Our sixty second interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist Kim Clayton from Cambridgeshire, England. You may know her work from Instagram, where she’s known as @berleyart. This is an interview that is smart, sophisticated, deeply honest and with a wide breadth of deeply visceral art. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør, Paul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning and myself, go here.
All images ©Kim Clayton
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I don’t remember having any great ambitions, when I was a teenager I learned to sew and knit, along with my art I quite fancied being a textile designer but I sadly wasn’t academic enough to get a place at textile college. I used to make a lot of my own clothes and I even knitted for a living after my eldest son was born but not much money was to be made with that.
I won a prize at Secondary School for the highest mark in my year in a Fashion and Fabrics exam (that was a subject when I was at school) the prize was a book token I chose some maths teaching books which impressed my teachers but they didn’t help me that much!!
My last year of school I had a Saturday job on the record counter in a High Street store which I loved. When I left school i joined a plant hire firm as an office junior and have worked in offices ever since.
Private or State school?
State school was the norm where I grew up in Scotland and I can honestly say I absolutely loved my school days even although I wasn’t a grade A student but I did work very hard at trying to be.
University or Work?
I left school at 18, my Dad died a few months later and as I wasn’t exactly an academic, work was naturally the next step.
Who was or still is your mentor?
Early days my mum and dad were, they were both creative and my dad was very artistic I’ve never lost my love or interest in art although my zest for it died when my dad died, I have always dabbled with arts and crafts throughout the years cross stitch, salt dough modelling, paper quilling to name a few, I’ve even sold a few pieces along the way, but never stuck with anything with any great conviction. When I stumbled across mobile art a couple of years ago I became inspired again. I wasn’t very tech minded I’m still not very tech minded but always willing to learn and give things a go. So I started researching on the internet about the apps etc available and was amazed at how many there were, even some at no cost whatsoever, I desperately wanted to give it a go so here I am! Still learning and I have a very long way to go yet ! There is so much creativity and inspiration out there and so many super talented people, artists and photographers who have inspired me, to learn and get creative again, now there are 40 years worth of ideas in my head bursting to get out.
How physically fit are you?
I can walk but not run ! Not as fit as I should be but never been a gym going kind of person.
Ambition or talent: what matters more to success?
Ambition in my experience, having burning ambition is a driving force to succeed and I so wish I had, had a ton of it 40 years ago. Having talent without ambition leaves you talented waiting for lucky breaks, whereas having ambition is the push to promote your talent. Also success is measured in so many ways and we all have our own measure of success.
How politically committed are you?
Not at all committed and not realistically interested just as politicians aren’t remotely interested in me and mine.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently posses?
An iPencil ha ! ha ! not that I can’t afford it I just work very hard at making my fingers finer, I am not really a possessor I like to touch, see, smell, and experience but not to gather or posses.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Holidays, the theatre any bucket list type things! Since my mum died 6 years ago i realised just how little time we have on this planet, after my dad died my mum systematically ticked her bucket list and travelled all over the world so shortly after she died my out look on life changed dramatically and I started ticking.
In what place are you happiest?
At home in my own head, I love my own company.
What ambitions do you still have?
To keep ticking my bucket list, to still like an image after I have posted it and to have something I created in the Tate Modern 😉
What drives you on?
My new found zest to create and learn along with the visions and voices in my head.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My two grown up handsome, talented, wonderful sons.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Lots of things but I try to be tolerant as we all have our place and uses.
If your 20 year old self could see you now what would she think?
Not sure but she would be gobsmacked that I had 2 children that was something I felt strongly about , no children, but so glad I did.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
My Portfolio, I didn’t exactly lose it, at my fathers funeral I put it on his coffin and he was cremated! I have often wondered over the years if I hadn’t done that maybe I would have picked up and carried on where I left off at some point with my art as I haven’t drawn or painted since.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Politicians, greed and the demise of the planet.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Shortly after my father died I did, my mum started attending a spiritualist church and I tagged along we used to chat about it and we both had experiences but maybe those were just the mind holding on and not letting go those loved and lost, I don’t know but since my mum died no definitely not
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far out of 10 what would you score ?
My 20 year old self would have scored her life about a 2 or 3 but as I have aged, after all my struggles and experiences that life has thrown at me and having survived thus far my life is good better than my 20 year old self would have imagined it would turn out, I am in a really good place right now so I would say at the moment a 9 but will strive to do better and get to a 10.
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