Interview and Intro by Alli Lindsey
Clara Kennedy is a Parisian analog photographer, tattoo designer, filmmaker, and sketch artist. A multi-disciplinary creator, Clara is fascinated by the fabric of adolescence. A well-traveled character defined by depth and sentiment, Clara Kennedy leads with her heart. Exploring themes of youth rebellion, sorrow, and oblivion, Clara’s portfolio arrives at the intersection of darkness and light. Her work is steeped in candidacy, allowing witnesses to connect with the spirit of a stranger. She succeeds, with style, at her mission to make solemnity feel natural, normal, even vogue. Just as honest as her art, Clara gives C-Heads an unposed look into the inner workings of her visceral spirit.
Your camera work captures emotionally candid moments that range from joy to heartache. How do you seek peace in times of heartache?
Well, I’d like to answer something like: “I go to the movies to clear my head and have drinks with my friends,” but I’m still looking for a magic solution for that… The real sorrows are the ones that empty us, take us into the abyss of sadness, so that life becomes a weight to bear, and the only solution is time. We have to wait for it to pass.
Why is it important for you to capture people’s emotions?
I am fascinated by periods of transition, such as emotions that last only a few moments, and I try to freeze this spontaneity that fades in no time.
I mix lightness and melancholy, joy and sorrow, and I enter into the depths of people’s intimacy to capture these moments. When I detect sadness on people I meet, I deeply feel it as if it was my own one.
“The real sorrows are the ones that empty us, take us into the abyss of sadness, so that life becomes a weight to bear, and the only solution is time. We have to wait for it to pass.”
Does balancing photography, drawing, and your other creative pursuits come naturally to you? Tell us how balance fits into your personal life.
Yes absolutely. I’m always a bit annoyed when people ask me what I want to do in life, because I switch from a medium to another and it’s impossible for me to choose. I have always been obsessed by the theme of memory, by what we leave once gone, and that’s what drives me to create all the time, by the fear of forgetting. This is my driver. Creation against oblivion. Feeling something and then translating it on paper, picture, video or drawing, as if represented it was the only way to make it really exist, and as if it was the only way to express myself at the same time.
You have shot images of many different cultures, which culture/community, outside of your own, do you feel most connected to?
I can’t really say… I have lived in very opposite cities : Paris, Varanasi (India), New York and Beirut. I also spent a lot of time in Cambodia and Vietnam, and these are two countries that fascinate me, perhaps because they are fundamentally opposed to my culture. I took a lot of pictures there, which I exhibited during the festival « Promenades Photographiques » this summer.
I think my favourite place in the world is the south of Italy in the region of Puglia. I discovered this place in the summer of my twenties and I was dazzled : it is a poetic, soothing place, as if frozen in time, that I captured in my photo series “Mektoub”.
What is something that remains constant across the countries and communities you have visited?
The power and energy of youth, and paradoxically, the anxiety that sometimes comes out of it. While travelling and meeting a lot of people in very different places, I realized that we all share some of the same fears.
How can someone get one of your tattoos?
Just send me a DM on instagram! At the moment I don’t have time to keep tattooing people myself, but I still take orders and draw flashes. I love to see my designs on other people’s bodies.
“I have always been obsessed by the theme of memory, by what we leave once gone, and that’s what drives me to create all the time, by the fear of forgetting.”
From photography to tattoo design, can you describe your art in one word?
Tough exercise… Intimacy, memory, nostalgia, details, instant, fragility. Any of these can describe my art.
How is your camera work similar to your sketches and comics?
It’s about instant and memories.
My comics are my diary, I draw my days, my quarantine, my thoughts. I try to make fun of my life, but I also deal with more serious themes such as sadness or politics.
Photography and films are more about the moment and instinct.
I represent themes that are dear to me, that I want to tackle, like adolescence, intimacy, loneliness…
Your camera work focuses on young individuals. Young people are often associated with rebellion, are you a rebel?
I think we’re all a bit rebellious deep inside. I don’t consider myself more rebellious than anyone else, but I’m not afraid to defend my opinion.
When you are taking pictures and filming humans, how do you know when it’s the right time to capture the moment?
I feel it. Taking pictures is an obsession I’ve had since I was a child : I needed to remember, to convey my vision of things. Sometimes scenes, gestures, words appear to me as evidence and I really can’t stop myself from catching them.
“I represent themes that are dear to me, that I want to tackle, like adolescence, intimacy, loneliness.”
Are you afraid of getting older?
This is my greatest fear! Everything associated with the time passing by, the fact that nothing is fixed and everything is constantly changing. It frightens me a lot.
Your film work captures fragments of life’s simplest moments to create something relatable and genuine. What importance does this have on your mission as an artist?
All my art is based on reality, authenticity, everyday life. I like the idea that we can handle, transform reality, play with it and represent it in a work. My videos are fragments of lives and conversations that I edit and reassemble into a kind of diary.
Are you someone who is more free-flowing or someone who likes organization and structure?
I like to be organized, to be able to optimize my time because it’s the thing I lose the most… I archive my thoughts, my ideas, make lists and lists of things, projects to do, drawings, snippets of script, which sometimes come out years later.