar Creative in Norwood and has an online shop through her website. She also just finished a stunning exhibition at Art Images Gallery with Todd Romanowycz and Cristina Metelli.
Claire often displays her work at local markets, regularly having a stall at Bowerbird Design Market. Needless to say – she is one very busy lady, juggling working full time as an artist from home and she’s also a Mum of two primary aged kids.
Without realising, our conversation went back forth from motherhood to life as an artist. Claire and I are both very aware of the challenges of having a shared space with our two loves – family and painting.
Our three main topics were TRANSPARENCY, INSPIRATION AND PROCESS. So here’s the insight I gained through our time together.
I am totally drawn and challenged to Claire’s approach to transparency in her art. She explained that she has been a stall holder at many markets and finds these experiences a great way to connect with the public and further grow her following.
Claire admitted that being so accessible as the creator can result in some pretty bizarre conversations. However, even when questioned about her technique or materials, she explains “I am always completely transparent about my processes and anything really”.
She believes that you can remove the hesitation to give away secrets about how you work, if you remain true to yourself. The fear that someone might copy you won’t apply, because they don’t know what you are working on next. Claire prefers to be supportive rather then guarded.
For Claire, she keeps herself open to finding inspiration wherever she goes.
Sometimes it’s a walk through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens or listening to someone’s story. I found it fascinating to hear her admit that “creativity is hard and doesn’t come easy”, yet she finds choosing colours effortlessly. Claire can bury herself in that task, but to get from a blank page to a floral composition takes time and focus.
When I asked her, when did she first call herself an artist she laughed and said “I’m not an artist” and yet her experience and talent is definitely evidence of the opposite. She is a humble creative, so open and honest.
From exhibitions to markets to social media promotion and an online shop, Claire is definitely a productive contemporary artist.
She has grown such a wide following; she is now being approached for various new opportunities. Recently she completed a fun new commission for a gin bottle label, for 23rd Street Distillery. I found it reassuring to hear that she doesn’t always instantly say ‘YES!’, but carefully considers her time and resources before committing.
I think for many creative people, me included, it’s so tempting to go gung ho into everything that comes your way, but it really isn’t always the right thing to do. It can result in burn out or a disappointed client, when you over commit. Protecting your brand relies on good relationships.
From one artist to another, I highly commend Claire Ishino in her talent and creative approach. I believe we can encourage, inspire and promote each other in an authentic way that celebrates each unique style. I hope as you read this you get as much out of it as I did.