Clarissa Porter


Clarissa Porter
The Old Barn
rear of
Hidcote House
High Street
Gislingham, nr Eye
IP23 8JE
Suffolk Borders Trail
3rd - 4th June, 10th - 11th June, 17th - 18th June, 24th - 25th June
Acrylic, Collage, Fine Art Painting, Illustration, Mixed Media, Painting, Watercolour Painting
Previously professional illustrator (magazines and books), photographic stylist and food stylist. Now visiting specialist lecturer at London College of fashion.
Painting (and drawing) is like making bread. I am inspired by the abundance of opportunities all around me. Often I start with a gold background and draw a flower, which later I will draw over as the work progresses. I will be inspired by the light of a leaf in the park, by where I am at the time, and by people I meet and the texture of their personalities. If I am drawing I will use perhaps unexpected tools, feathers, teabags and so on. I like to paint and draw on found materials such as cardboard, and I like to incorporate found objects into the work, I've been using silk threads to symbolise boundaries for instance. When I am painting I paint whatever I am feeling and then rub areas back with a sponge or sandpaper, to extract and deconstruct the prissiness, and then I'll paint into it again searching for darkness and subtlety. I want to tell stories.

I admire Paula Rego, Goya, Maggi Hambling, John Berger, and of course Picasso. They all have strong lines, it's the calligraphy of the line that is important. You don't just draw a line, it's the meaning of every mark you make in the line that is important.
Clarissa Porter


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Created On: 08/02/17 11:04:13

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to discover a plethora of talented artists producing world class art, on my very own street. This discovery was part of the 22nd annual Brockley Open Studios, a three day event where artists living and working in the area, open their studios to the public.

Open Studios is not an initiative confined to Brockley, if you search it’s apparent that many neighbourhoods up and down the UK hold something similar during the year. It’s a fantastic way to have a nose around your neighbours’ houses, make some new friends and discover original, often non-commercial art in an unintimidating environment.
Just opposite we were warmly welcomed by the delightful Clarissa Porter and photographer husband David, with their collection of painting, drawing and curios. The perfect hosts, they had set out a table full of chilled water and wine, fresh cherries and some unusually large pork scratching crisps. As you can imagine, this stop soon became a firm favourite with the kids.

On the subject of food, Shopping in Lewisham Market 2014 was one of the first works to catch our eye. Awash with the remnants of Heinz baked beans labels, it was inspired by the comparisons between the rich experience of shopping in Lewisham fruit and veg market and a Parisian stroll. This tongue-in-cheek piece explored an idealised relationship between the market and a well-known local celebrity and food lover, who recently moved into the area from Chelsea.

Steering my youngest away from the curious yellow shoes (reflecting Clarissa’s love of high heels in her youth), we moved into the second room. Within minutes my youngest was making clippety-clop noises into my year, her way of telling me that she had spotted a horse in another interesting piece, Whisperer. A spiritual work, inspired by Clarissa’s love of horses, it serves as a reminder that if we can talk in whispers to these magical animals, we should always afford the same level of respect when talking to loved ones.

Before I’d had much time to appreciate the rest of the room, my 3 year old was insistent that we return to the first room. ‘Is there a picture that you really liked in there then?’ I asked. ‘No mummy, I want some more of those big crisps’. Ah ok. Time to go I thought, we’d certainly had our fill.

Images ©Clarissa Porter . Images of curios taken by Phillipa Ellis with the kind permission of Clarissa Porter.