Charlotte Esposito produces highly emotive mixed media artworks that reflect her personal interpretation of both the physical and non-physical worlds. Expressing both her own life journey and common major themes that affect all women, Charlotte uses her design based past to create a compelling narrative in her works. In addition to this she also makes material led abstract works that skim across the boundaries of both Art and Design.
To learn more about her work, as well as her upcoming Saturday Debut on 2 February, we asked her some questions:
Charlotte, what can we expect on Saturday?
Saturday is a ‘Meet the Artist’ event so primarily it is a chance for me to meet the people that enjoy my work!
I will be in the Debut gallery from 12-5pm showing a selection of paintings from my major collection ‘Being Female, Being Infertile’ alongside short excerpts from a book that I am writing about the same subject. The event is sponsored by Infertility Network UK who I have recently written an article for (due to be published end April 2013). They have been extremely supportive of both my work and aims as an artist.
I currently have a second material led strand of work which I like to call ‘Canvas Sculpture’ and I will be in the gallery window doing this live, so you can also expect to see me up to my elbows in sculptural paste, cutting in to my canvas with a scalpel blade, sewing open sections and painting various parts with interesting implements.
I have a second sponsor for the event, Artisan du Chocolate. They are very innovative and artistic chocolatiers and I am really pleased to have them on board and providing chocolate nibbles and drinks. I am planning an upcoming body of work based on love and human connection so with Valentines’ day on the horizon this is a well married collaboration. Like Infertility Network UK they are also supporting my ‘Being Female, Being Infertile’ collection.
Finally, as part of the day I will also be asking guests to volunteer their fingerprints for a future piece of Art based around the theme of ‘Identity’.
The themes of infertility and femininity are important themes in your work, do you mind sharing the message you want to get across?
In my personal life I suffered with women’s health issues for many years. I went through some fifteen years dealing with extremely difficult menstruation, pain and infertility which eventually led to tests, treatment, operations and diagnosis. I underwent many rounds of infertility treatments and tests, and following a series of operations to correct the effects of pelvic inflammatory disease I had both of my fallopian tubes removed and was subsequently told that I would never conceive naturally. Against all the odds and via assisted conception techniques I did in fact give birth in 2010 so my story is ultimately a positive one.
It was inevitable that these personal issues would eventually seep in to some of my work. Through my ‘Being Female, Being Infertile’ collection I have been able to express some of the deep emotions associated with treatments of this nature without having to verbalise them. I hope that the works will reach out to others experiencing the same difficulties and give them some comfort. Gender issues are not something in this body of work that I am particularly trying to highlight and what I mean by that is that the works were not specifically intended to be feminist in nature. I hope that the works will appeal as much to a male audience as they would to a female one. I believe it is equally as important for women to represent themselves and their real lives in Art as much as we would expect to see a representation of the real lives of men.
I have other work that is more neutral in terms of the subject matter; my evolving abstract ‘Canvas Sculpture’ collection is material led and allows me to approach the canvas in a completely different way. In the past I have also produced very large scale steam bent sculptures and I enjoy working with and manipulating materials so you can expect to see some of that from me in the not too distant future. I think that my work has a very obvious style but I do not like to limit myself to one form of communication.
What have been the highlights of your artistic career so far?
Leaving my full time teaching post to focus on my Art, joining Debut and the excitement of the first private view night back in September. Being invited to contribute my views for the Guardians online ‘Case for Culture’ and recently writing an article about my Art and infertility journey for Infertility Network UK.
How are you experiencing the Debut Contemporary scheme?
The scheme has really given me the support and inspiration that I wanted to take my career to a higher level. I have made some good friends who also happen to be extremely talented artists and I have been able to really pin down my plans to turn my art in to a viable business. The high level workshops and mentoring provided means that as an artist I feel appropriately guided in my practise within a ‘live’ professional setting. The links from the gallery have opened up avenues for my practise that would not otherwise exist and I have learnt skills that allow me to represent myself in the professional art world. I am excited to see how the year unfolds as my time with the gallery evolves and as my career as an artist expands and develops.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I see myself working from a large studio producing both canvasses and sculptures. I would like to have a solo show over the coming year and to build both my new and existing collections so that in five years’ time my work is shown widely both nationally and internationally. I also hope to find a publisher for the book that I am writing about my infertility journey.
I truly believe in following your passion and this is what I intend to do.
Finally, do you have an interesting fact for us?
Every human being spends about half an hour as a single cell.