This January, The Pilgrm sees the arrival of new artwork from French painter Karen Thomas. We caught up with the artist to find out a bit more about her journey so far, favourite books, travel tips, and what drives her forward.
You'll be able to come and see her works on display in the lounge and cafe at The Pilgrm from mid-January.
Where did the road into painting begin?
I’ve always made things, but really started painting seriously after leaving college. I sold my first painting at an outdoor street festival in Sète, France in the late eighties and haven’t stopped since.
How would you describe your artistic style in 5 words?
Painterly, loosely dynamic, vivacious brushstrokes
Inspration comes in the form of...
A suggestion, a chance meeting, an overheard conversation, a photo, film or memory.
Do you have a favourite piece of artwork by another artist?
It's impossible to limit myself to one piece of work! I see as many shows as I can, read biographies and scour the internet to discover new work. I like to see things that make me want to go back to the studio to get my brushes out! Amongst my current favourites; Peter Doig, Karen Kliminik, Michael Borrémans,Gerard Garouste, Alex Katz, Todd Bienvenu, Genevieve Figgis, Jules de Bailancourt, Jansson Stegner, Oda Jaune...
What about your own work - any particular favourites?
It changes all the time and it’s generally the next thing I’m doing! My favourite piece at the moment is “Starlet”, a painting on sheet canvas 65x50cm, to be shown at the Pilgrm
Any tips for young creatives?
"Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency. Life is like a roller coaster ride, it is never going to be perfect. It is going to have perfect moments and rough spots, but it’s all worth it" - Patti Smith.
“You must work, always work,” - Rodin to Rilke.
What does craftsmanship mean to you?
A world built to last.
The Pilgrm in 5 words.
Simple, sumptuous, sustainable urban luxury
What does a day in the life of Karen Thomas look like?
A day in the studio might begin with some research or preparatory work, correspondance, document making, social media, buying supplies, a coffee in a street café or catching up with a painter friend, swimming or a yoga class followed by painting often late into the evening or maybe a film at my favourite Diagonal cinema.
Take us to your favourite place.
One of my happiest places is Sète, 'l’île singulier’, an authentic fishing town with a strong identity located between the Mediterranean and the Etang de Thau. Take in the panoramic view at the top of the Mont Saint Clair, visit the sailor’s cemetery and the Pointe courte. Try al ‘Tielle' at the covered market, have a drink along the quais and end a summer day with a concert at the Théâtre de la Mer - the backdrop is the sea itself.
What's on the reading list?
- Haruki Murakami, current reading ‘Killing Commendatore’
- Michel Houellebecq, ‘The map and the territory’
- Patti Smith, about to embark on ‘Year of the Monkey’
- Sophie Calle, ‘Prenez soin de vous’
Hopes and dreams for 2020?
An international artist residency!
You can come and see Karen's work at The Pilgrm from mid-January until early spring 2020, free of charge.