In Episode 12 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the foremost painters working in the world right now, CELIA PAUL!!
And WOW was it incredible to record with Celia in her live-in studio – one of the most amazing places I have ever visited – which we discuss in great detail in the episode, as well as her extensive career.
Known for her intimate and expressive portraits of people and places close to her, as well as her statuesque and monumental self portraits, Celia is one of Britain's most celebrated artists who is currently the subject of an unmissable exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery in London (closes 20 December!).
Born in 1959 in India, Celia moved to the UK with her family when she was five, and it was at age 16 that she was recognised by the Slade School of Art’s then director, Lawrence Gowing, who insisted she enrol at The Slade earlier than most, because of her precocious talent for painting.
In this episode we discuss Celia's upbringing in India; what led her to become an artist; her experience living in London for the first time to study at The Slade; the act of portraiture; painting her family; and what it means to be a female artist today – who is often wrongly cast in the shadow of her male contemporaries.
“I am not a portrait painter. If I’m anything, I have always been an autobiographer and a chronicler of my life and family”. This was one of the MOST interesting conversations I have ever had in my life, and I really hope you enjoy it. Not only is it such an insight into one of the greatest artists working today, but also a FASCINATING way to hear how an artist lives their life.
If you want to see or read more, then do NOT miss her incredible exhibition at Victoria Miro:
If you want to find out more, read her unbelievably brilliant memoir, Self Portrait:
(with a fantastic review by the one and only Zadie Smith: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/11/21/muse-easel-celia-paul-lucian-freud/).
WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
My Sisters In Mourning (2015–16)
Family Group, 1981
Family Group, 1980
Further works – https://www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/548/
Thank you for listening!!
This episode is sponsored by the National Art Pass and the Affordable Art Fair!
To receive a free tote bag with your National Art Pass, enter the code GREAT at checkout!
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by @_ellieclifford
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield