Clara Rubin Makes Painting Personal
12.08.20 Words by Hannah Valentine

Clara Rubin Makes Painting Personal

Inspired by her hometown, the Milanese artist celebrates the beauty of the everyday.
12.08.20 Words by Hannah Valentine

From her home in Milan, artist and illustrator Clara Rubin creates closeups of the buildings and interiors of her beloved city. Using bright gouache paint on paper, her paintings are refreshing portrayals of the everyday – kitchen corners, the bathroom shelf, a lazy moment scrolling on a phone – familiar, and yet full of individuality in their attention to detail. “I love studying real life settings and nature,” Clara tells Wrap. “There are so many details to take inspiration from. I think the most important thing is being imaginative and giving a personal interpretation of your subjects.”

With its beautiful architecture and rich history, Clara’s home city and her childhood memories and familial relationships are all at the heart of her paintings. “My parents always inspired me with their love for interiors,” she explains. “So far, I've focused on subjects that are close to me – Italian scenes, things from my background, the detailed fabrics and tiles that I associate with Milan.”

However, her hometown has not always been her muse. In 2012, she gained her degree from Camberwell College of Arts in London and stayed in the city for a further seven years. “Art-wise, Milan is not as inspiring a city as London,” Clara says. “Living in London was the most wonderful experience of my life. The culture is so vibrant, and my course was so forward-thinking. What I learned there greatly influenced my work.”

A single A4 painting can take Clarafour days to complete – it's time-consuming work. However, her frequent commissions from the likes of The New Yorker, Fare magazine and Marie Claire have taught her to work quickly. Juggling these two different aspects of her work life – commissioned illustrator and committed fine artist – is something she frequently thinks about and seems to enjoy. “Working with art directors is really exciting,” she says. “The fact that projects come from different clients with different emphases keeps the work interesting. At the same time, my priority is to be able to focus on my paintings.”

For a recent collaboration with German luggage company Rimowa, Clara created three artworks inspired by the brief ‘As Seen By…'. Maintaining her portrayal of the personal and familiar, Clara sought to present a narrative of the hotel experience that was universally accessible, yet uniquely hers. “The idea for the wardrobe painting came from looking at my mum’s bedroom,” she tells us. “She's into fashion and I thought her clothes and the furniture would be interesting for a hotel scene”.

Clara has kept busy during lockdown, working on commissions and prints, and dreaming of new ways to develop her art practice. “I would love to apply for the Correspondence Course in painting at Turps Art School in London,” she says. Forever finding fresh ways to portray the beauty around her, Clara is full of plans for the future.

Clara Rubin
“There are so many details to take inspiration from. I think the most important thing is being imaginative and giving a personal interpretation of your subjects.”