Why do we make art? I asked myself a long time ago if I could be a novelist. It’s a way of doing things in a different light of day and seeing my own creative side. Art is more than an abstract statement of thought — it allows me to express myself, to make a connection to people who might not have the same taste or way of thinking as I do.
I have the sense you’re inspired by life and that’s exciting to me.
It makes my life a bit different than it may have been. It also makes it a lot more interesting for me when I’m doing it. I’m doing an hour-long speech this week in Paris with a French artist called Olivier Pouget. He’s done a lot more than this, which is why we need more of him. And he will be speaking again next week. The more we draw, the more we want to draw. We have a bit of a compulsion to draw, don’t we? You feel the need.
Doing art is also a way of coping with your father’s death and your brother’s death.
Yes, and they’re both amazing guys. My father was a great father and he died in 1980, leaving me to face the world alone. I had lost my job, but I stayed in the house for a year and a half, and the first day I was told that my dad’s death was a stroke I was absolutely devastated and couldn’t believe I was going to keep this job in my life. So I just did a whole year of drawing. We had this great, beautiful place in our garden, the place where my mum had been when I moved to England. You can remember it from my mother’s pictures. It’s a lovely place.
I’ve always thought that you are an artist.
I never considered myself a writer, or an actor, or a singer — I didn’t have any of that stuff I suppose. It’s been a long career, and when you’re a writer you spend all your energy making things up. I was never really in the world of being an actress, and I never even considered myself an actor. I’ve always loved writing and I just never got into acting. But I knew I was good at drawing, and I thought I’d been drawing, just on the train and the train journeys to school. I had a very nice house in Southall, and I always loved drawing and writing. I think that’s why I can
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