Christine Baxter comes from a family of artists and craftspeople. Her great, great, grandfather was a wrought iron gate maker, her grandfather was a woodcarver who trained at Kensington School of art; her mother studied fashion design, her father was a landscape designer and gardener. Making and drawing is in her bones.
Christine has always derived great pleasure from drawing – and she says “The first time I encountered clay I never looked back.” She completed her art foundation at Cambridge college of Technology under the inspiring tutorage of the sculptor Mike Gilespie, Epstein’s former assistant. She then studied at Camberwell in the early 1980’s when they still taught all the basic figurative skills. For a few years, Christine worked for the film and model-making industry, mostly making consumer products for Disney, Warner, Lucas Films and others, until she could afford to set up her own studio and pursue her own work.
Her work is predominantly figurative and representational – but the representation is the vehicle. What she is exploring and investigating is the emotional response of the viewer. This is her concept. Whilst making a piece she is consciously trying to understand the emotions that she is having to it, and hopes for a similar dialogue and emotional response from the viewer.
Once you have the physicality of the clay and the likeness of the model in hand then it becomes interesting. How we all read instinctively the angle of the mouth, the tension in the brow, the eyes … tiny manipulations can create different emotions in the viewer. Not only are you dealing with weight and gravity, the tension and poise, and the fluidity and solidity, but also the language of the body. The best figurative work has this ability to affect the viewer emotionally. It is successful if it gets you in the guts!