The Arts Interview: Lynda Christian

Killaloe-based artist who cocks-a-snook at the ageing process to master a triathlon this summer

John Rainsford

Reporter:

John Rainsford

The Arts Interview: Lynda Christian

Lynda Christian who cocks-a-snook at the ageing process to master a triathlon this summer

Born in Bray, Co Wicklow, I was educated in St Andrews National School and Glengara Park School, Dun Laoghaire.

A dyslexic, I studied art for a time at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), in Dublin, before starting work in the computer sector and later auctioneering. My mother died from cancer and my father five years later from dementia. Both were related to alcohol. Then, in December 2003, I suffered a head injury, which I mistakenly tried to work through, but in June 2012 I succumbed to exhaustion. Since then, I have been revitalizing myself, reinventing and rediscovering the real me. Indeed, this year, I will turn 60 and was wondering what to do to mark this milestone when a triathlon was mentioned to me. This isn’t so much a New Year resolution; it is more about poking fun at the ageing process. I am old enough to know better, but not always willing to do so, being still a little crazy.

My recovery from concussion was very prolonged and difficult.

For example, moving from the settee to the kitchen, to make tea, was like climbing a mountain in lead boots, whilst wearing concrete clothing. Slowly, I began to walk a little, then a little more, until I got back to a slow trot. The cramping that used to affect my limbs has ceased although my diaphragm still likes to knot-up, now and again. I have always had a fondness for running, scrambling about on hills, and occasionally swimming, if the weather is really warm. I did my first mini-marathon for about 30 years on New Year’s Day. Just being able to keep going for the entire ten kilometers was a wonderful feeling. My children even bought me a gym membership for Christmas so I could train under expert supervision. Now, I need sponsorship in the form of a racing bike, (anyone out there who can help please see my contact details below).

Life is a school of hard knocks so Art can be vital to maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing.

Although being quite shy, and possibly somewhat introverted, art has allowed me to meet some wonderfully supportive people. My work tends to be organic, starting with a concept that sprouting like a seed into a form which grows and develops. These ideas come mostly during the night so I invariably wake-up with a thought that needs to written or sketched down. Such ideas tend to either, keep me awake all night, or simply melt away by morning. Ultimately, it comes from a need to create. I feel out of balance unless I am creating something. I try to enjoy just being alive and to roll with the ups and downs. Fingers crossed it will all work out in the end.

Currently, my artistic focus is based upon recycling (or rather ‘upcycling’) scrap metal pieces which I have been fortunate enough to exhibit in a variety of places.

Since 2012, I have started to use recycled objects, such as tin cans, as ‘Rose’ style night holders, long vines and trees. I love nature, such as the magic and myths surrounding Hawthorn Trees. In fact, there was a pair of these trees growing close to my home when I was growing-up. Rags were often placed, then and now, at certain holy sites by those who believed that, when taken from someone who was ill, and hung from a tree, the problem or illness would disappear as the rag itself rotted away. This idea was used in my first tree designs and continues to be a theme in my work. Today, I exhibit in such wonderful places as the Kildare Gallery in the Carton House Hotel, Maynooth, and smaller venues like; Quay Arts, in Ballina, Co Tipperary, the Milk Market, in Limerick City, and at the Quay Gallery, in Westport.

For artists, inspiration is ever present, for example, a thought may be triggered by a scent, a sight, a sound, a word, music or just a noise, which becomes a wonder – what if I?

Everything you sense can become the basis of a doodle, a painting, or a 3D piece. Your senses are constantly feeding you information, reminding you of memories, creating new ones, and tickling cells in your brain. A spark explodes into a firework that shoots out further sparks. Some arch back into the original and burn out, others continue further expanding into a series of sparks that explode as more fireworks do the same, (sometimes, overwhelmingly so). It is important, therefore, that aspiring artists be prepared to step outside their comfort zone. An artistic career can be a bumpy road. Artists are driven by an absolute need to make and to create which can drive a person crazy. In addition, a steady income is not assured with financial support being limited, so it is hard for many artists to make a living. The in-between times involving commissions and exhibitions can be difficult and scary too.

College training in artistic practice can provide invaluable certification, which is a measuring device for drive, determination, discipline, and application, in following a task to the end.

In addition, networking is invaluable, together with finding out who you are. The process, also, involves sharing your learning experiences, exploring and debating new ideas, and developing your skills, possibly in previously unthought-of ways. Of course, art colleges also provide support systems filled with life-long friends. If you connect with a lecturer, who has a passion for their subject, you will be inspired to go even further. This fills you full of wonder and encourages the artist to push themselves to the limit. It really makes for a wonderful learning experience!

For more information about the artist Lynda Christian please see her website: lyndachristian.com or email: lyndachristianart@gmail.com