Q&A with Visual Artist Candie Payne
Singer-songwriter turned visual artist, Candie Payne is just coming off of her first successful solo exhibition at RedHouse Originals Gallery in Harrogate. Her work has recently been featured alongside Keith Haring’s at RedHouse, and we caught up with her to talk art, Yorkshire, and the direction she’s going…
Tell us about your latest exhibition. What inspired you?
My exhibition is called ‘The Age Of Flower’ and it’s my first solo show. So it features some pieces that have been created over the years, as well as artwork and installations created just for the exhibition. My inspiration comes from everywhere, a lot of things just come directly from my imagination and develop naturally as I start to work on them but poetry, books, music, other artists all play a part. I’m always expressing something of myself or a story or theme even if it’s not obvious – sometimes it’s not obvious to even me until I look back in a piece when it’s finished. I like to have something to work towards or a theme. Having some loose structure or plan always motivates me. When my mum died it was a struggle to find my feet again, so putting the date in the diary for the exhibition opening really gave me something worthwhile to focus on. It felt like a huge achievement.
How is it working in Yorkshire? Why did you make it your base for home & work?
I’m very lucky to have been working with RedHouse Originals Gallery in Harrogate for a few years now, contributing to group exhibitions. It’s like a little family. I fell in love with Yorkshire from the first time I came here. I remember leaving after my first visit and feeling my heart sink, I didn’t want to go. I’ve made friends who are into art or artists themselves. It’s so beautiful here I can see why it’s always been an inspiring place for artists to come and it still is. It felt like a natural progression to live here when the opportunity arose.
“Freedom of creativity”
You’re known widely as a musician. Why the switch?
I never really stopped drawing throughout my time in music but obviously music was my profession, so that took precedence and drawing was something of a hobby to fit in around it. More and more I found myself wanting to stay home and sketch and paint and being frustrated that the cycle of touring, promoting and recording was getting in the way. My inspiration to create never went away it just shifted. I still love music and singing but it started to feel like a job. I never feel like that with drawing and painting.
What has been the biggest challenge transitioning from music to visual arts? What has been the most exciting?
The most exciting thing for me is the freedom of creativity and the independence that comes with that. I can’t do everything, but I can do anything within my limits and that’s an exciting prospect. Any challenges that come with that are only positive really. The support I’ve had from people who know me through music, particularly those at 6music, has been lovely. And completely unexpected. However when people know you as one thing and they enjoy what you’re doing, they don’t always want to accept you as something else as all of a sudden and that you’re not doing the thing they want you to anymore. That can be difficult. Even now after nearly 10 years and a fairly well established career as a visual artist, people still come up to me to say I should be doing music and I’ve wasted my talent. In one respect it’s very flattering, but in another it’s frustrating to try to get across that I’ve never taken that talent for granted or wasted it, but my idea of living a lifestyle that makes you unhappy is a waste of life. I’m very lucky I had a choice of creative outlets.
“There’s loads of lovely hidden places in Knaresborough”
Do you think you would ever return to creating music?
Not professionally, no. I’d never rule out making another record or collaborating on something if I was inspired to do so. Or if a unique opportunity came my way but it’s not something I intend to do.
Tell us some of your favourite places in Yorkshire! Where you like to eat, have a drink, shop….
There are some really nice places to eat and drink in Harrogate and I enjoy spending time in Knaresborough too. My favourite place for breakfast or brunch is probably Baltherzens or the Hoxton North. And I like The Little Ale House or North Bar for a drink. My favourite pub in Knaresborough is Blind Jacks. There’s loads of lovely hidden places in Knaresborough to go for nice lunch or coffee.
What is next for you? Do you have any exhibitions planned for 2020?
The plan is to build on what we’ve started with the exhibition. With ‘The Age Of A Flower’ I wanted to introduce people to my work and what is coming next. I’m venturing into design, particularly interior, and the possibilities of where I can go with it are limitless. But it’s very important to me that the integrity of the original artwork remains intact within each piece and is always translated into the ‘design’ in a way that isn’t lazy or reliant upon digital manipulation. So I want to make sure I build upon what we’ve started with this exhibition very thoughtfully. The original drawings and paintings will always remain the feature and be available so that the journey from pen and paper to interior piece is always visible. We’ve worked so hard to show that with this exhibition and I really think we’ve achieved it.