Since childhood Carmen Cilliers has been seeking to re-arrange the world around her according to personal whimsy:
Re-painting the expressions on dolls faces, making kites that looked like stained glass windows, designing furniture from bricks
on building sites and spending whole school holidays on art projects, including the creation of a gigantic papier- mache dragon
which was later stolen from school.
Although passionate about art, making a living from it seemed a distant reality so Cilliers went on to study and obtain her
Advanced Diploma in Design and Fashion in Cape Town, subsequently working in the industry for a number of years as a fashion
designer before travelling and then finally emigrating to Australia in 2000.
Carmen ditched the corporate world at the end of 2006 to don the tools more suited to her creative spirit. Her work has seen a
continual evolvement in this short span of time.
Carmen’s work reflects a gamut of emotions and the human themes of love, friendship and self reflection with a purposeful use of
colour, recurring symbols and forceful line frequently being the key to her responses.
Kaliopy: How did art unfold in your life?
Carmen: Colour, invention, creativity and handicraft are rife in South Africa and my formative years were filled with inspirational
images. As long as I can remember I had textas, colouring in books and reams of paper; if I wasn’t playing with those I was making
jewellery and ornaments from Fimo clay or outside was trying to build furniture from building bricks or any other material I could
get my hands on. I thought being a lamp designer would be a good career choice when I was about 9 and filled a book with all
sorts of lamp designs. Later my dream was to go on and study Fine Art at university but instead I went on to study Fashion
Design for 3 years as at that time making a living purely out of being an artist seemed a distant reality. After a long break I finally
gave up my full time job in the corporate work to study Transpersonal Art Therapy but in the process the artist in me leapt to the
fore and now I am an artist! (That’s the long story to your short question!)
Kaliopy: What style of art does your work head towards?
Carmen: I would describe my work as contemporary. I tend to be very handed on line and shape which people often comment on
as looking like I have a strong Fauvism or Cubism style. Personally I feel my work is illustrative too because most of my paintings
look like they could be a snapshot of story or a moment in time, I enjoy this because the viewer is then given carte blanche to use
their imagination to interpret the image; So, I’m not a pure abstract artist, my work is abstracted. I enjoy painting figurative work
and 90 percent of the time there will be some sort of human or animal symbol in the painting.
Kaliopy: what are your influences or inspirations?
Carmen: I take my inspiration and references from real life experiences, personal emotions and often from the theatrical and
Kaliopy: Are you involved with any art associations or art groups?
Carmen: feel art classes or art groups are important and are part of the recipe for consistent evolvement. Being amongst like
minded people, one is exposed to discussions, new techniques and products. Being in a group means you get to bounce around
creative discussions and receive honest, albeit subjective, opinion of your work. Receiving positive feedback from other
acclaimed artists is very motivating and makes me seek to constantly improve and raise my benchmark – keep everyone
wondering what I’ll do next.
The downside of being part of a class is that I have found that collective consciousness is often at play and the class, although
not deliberately, begin to use similar colours or paint in a similar style. At times the influence of the teacher can be very strong
and there is the risk of producing work that smacks of their style rather than ones’ own. It’s very important to find the right class,
teacher or mentor that facilitates the development of your own personal style.
Kaliopy: How did art come into your life and career?
Carmen: My background is in Fashion Design. I left that industry because I was disillusioned by the amount of copying, mass
production and cheap imports and the lack of creativity; this is the commercial side of being a designer that one doesn’t anticipate
in when they are doing their degree. For years after that I didn’t draw or make anything but the desire was always within me to
one day paint, and so one day – in 2006 I did a one day painting workshop. That afternoon I went and bought my own paints! 3
years on, it’s in my life, it is my life!
Kaliopy: What are your most favourable medium and materials you use?
Carmen: Most favourite – a combination of pastel and acrylics on canvas. Occasionally I will incorporate a mix of silica, fabric, or
found objects from nature and some collage, but generally I’m a pastel and acrylic on canvas artist.
Kaliopy: Where do you exhibit your works either here in Australia or Overseas?
Carmen: I have exhibited in a number of small galleries, selected art shows and in business’s and restaurant/café style venues.
Overseas I exhibit in a gallery in Florida. I love exhibiting work, it’s the opportunity for reward on hard work and I enjoy the
response my work receives, and of course making a sale is never boring either.
Kaliopy: Your works have such vibrancy, positive energy and are so colourful, is this influenced by the seaside living?
Carmen:The main influences would be foremost my stark responses to the reality that is this world we live in, and secondly, the
harsh light of the southern hemisphere, in particular South Africa and Australia, both which have the type of light that amplifies
colour, exaggerates shadow, distorts line, and simply creates a delightful symphony on the visual senses.
Kaliopy: Lastly, when your in the creative process, is there a theme you have drawn up in your mind prior?
Carmen: No, I don’t focus on a particular theme but it seems that in spite of this that the recurring themes of fun, love, friendship,
varying emotions and vivid colour plus capturing a memorable moment in time continually come to the surface.
Carmen Cilliers is Represented By:
Company: Interactive Arts
Website : www.interactivearts.com.au
Address : Aberdare Road
Shenton Park, Australia, 6008
Telephone: (08) 9380 6539
"Having your own Art Collection in your home or office can be a reality.
If you work in an office or live in a home of blank walls and wish to portray
your own personality or personal atmosphere, Interactive Arts is here to help".
|Artist Carmen Cilliers
Presented By Kaliopy