Anna McNay

Interview with Clae Eastgate


Interview with Clae Eastgate 

Clae Eastgate (b1968, Nottinghamshire, UK) is a largely self-taught portrait painter. For 16 years, she worked primarily as a commission artist, but her current project, Painting the Poets, sees her building a collection of portraits of female poets – a “legacy project”, she says, at “an unprecedented time in history, in terms of the growing cohort of female poets”. For Eastgate, painting a portrait is not just about achieving a physical likeness. For a portrait to be successful, it requires a balance of several elements – a sometimes elusive proposition – allowing the telling of a story through the visual representation of what is being communicated emotionally, or through the use of allegorical self-symbolism. Accordingly, each painting she makes will have its own style, echoing something of the sitter, as well as Eastgate’s own development as an artist. A perfectionist to the core, Eastgate, through this project, is learning a lot about the challenges and rewards of the art world, and hopes to present the portraits, not just as works in themselves, but accompanied by poetry recitals, and perhaps even live painting events, creating a much wider platform for women to express themselves artistically – and be heard. 

I spoke to Eastgate at her home in Shropshire.

Read the full interview here