Maxine Carrick is currently in her first year of studying a joint honours degree in Fine Art and History of Art, having completed the Foundation in Fine Art course at Goldsmiths the previous year. Maxine considers both of her parents to be artistic “in their own ways”, something that she feels has influenced her since childhood. Her artistic development really began at the age of fifteen, when she began focusing on portraiture, a discipline she pursued for a number of years. The process of creating an exact replica of another’s face is one Maxine found very therapeutic. Before embarking on her degree Maxine was largely self-taught, although she recognises the support and influence of her parents and her art teachers at school. She fondly remembers picking up her then six-year-old sister from an art class and learning how to draw eyes, one of her few memories of ‘formal’ artistic training.
For Maxine, the most exciting part of studying in London has been the opportunity to see a vast and varied range of exhibitions, particularly those featuring the work of students from the various art schools. Moving to a new country, alone, has been a mixed experience, one that has triggered some “weird mental phases” which have in turn triggered unfamiliar but fresh ideas for artwork, something Maxine appreciates. Studying at Goldsmiths also presented unfamiliar territory, introducing Maxine to the practise of creating concept-heavy artwork. This change of direction led Maxine down a completely different creative path to one she envisaged. She considers it an “eternal struggle” for students to maintain their own artistic identity, while simultaneously finding their place within the “confusing Goldsmiths mould”. She considers her degree to be more of a support than an influence on her practice, as artwork will always belong to the artist. This kind of independence is, however, hard to maintain. The biggest change in Maxine’s thinking since undertaking studies at Goldsmiths has been the fact that she now asks herself many more questions when creating a piece of work, and more carefully considers the potential for work to be problematic. In terms of favoured media, Maxine has, in the past, gravitated toward traditional methods such as drawing and clay sculpture, but is now making an effort to be more experimental in her choice of materials. While making her most recent work, she used the materials that were easily available to her (chicken wire, plaster strips and latex) and forced them to behave in the way she wanted.
There are many artists that Maxine admires, but as to whether they influence her artwork, she remains unsure. Generally, Maxine feels like she makes whatever she feels inclined too, but suspects that other artists have influenced her, at least subconsciously. She admires Bobby Baker’s carefree attitude, and considers the work she produces to be comical but uncomfortable at the same time. A recent artist talk at Goldsmiths by Jack Strange was also inspiring, due to his confidence in the unpredictable nature of his finished work. In general, Maxine respects artists who answer only to themselves: “Artists that have their own sense of self, that don’t mind what is going on around them too much, really impress me and make me want to do art that I will love, not what everyone else will love, but obviously it would be great if other people loved it, too.” Maxine believes that a career as an artist would be an enjoyable one, and hopes to always have her artwork with her, either as a primary focus or on the side. With a firm belief in the capacity of art to help people, she is also drawn to the idea of studying art therapy after finishing her degree and considers the prospect of a career in that area incredibly exciting.
(All images featured in this article are the intellectual property of Maxine Carrick)