Monday 10 June 2013

Philip Clairmont, 1949–1984 (New Zealand painter)

* Philip Clairmont ― a Bohemian artist with Venus in the first degree of Scorpio ― painted intense images and eventually committed suicide.

Philip Clairmont was born in Nelson in 1949 and attended Nelson College from 1963 to 1966. He studied in Christchurch under Rudolf Gopas, graduating from the Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1970. In 1973 he received a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council grant, and by 1977 he was painting full time in his new home city of Auckland. Clairmont's work was informed by the works of Vincent van Gogh and Francis Bacon, and was also influenced by his close relationship with fellow artists Tony Fomison and Allen Maddox.

Clairmont's work is usually classed as expressionist or neo-expressionism, using strong colours and distorted forms, often with domestic interiors as subject matter. His early work tends to be focussed and detailed. During his final decade his work has a tendency to be looser and less intense.

Clairmont epitomised the stereotypical bohemian artist lifestyle, feeling that this form of life was necessary for him to regard himself as an authentic artist. Clairmont committed suicide in Auckland in 1984, at the age of 34.

A biography of Clairmont by Martin Edmond, The resurrection of Philip Clairmont (Auckland University Press, 1999), was a finalist in the 2000 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Read more from his Wikipedia biography.


"Clairmont's work is usually classed as expressionist or neo-expressionism, using strong colours and distorted forms." Sounds like arty Venus in the first degree of intense Scorpio in the 12th House of distortion.


BIRTH DATA: Philip Rex Haines, 15 September 1949, 09:00 (9 a.m.) NZT (-12), Nelson, New Zealand (41s17, 173e17). ASC: 20 Scorpio. RR: B (from biography). SOURCE: Sy Scholfield (c) quotes Martin Edmond, The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont (Auckland University Press, 1999), pp. 103 and 107: "Philip Clairmont was born Philip Rex Haines on 15 September 1949, at Nelson;" "Rex didn't go in with her; a neighbour drove Thelma to Nelson. It was a difficult, eight-hour labour, a forceps birth. At nine a.m. on 15 September, Philip was dragged out into the maelstrom of his parent's [sic] disintegrating marriage."

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