Portraits of the Imagination - Caroline Reed
Interview By TK Mills. Photos Courtesy of Caroline Reed
When did you first start creating art? Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to pursue art as a full-time profession?
Ok, here we go. I have to say I’m better at pictures than words… I started creating art as a full time profession six years ago. I needed to do something for my mental health, and art heals wounds.
Do you have an artistic mission or philosophy that guides your artistic style?
I do think that artist should say something in their art about the times we live in, to document them. I try to create work that make people stop and question the world around them. My extinction pending series focuses on this.
What inspired you to incorporate childhood memories and trauma into your work?
Art helps to heal wounds and trauma.
What material do you use to create your art?
I use mixed media that incorporates collage paint and ink.
Is there a piece you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of? / or had a hard time selling because you wanted to keep?
I have a lot of difficulty letting most pieces go, to be honest. When you put so much of yourself into a piece, you have difficulty letting go.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite memory was swimming in the sea.
Why do you think art possesses healing properties? How does art help with symptoms of mental illness and trauma?
When you are creating a piece of art, the only thing you think about is what you are doing. It brings a sense of peace for a while. Art also makes it possible to let go, so you can tell a tale in pictures that it’s impossible to speak about.
With your Extinction Pending series, do you mean environmental extinction, such as climate change? Or in a existential sense, how all things decay with time?
Yes, I mean environmental extinction. Nature is a cycle – one can’t survive without the other, and as humans we are destroying that cycle.
Why do you think it’s important that art makes people stop and question things?
It’s important to make people think, because art can cause change for the better. Pictures can be stronger than words. With words, you can quite often forget them, but when you see an image that affects you, often, it stays with you.
Many of your paintings involve portraits - are these people you know? Or faces you’ve created from your imagination?
No, my portraits are made in my imagination. Very often, I’m portraying the emotions I am feeling at the time I create them.
Many of your pieces contrast a dark ambience, with color around the figure. What does this contrast symbolize?
My work is quite dark, but the color represents the hope that things do get better.
She is on Instagram @REED.CAROLINE