Colour File Interview: Carrie Reichardt

Carrie Reichardt is a leading contemporary UK artist and self-confessed ‘craftivist’. She uses murals, ceramics and screen-printing to create stunning, affordable, subversive art and her work has also been shown at the V&A. Here, she tells Martha Roberts about her lifelong love-affair with colour…

Martha: Can you describe your first colour memory?
Carrie: I am not sure of my first colour memory, but I do remember that, as a child colour was extremely important to me. I went through a long phase of only wearing purple clothes and eating yellow food. My mother told me I lived on banana’s and eggs for weeks. I would spend hours just rearranging my pencils and pens in colour order – in fact I spent more time doing this than actually using them. Also every Sat I would spend my pocket money on a box of Smarties and lay them all out on the table in rows of colour – eating them in order of how much I like the colour.

Martha: Do you have a favourite colour and has this changed over the years?
Carrie: I haven’t really changed my preference for colour much since my Smartie days. (Yellow and Orange being my least favorite and eaten first.) I used to work a lot with red, black, powder blue and baby pink. But now I really like working with strong bright colour’s and playing with the opposites of the colour wheel.

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Martha: What is your favourite colourful object or objects and why?
Carrie: Whatever art materials I am currently working with become my favourite objects. I get lost in the colour of my work . At present I am making tiles to install at an art festival in Norway – and I am creating shades of colour by printing pattern on top of the tiles.

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Martha: How does colour make you feel?
Carrie: I love colour – to see bright colours everywhere, it makes me feel happy. I do not use colour to influence but more to represent or reflect my emotions.

Martha: Do you have a colour you could happily do without?
Carrie: No – I think you need the whole spectrum of the colour wheel, you need it all. Although I do hate orange, blue and yellow together – this dislike definitely comes from having to wear this combination for my school uniform at Brentford School for Girls in the early 80’s.

Martha: What does colour mean to you in your day-to-day life?
Carrie: I work with colour all day – its what I most look forward to. I have covered the whole of the outside of my house in bright ceramic tiles- I surround myself with colour. My kids do not necessarily share this passion for colour, my eldest has always said that her home will be completely white. (as is my sisters).

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Martha: You’ve started collaborating with Robert Osborne of Rebel Not Taken in the past year or so. Do you always agree when it comes to colour?
Carrie: We tend to work with mixed media and found objects – subverting them, so colour is not usually an issue. But I love Bob’s use of colour and will often seek his opinion on matter’s of colour in my larger ceramic work.

Martha: Do you think there are rules about colour? Or are rules made to be broken?
Carrie: ‘I am an artist – your rules do not apply’ is mosaic on the top of my house, so no I do not think there are rules about colour – I try to resist most rules.

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Martha: Tell me a Carrie colour story.
Carrie: I used to be a nightmare as a child, I would colour in the white patches of our two King Charles Spaniels with felt tip pens. Also I was always getting into trouble for putting food colouring into my mothers cooking. I remember her being furious because I dyed all the mashed potatoes blue and the pork chops green and no one wanted to eat them. Given the chance I would add bright colour to everything- I guess not much has changed.

Martha: If you could give people advice about using colour, what would it be?
Carrie: Use more of it. The world need colour – it makes people happy.

www.carriereichardt.com

 

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