Exercise Three - Round Two // Charlotte Keates

May 11 2020

Exercise One

Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?

What an epic question... I think probably swimming in the sea pools, every day the sun is shining. 


What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?

I guess that the architectural spaces I paint are not (usally) depictions of reality. The spaces are meant to be a considered mix  and balance of imagination, memory and observations. Like a familiar dream or internal landscape that resurfaces when you see them.


Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?

I think everyone’s work would change a little or a lot. I’d like to be able to say it would never change but I don’t think that’s realistic. Although I feel my work is true to me and feels intrinsically linked with my own thoughts and experiences, I think it’d be so hard to mentally separate the work from the viewer - knowing the viewer is only myself.. who is so intimately involved in it. There would certainly be something quite sad about making work that wouldn’t ever be seen by anyone but myself. Like keeping a lifetime journal, that then gets burned when you die...


Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?

I’m actually sat on the roof of our slightly unstable soon to be studio.. up the spiral staircase. We are in the process of designing it and working with what we have to create the best, most inspiring space we can. Obviously if I was a millionaire it’d be 100 times the size with massive double height ceiling, a mezzanine with unlimited amounts of stumptown coffee (imported specially from Portland) on tap, and self replenishing paint/art supplies.


What is your best time of the day or night to work and why? 

I’m most productive and inspired after midnight (I’m actually writing this at 12.20am) -  but more specifically I think I make my best work between 2am - 5am. This is when thoughts come alive and my brain is buzzing with ideas and excitement. I don’t have to think about food or speaking to anyone, it’s uninterrupted hours of being fully immersed - I think this is why I lose all track of time. I force myself to go to bed at 4.30am very regularly... I’ve tried to fight it and make work in more sociable hours but I just make less work that doesn’t have the same energy.


What is your studio staple snack?

I mean it isn’t a totally regular thing, but I have a pretty disgusting addiction to twirl bites... although like the rest of the world I’m baking (which I actually always loved to do) and I just made a coffee cake. Although it’s dipped in the middle, butter icing has seeped out everywhere, the walnuts have slipped down the edges and it’s about to topple over so not really anything to be proud of... tastes good though.


Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day

*warning this is horrific* the other day was pretty hideous / dark. I sat on the wall for a second to video the gentle movement of the buoys and next to me a very fluffed up confident pigeon head butted a much smaller pigeon, so that it toppled over the edge and fell in the sea and died... within seconds an enormous seagull swooped in and started pecking its eyes out. It was pretty traumatic. Usually my walks are very idyllic by the harbour or in Bluebell Woods, with little rabbits and robins coming out to say hello - and normally very chilled out.


If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?

I’m not sure I fully understand this question, as we all have our vices so I guess the least offensive one I have?!


 Exercise Two

What is your favourite podcast?

How I build this’ with Guy Raz. The older episodes though...Particularly the episode on Lonely Planet, it’s so wholesome and lovely and great to hear how they came up with the name ‘Lonely Planet’... it’s funny and heart warming.


What is the best gift you've ever given or been given, vs the worst?

Best gift - being given artwork by artists whose work I adore. I get to enjoy and feel inspired by daily in my home and surrounding myself with other inspiring artworks is the dream. 


I also got a coffee machine as a secret Santa gift from my Dad and that has been such a treat to make good coffee every day - especially seeing as I can’t go out for my usual pre-lockdown coffee outing.


Worst gift - not sure I should say this here so publicly as I would hate to offend...all I’ll say is ‘live laugh love’...


What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?

I realise this is a very ‘uncool’ answer but I think my favourite film is About Time. I’ll always love the romantic, nostalgic albeit incredibly cliché writing. And I also really love Bill Nighy. More recently I enjoyed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood which after reading Helter Skelter on the Manson Murders in reference to Dexter Dalwood’s Sharon Tate's House painting which is one of my favourite paintings - I thoroughly enjoyed the Tarantino take on it... 


Worst - anything too sci fi. I despise Lord of the Rings. Anything with army’s of people particularly on horseback, charging with weapons is my idea of hell and gives me sweaty palms. 


What's the most inspirational place you've been?

Possibly the Getty Centre. It has such a perfect combination of great artwork and beautiful use of space and architecture. It’s such a dreamlike place, with idyllic views of LA...


More recently I’d have to say the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Obviously a major tourist hot spot, but if you can blur that side of it out and focus on the wonderfully unusual and spectacular tropical plants,foliage and giant baobabs - it’s truly magical and like nothing else. 


Which era would you like to have experienced /experience again?

Maybe the 60s ... or the 20s.


What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?

These are all trivial - there are many many things I am missing but it's a bit sad to think about... so these are silly, fun things:


Missing : 

- spontaneously going out for brunch with ian on a random day before/after a sea swim 

- Chinese takeaway... or actually every form of take away. (Guernsey has not had any takeaway open since before lock down)

- Cinema ... going to the latest viewing possible usually airing at midnight - normally the only ones there. With all the popcorn.


Enjoying :

- swimming at the bathing pools 

- online yoga classes with my old teacher (and friend) from London who’s classes I missed a lot when leaving London and I can now do as they are on zoom 

- having time to reflect and plan our studio build 


What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?

I love both 11 PM and 2 AM. I am always aware how quickly the daytime goes for me, but I don't mind this.


What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?

How to propagate my overgrown Monsterra Deliciosa. The cut stem is sat in water and will be repotted so we shall see how that goes - it’s been pretty satisfying so far... next I need to learn how to keep outside plants alive. I’m great with indoors but appalling with outdoors!


Exercise Three

Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new. 


  • Draw the last dream that you remember

  • Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing

  • Draw the last text you received  


Check out Charlotte's Exercise Three pieces here!