23rd May, 2016
This month we’re meeting Justine Nettleton
Where are you from/based now?
About your work
I am a painter, jewellery maker, printer. My paintings, collages and prints are inspired by landscape, light, weather and trees. I make jewellery using the colours and textures in my paintings and prints and take inspiration from the natural world.
Can you describe how and why your career as an artist began?
As a teenager I loved making things. I made my own clothes and loved trying out new techniques. I printed my own fabric, made odd sculptures out of twigs and mud, collected weird objects like dead moles. I went to collage initially to be a textile artist but found the Fine Art people to be cooler. I did a Fine Art Degree and specialised in the male nude which was an unexpected benefit of the course. After collage I worked as a primary school teacher and did some really creative projects with the kids. I thought teaching would give me time to do my own work and it did to a certain extent but coming up with new projects for the classroom used too much of my creative energy. I gave up teaching and now just do my own work.
How long have you been a member of PDA?
I’ve been a PDA member for about three years now.
What’s the greatest benefit of being a PDA member?
Members of the PDA are all professional artists. I have learned a lot from other members and have been really impressed by their approach to their work and how they take it out to the public. They have built up good reputations and are very generous with their knowledge and experience. The skills of the members are wide and the quality of the work is very high.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
My work is always developing. I believe if you are working on your art new inspiration and ideas will constantly flow. Picasso said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I’m always trying out new ideas and techniques. Sometimes they are disastrous but after sleeping on it I can use what I have learned to make something successful, sometimes it can take weeks, months years before I come back to an idea. I go on courses regularly to learn new techniques and this year I have enjoyed using silversmith techniques to produce a higher end range of jewellery. I never stick with just one discipline as I believe they all feed into each other. Plus, I like to have a range of areas I can work on. Therefore, if I fall out with my painting I can go and play with my jewellery for a while.
What’s your typical working environment?
My working environment is everywhere I go. I have a studio, a shed, a dining table, a utility room, a car! I like to make and create all day long and fit my environment around my creativity. In my studio I do messy painting, on my dining table I make bags from my own printed fabric and in my utility room and shed are pieces of jewellery at various stages of development. I also use a computer to create collages and my iPhone is essential for collecting inspiration. My husband has learned to be very understanding of my ‘creative clutter’.
As an artist, what challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
Time management is a big one for me. I run 3 businesses and have to make time for my family too. I have jewellery orders going out every week. Sometimes it becomes a production line and you wonder how it all happened. Making the same items over and over again can be the antithesis of being an artist. For me being an artist is like being an inventor. I want to create something totally new and I get a buzz from doing that every day. I have to manage my time to give me that essential creativity time. Time for just daydreaming and playing with materials, ideas and images.