insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 68 Nov 2017 - Page 38

ARTS+ENTERTAINMENT KENT ARTIST PROFILE: RACHEL ARIF cont. originally from Rochdale, Lancashire where I lived until my late 20s. I have since lived in Leeds, Highgate and Belsize Park North London then moved south of the river to Clapham. Needing more space we eventually decided on Chislehurst. I am regularly surprised at how many people I talk to have never heard of it. Location-wise it couldn’t be better. It’s less than 25 minutes into central London, has a vibrant high street, elegant Victorian Royal Parade and lovely commons. You feel as though you’re still ‘connected’ to London without the headache. You also work in Suffolk. Is there a big difference between the two areas? Do they inform your art differently? We have a property in Saxmundham which we go to most weekends. I get to explore the beautiful rural villages close by and experience the coastline while gaining inspiration for my painting. The landscape is very different to Kent. The villages near to where our house is are like time stood still. You literally feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, all golden fields, farmers markets, village fairs and galleries. I find it refreshing. It clears my head and there is beauty round every corner. Constable himself was born in Suffolk and painted his most celebrated works, the most famous being “The Hay Wain”, which depicts a horse and cart crossing the River Stour. You’ve said that you find the weather a powerful force when it comes to creativity. What kind of weather do you prefer? What makes the most dramatic kind of art? Yes, I love extreme weather. I love baked grass and windswept beaches. I love the movement, texture and colours that an ever- changing landscape creates. Crashing waves, scarlet clouds and grey dismal rainy days. I think my most favourite works are of bleak days in winter spent along the beach. What does the rest of 2017 (and beyond) hold in store for you? My daughter wants me to have a stall at the Christmas fair at her school Babington House, so that's a possibility. I have a couple of meetings in Suffolk mid-November at galleries to discuss representation. I’m entering South East Open Studios next June so have to plan for that. I have a further two editorials to prepare for and am entering Ashhurst Artist Prize competition. I am also in talks with a couple of galleries in London regarding exhibitions. 38