Clara Jonas is a graphic designer and illustrator hailing from North Cornwall. A surfer who is passionate about the environment, her work is informed by the lifestyle she leads and her philosophies of creativity and authenticity.
Below she talks about her inspiration for the work created in our latest women’s Artist Series collaboration, touching on themes of ancient art, balance, and bringing a fluid poetry to the surfing subjects of her designs.
We seem to spend a lot of time trying to find that balance. At least that’s what I’m trying to do. Between work and play, fast and slow, making things happen then letting go again. And what I seem to find is that you can never quite stay there; sure you get the little moments that feel like everything is aligned, then the next you are in the pace of life again. My work practise seems to be an erratic dance between hyper productivity, stimulation and pace, and then the desert of burnout and zero motivation on the other side. I’m slowly but surely working on this. 2020 has forced us all to reconsider a lot of things. Collectively, individually and globally. To find the value in the small moments in front of us, as well as muse on a future that serves everyone.
The importance of where and with who we put our efforts has been something that’s found its way into my thoughts often over the last few weeks, in terms of work, life, play and the blur in between. I am guilty of moving too fast to see the all-important details and getting swept up in future thoughts and concerns, and forgetting the reasons I made a lot of the choices I did in terms of the work I’ve ended up doing. Working with people and brands I like and really resonate with is something that brings me joy and I want to continue to hone. I believe creativity and authenticity are valuable tools in reshaping our society and relationship with the planet and each other. In recent times, due to the pandemic, I have found myself at the family home again in North Cornwall, which of course like everything has had its pros and cons. But as always the conversation I find with my Mum and siblings leaves me feeling inspired and motivated. We were brought up with an emphasis on encouraging curiosity, getting outside, open mindedness and fostering a healthy disrespect for the status quo. These are things I hope make their ways into my illustrations and graphic work in some shape or form.
The inspiration for the Finisterre collaboration was the surfer ladies style that I have created before, and also the elegance and delicacy of Japanese style woodcuts and art. Simplicity, femininity and line work were the elements brought together to express this. It was a pleasure to work with Finisterre on these pieces. Working with a brilliant company and drawing some surf ladies and waves is always a good time.
The work I do, is of course a product of where I put my attention and the inspiration I find there - be that the sea and the outdoors or the more esoteric and ephemeral - I find constant inspiration in the stories and art work of ancient cultures and civilisations’ and try to respectfully express this. I think the bridging of old and new is something really exciting and meaningful to me. Recently the pace of my work has been fast, which of course has its moments, but I am really hoping to develop more personal work, and breathe a lot more space in for a bit more organic experimentation or just creating for the sake of creating. I find setting my own pace of work incredibly motivating but also a bit overwhelming, and try to remind myself often, not being ‘on’ all the time is really important. Cultivating the space for a bit of boredom and slowness is where the good stuff begins…