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“Immortality. That’s why I paint. It scares the fuck out of me to think it was all for nothing.”- John Clare

John Clare is a British multi-media artist from South London, living and working in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Growing up in the harsh reality of South London had a profound effect on both his life and his work. Clare’s work is autobiographical and has been described as intended to be “A celebration of life rather than of death and destruction”.

Clare’s work confronts the viewer and invites them to engage in the discomfort of common human fears and emotions – death, depression, murder, addiction, love, immigration and youth. He is not interested in painting the perfect picture.

The use of taboo and ugly subject matter combined with this underlying intent, forces the viewer to deal with the artist’s (and our own) internal mental landscape. There’s an underlying message of change and a call to ownership of your own life.

His painting style can be described as erratic, violent, honest, energetic, abstract and contemporary with an instantly recognisable style he has developed over many years.

Clare attended Lewisham Southwark College in London and has been accepted to Goldsmiths University of London. In his own words, he declined the placement due to self-doubt of a young artist. Several decades later, John Clare has established himself in the contemporary art landscape and has been referred to as “modern-day Bacon”. To this he responds: “You can’t beat an education on the streets of south London for a lifetime full of art work and ideas.”. He cites Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, Michael Craig-Martin, Darren Macpherson, Sam Shendi, Van Gogh and Goya as his art heroes.

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