Talk by War Artist Charlie Calder-Potts

After listening to a talk by Guild member Charlie Calder-Potts on Monday 21st November, I’m now utterly inspired and have been thinking about the possibility of being a War Artist sponsored by the Army.

I'm sure you can imagine my mother's reaction to the thought of me going to Afghanistan, but hearing Charlie talk about the Middle East and western Asia and seeing the captivating pieces that she creates, I can’t help but want to travel there right away to explore the beautiful yet war-torn countries, which were such a source of inspiration to her.

It was very eye opening to see such artwork, inspired by the events and people in these countries, and how her personal experiences of them differ from the stories in the media. I was fascinated by everything from the graffiti that she photographed around Sulamani and later incorporated into her artwork, to a photo that she took, by accident while walking along, of a young girl no older than seven playing with a real, working hand gun, a photo that she then incorporated into one of her paintings.

It was so inspiring to hear her story and reassuring to hear that the year after university, which was potentially the worst year of her life, was probably the most important towards her artistic career. Her experiences were relatable in that she didn’t just tell us of her successes but also the reality of getting there, which she said can prove difficult and sometimes made her feel like she was going nowhere. Several things she said have stuck in my head since, including that with artwork things do not always work out as intended, so the flexibility that she developed as an artist is one of the most important traits for her career.

As I was previously nervous of pursuing a career as a fine artist, I felt was the most important statement she made, which inspired me no end, was her advice: “To feel like an artist, be one.”

Paris Phillips (SFC1)