Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lydia C Crimp "Part of me"

Lydia C Crimp lives and works in London as a freelance artist and costumier. Her influences are cabaret, circus, fashion and literature from the early part of the 20th century. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about her huge collection of photographs dating from the late 1800's, inspiration from costumes and why she decided to start painting again.

Lydia C Crimp,

Why do themes like cabaret, fashion and literature inspire you most? 

I was brought up on a diet of a wide range of fiction (from Tolkien to Isherwood and back again) and a lot of folk music so I think it’s always been a part of me. I’ve always loved the decadence and faded glamour of old cabaret and circus and while I’ve often tried to pinpoint the one thing that makes this so attractive to me I’ve never really managed. As a very visual person I think it’s a mixture of everything, the vibrant colours, the textures, the shapes, the music and of course, costume.

You have a huge collection of old photographs dating from the late 1800's up until the 1950's. Do you like to use them in you artwork? 

All the time. They provide a great starting point- the characters in my paintings are mostly all imaginary. They tend to be a blend of people from my photograph collection, old film stars and a bit of myself normally ends up in there as well. Friends have sat for me in the past (and hopefully will do in the future!) although I find I often end up with a portrait that doesn’t resemble them in the slightest! I just take certain elements from a number of sources; for instance, it might be the way a shadow falls on a face or the shape of the shine on someone’s lips.    

When you are not painting you are a costumier. Is that also a form of art to you? 

Definitely. I spend a lot of time working on costumes for film, theatre and television, designing and illustrating, as well as sourcing the fabrics for a company called Academy Costumes. I do a lot of sewing in my spare time and have just started designing and making a range of hats inspired by the Mexican festival of the Day of the Dead. In my opinion anything that has been created by human hands has some sort of artistic quality to it.

Why did you start painting again? 

I’d just been swing dancing one Sunday afternoon and was in a rather lovely cocktail bar on Broadway market, East London drinking gin when all of a sudden, filled with inspiration I called over the manager and asked if I could have an art show. I sort of had to start painting again then…

If you could choose to work with another contemporary artist, who would you pick?

One project in particular that I really wish I had been involved in is Swoons ‘Swimming cities’. She designed and created these absolutely fantastic and completely eccentric boats out of all kinds of things (old stair cases, rotting doors…) inspired, as she describes it, by “dense urban cityscapes and thickly intertwined mangrove swamps”. She and her team of performers/artists then sailed them around the Adriatic Sea. It’s a bit similar to my own plans to build a galleon that incorporates a theatre. I really love the idea of having a theatre production with an ever-changing cast and show as people join and leave my boat at different ports. What fun!

Lydia C Crimp,


  1. Thanks for you visit!
    Gracias por la visita, los sigo por aquí y Twitter!!!
    Un abrazo desde Quito!!!

  2. great potrets and interview!! this is a nice blog to see!



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