We haven’t had an Artist Profile on LiLT Blog for quite a while now, so I am so excited to feature the work of Merci Perci as our first artist for 2015.
The woman behind the colourful and inspiring Merci Perci artworks is Claire Jackett, who after being made redundant from her job in the fashion industry over a year ago decided to take some time off to start creating art whilst in between jobs.
What began as a fascination with the patterns and costumes worn by tribes in different cultures from around the world, led Claire to create beautiful interpretation’s of tribal headpieces in a kaleidoscope of bright colours and bold, graphic patterns.
No two artworks are the same as they are all individually hand painted and constructed by Claire, who creates them using a mixture of painting, drawing and collage.
The Merci Perci brand, which is named after Claire’s bunny rabbit Percival, is a wonderful example of how a passionate career can begin from an otherwise unfortunate event, and this optimism is clearly evident in Claire’s artworks , which scream vibrant creativity & playfulness.
Check out more of Claire’s work on the Merci Perci website, and my interview with the lady herself below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you into creating Merci Perci?
I didn’t necessarily ever intend on Merci Perci to be my full time job… I have always been crafty and have made and painted things for fun as long as I can remember. I used to use the name Merci Perci for some freelance graphic design jobs that I would do on the side of working full-time in the fashion industry. After losing my job just before christmas a year ago, knowing that no one would be hiring till Jan, I took some time off and decided to focus on making again. My friend loved what I had created and without me knowing, She sent pics of my artwork to Julia Green from Greenhouse interiors. Julia loved what I had made and told my friend to tell me to contact her right away, the next day I met her and then the day after that I had my very first stockist which was the incredible Fenton & Fenton. It was just all meant to be.
How would you describe your work?
Colourful, Fun and Playful.
Can you give us some insight into your process?
I have a huge roll of water-colour paper that I start with, I usually free hand draw in pencil the shapes I will be using first, then get my paints out and start painting in the shapes I have created. Then I cut everything out and then stick and mount it all together. After that I sign and stamp all my works with my Merci Perci stamp.
What mediums do you like to use and why?
I use acrylics, water colours, gouache, pen, inks and sharpie pens on water-colour paper. I like all these different mediums because I like to have options. I don’t think I could ever just stick to the one medium. All the mediums I use have a specific purpose and different outcome/ effect to get the result I am after at the time.
Do you plan each artwork or do you work more intuitively?
Since this has now become a business, when people place orders for specific colours and shapes, i do need to have a bit of a plan. I love when I have the time to start something new without restrictions because its much more intuitive and I can just go for it.
What inspires your paintings and artworks?
First and foremost it would have to be my interest in textile design and pattern. I love the simplicity of tribal art, and how haphazard or imperfect it can sometimes be. I’m also often inspired by a colour and wonder what else I could work in with it.
What are some of your favourite online resources which you look to for inspiration?
I am completely obsessed with googling anything and everything. If I ever have a random thought (yesterday it was why do we have different blood types), I can usually find the answer I am looking for on google. I’m also addicted to good old Pinterest.
Tell us about some of the people who inspire you and why?
I adore Mara Hoffman, her use of colour and pattern is right up my alley, Miranda Skoczek, her colour combos and textures she creates in her works are heaven. I’m inspired by talented people all the time, its hard to narrow it down.
If you could create an artwork for anyone in the world, who would it be?
That’s a tough one. Maybe Baby Blue Ivy carter.
What would your dream project be?
Maybe a collaboration of some kind. I’d love to do something with Gorman, I think anything fashion based would be fun.
Your favourite place in the Mornington Peninsula?
I moved to Flinders 12 months ago and have completely fallen in love with the area. For this reason, I’m going to say my favourite places (always revolve around food) but it would have to be the very beautiful little Polperro winery in Red hill or Johnny Ripe bakery in Main Ridge.