Claudia Hammer [claudiahammer]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
Currently, I am an oil painter. Painting small Daily Paintings as well as commission portraits of people and dogs. I have been drawing for over 40 years and I consider this my strength. Was in advertising doing fashion illustration and mechanical drawings and became an art director in charge of design and photo shoots. I create fine art exclusively now with subject matter from portraits to still life.
What is your message?
Follow your heart, your intuition, what excites you. I don't like doing the same thing over and over. I move on and work on something that excites me, something that is going to be challenging. Never stop learning.
Your biography in four lines.
I'm a self taught artist. At 16 I started drawing and it fueled me through the next 35 years in advertising. Started painting and have not looked back. Live in Louisville Ky, grew up across the river in New Albany IN. Was an art director in Chicago for 10 years, now back in Louisville painting and teaching life drawing and oil painting.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Web site: claudiahammer.com
Daily Painting Blog: claudiahammer.blogspot.com
eBay store: stores.ebay.com/claudiahammer
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Ideas, for me, come from life. I get excited about the way light looks on forms, what shadows it makes. Interesting perspectives are exciting as well.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
Technology is important for photographing my art and uploading to my website and blog daily. Also as a way people can view my work and I can view theirs. Downloading information for art shows and museums. Technology is so important to our way of life.
What is art?
Art is expression. Art is allowing the viewer to see what you see, to see something in a different light. Art can make you think, can make you smile, can make you happy every time you look at it.
When do you get your best ideas?
When I'm not trying.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
When time passes and I still think it is good.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
I guess when I was sixteen and was sewing and designing my own clothes. I loved to sketch the fashions which led to retail advertising and fashion illustration. Oh, and the fact that I got fired from my first job in accounting. That was the wrong profession.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
I think it is because they are so involved and emotionally tied to their work. You have to listen to your inner voice and it tends to be so personal and then the ego is involved. That is how it all gets started.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
How should a work of art be evaluated?
I don't think it can be evaluated. It can only be viewed from one's own perspective. From each persons experiences and life paths. Depends on what the viewer values.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
Not necessarily. Some artist have been doing the same kind of thing for decades and it is successful for them. I think it is good to keep experimenting. Learning new techniques and media's. Keeps life interesting for me.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Stavrinos and Antonio, fashion illustrators in the 80's which influenced my fashion illustrations at that time.
Tamera deLempicka, the painter from the 30's. When I saw her work I wanted to paint.
Caravaggio, his method of painting (also how Lempicka starts her paintings) is how I first learned to paint. Gives a painting so much depth.
Kevin MacPhearson, Richard Schmid and Claudio Bravo are my contemporary favorites.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
Art is the soul of our culture. Without it life would be joyless for all. Public funding is necessary to keep art in our culture because not enough individuals, companies and corporations buy enough art to sustain artist existence. It is that existence of artist that keep our culture's soul alive.
Is art necessary?
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Yes, but the knowledge that I can create more allows me to let it go. Plus the fact that I know it is going to a place where it will be loved and seen by many.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
We learn and admire many artist that have been in the past. There are also many represented that are still alive.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
They have not played a large roll in my life. I had a representative for my commercial work at one time and she was great, other than that I've not had much experience with galleries. I have been able to sell without them.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
Teaching life drawing
Teaching Oil painting
chief cook and bottle washer
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Follow your heart, your intuition, your love of what makes you sing. Find yourself, be yourself.
Louisville, KY, United States