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Claire Prouvost on Alchemy, the creative process and collaborative art

Words: Eva O’Beirne

On October 21 at the Complex, Smithfield, Guinness Cork Jazz will present Alchemy, a one-off event featuring the improvised beauty of jazz. Alchemy will mix together multiple art forms to celebrate jazz in all its strands, from the super accessible to the beautifully niche.

Kicking off at 19:00, two teams of visual artists will be competing in an interactive art battle on two huge blank canvases that will reflect the fluid and expressive nature of jazz. District spoke to visual artist Claire Prouvost about her expectations for Alchemy, her previous collaborations with Guinness and how jazz influences her creative process. 

Claire’s style is quite abstract and bold, focusing on the representation of bodies. She has previously collaborated with Guinness before, more specifically with Aches for the Guinness Storehouse in the midst of the pandemic. 

“It was a place in time where there wasn’t that much happening,” says Claire. “It was amazing to be able to bring art back to real life, not just in the digital space. It was such a nice yet odd feeling to paint about life in the Liberties pre-covid, but I’m glad for the explosion of street art that has happened since the pandemic.”

Claire will be taking part in the “art battle” between two collaborative teams of artists. When asked what was her initial reaction to the task, she was quick to point out that jazz music already influences elements of her murals. “Music is a huge part of my creative process and getting lost in music is sometimes vital. Performing with music, improvising and seeing how the music evolves will be interesting,” she explains. 

“The idea of having a free medium and something that you have to react to on the night,  being responsive to the music, to other artists and to an audience is just such an exciting kind of project.”

Claire Prouvost

She notes that she is especially excited about this year’s Guinness Cork Jazz festival as she plans to see GOGO Penguin as well as other jazz bands she listens to while creating art.

Claire defines ‘alchemy’ as a “state of mind where you take all the things that are in your environment and use them to create a specific product”. She explains further: “Whether you’re inspired by music, art, a nice environment, the colour palette you’re using…it doesn’t matter what craft it is that you’re doing, you kind of need a certain amount of ingredients to be mixed together. For me, that’s the representation of alchemy. It’s a good recipe for creativity.”

“Whether you’re inspired by music, art, a nice environment, the colour palette you’re using…it doesn’t matter what craft it is that you’re doing, you kind of need a certain amount of ingredients to be mixed together. For me, that’s the representation of alchemy. It’s a good recipe for creativity.”

Claire Prouvost

Claire will be joined by Holly Pereira, Kin MX, James Kirwan, Shane O’Driscoll and Ashwin Chako for Alchemy on October 21 in the Complex, Smithfield for a collaborative night of art and music. The artists will be challenged to react to the atmosphere and create art to bring the energy of Cork Jazz Festival all the way up to Dublin.

Accompanying the artists will be Jazz-inspired DJ Jus Me to provide the bedrock of the audiobed throughout the event. Brass band Zaska will punch in at particular moments to riff with Jus Me and react to the pieces created by the artists, creating an interactive and collaborative experience from start to finish.

Please drink Guinness responsibly.

Visit drinkaware.ie for more information.  

Elsewhere on District: Khakikid releases new video series live from the Workman’s toilets

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