Q&A with Charlotte Duffy

1) Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Charlotte Duffy and I make sculpture from recycled cardboard.

What is your main inspiration?

Blimey there are so many it’s tricky to pin down a main one. Other artists such as Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp and Grayson Perry have been a great inspiration. But it’s usually really very mundane things that inspire me on a daily basis, everyday objects, modern architecture and abandoned objects.

3) Where do you work from?

I work from a little studio in an attic in the village of Auchtermuchty.

What do you do to relax?

I’m never very relaxed unless I’m making something. So when I need to put the cardboard to the side for a while I like to make music or take photographs. But there’s also nothing quite like putting some records on and having a wee beer after a long day in the studio.

Tell us something surprising about your studio space/education/life           

Well I share my studio with a tortoise called Icarus who was given to me by my parents on the 18th birthday. Also I have a cardboard box tattooed on my arm.

Where did you study?

I studied Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. Which wasn’t always my cup of tea. But I spent a great deal of time studying the philosophy of art and aesthetics which was really important to my practice today as it made me really consider where the value of art should lie.

What’s the best advice you can give to other makers or have received?

I think authenticity and honesty is really important. I like to think that everything I make has a great deal of myself in it and that’s all that matters. I don’t particularly care what happens to that piece after that – it being placed in a gallery won’t make it a better piece than if it’s in a shop window. Quite early on I was advised to really work out what part of the process was the most important to me and it wasn’t how it was sold or who it was sold to, but the making of it. And that is the only way I have managed to make cardboard my full time job.

Where do you see your creative practice going?

My work’s been getting bigger and bigger over the last few months so I would really like to create an entirely cardboard environment to scale one day soon.

Who would you like to have over for dinner?

Tracey Emin, Tolstoy and the cast of The Good Life. 

What is the best thing about being an independent maker?

How much hard work it is. I have had a variety of different jobs and none of them have had me collapsing into bed at the end of the day like this do.

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