SCV: Were you always certain you wanted to make a career of painting instead of simply keeping a hobby, despite the implied financial hardships?
A.C: People sometimes ask me, ‘What would you do if you weren’t an artist’ and I think…an art advisor? It’s just such an obsession.’ The day to day reality and struggle has been a big consideration. I unfortunately am not a trust fund baby, so I haven’t had that to fall back on. One of the challenges that I’ve had is that I’ve noticed how important it is to have a really centrally located studio, so my collectors will come over and drop by to see the work. So my studio is in midtown right by Carnegie Hall and that is no problem for somebody to come over. But my rent…is a problem. So I’ve had to get incredibly good at managing my money.
SCV: Was it something you just figured out as you went along?
A.C: Yeah. I got really interested in finance and learning how to invest in the markets. When you sell a painting, it’s rare that you sell a painting every month. But sometimes a new collector will discover your work and then buy multiple pieces at once. So it’s like…you make no money, you make no money, you make no money, you make twelve thousand dollars. So what I started doing was getting really good at, when I had that chunk of change, putting it away in mutual funds and different investments and savings. And then when I hadn’t sold a painting the next month, I would have something to go back on. I think that figuring out a system as an artist, that works for you, really helps.
SCV: Well, no one really prepares you for this kind of living do they?
A.C: Art school doesn’t teach you anything about actually being an artist. They don’t teach you anything about making a painting. They just teach you how to talk about paintings. And they don’t teach you about having to survive as an artist, none of the practical things.
SCV: Did you have friends who attended your art school or other artists that you met along the way who helped you in figuring things out?
A.C: I was actually so lucky to have met an amazing selection of artists. Sometimes it happens that you just fall into a circle of friends that is pretty like-minded and, since I’m a hard worker and make labor intensive paintings, I sort of attracted a similar group. My peers are great. Some of them are setting the bar really high right now. It kind of gives you something to push up to.
SCV: How did you pave your way to Manhattan?
A.C: I moved around a lot. Before I graduated, I went and lived in Barcelona for six months. Then I moved here. Then I moved to London for a year and half, and then back here. During that time I’ve had friends who moved to California who I visit; and when I was living in London, I had friends who would invite us over to Paris to meet more artists. So I actually got a chance to discover all these emerging art scenes in other major cities.
SCV: It sounds like you consume the modern art world constantly.
(She nods eagerly, a brilliant roll of giggles extending through her blonde mane).
A.C: The only thing that I really love nearly as much as art is dancing.
SCV: I notice you have an entire collection of dance-based paintings.
A.C: Yes, dance comes into my work a lot. I’ve integrated dance in my paintings, because I feel there is a strong correlation between the way that art captivates you by beauty and transports you to this other imaginary realm and also suggests a narrative. And I think dance, particularly ballet, does that as well. I like the way that when you paint a dancer in motion, you give the viewer a sense of this constant movement in a still image.