Charlie O’Sullivan has established herself as perhaps the most significant artist to emerge from the South West in recent years. Now a member of the South West Academy, she began her career as a freelance illustrator for the BBC and Channel 4.
However, it was the art therapy sessions that she ran for disadvantaged patients at Hackney Hospital as a young artist that inspi...red Charlie to begin creating the images she is now best known for. She was profoundly affected by the stories she heard there and the people she met, and they soon began finding their way into her work.
When she moved to Devon with her husband and family these experience and stories became the inspiration for her paintings, which would become her unique visual storytelling medium. Taking her inspiration from people, conversations, tastes, fleeting thoughts and touches, Charlie's work has narrative, abstract and landscape elements which all overlap in her individual style.
She takes the viewer on an intensely personal journey through her magical landscape. These paintings are colourful documentation of memories, anecdotes, patterns and rhythms, assembled as if a page of a scrapbook. There is a strong sense of layering ideas over one another, a feeling that these finished works are the culmination of a multifaceted process and a undulating stream of consciousness.
In fact Charlie believes that “painting should be a series of conscious and unconscious decisions”; for her it "is a very solitary activity and my paintings become a conversation with myself. So it’s no surprise to me that an odd figure, an upside down house, a strange dog or teapot appears in my work......it’s only a reflection of my thoughts and memories.”
The paintings appear to give a little nod to the abstract paintings of Paul Klee and are just as influenced by British Modernist design as they are by street art or even children’s book illustration.