“I certainly am living the dream. I have the opportunity to create all day whether through painting or landscape design. How can that be anything but the dream?”
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
At grammar School I was lucky to have great facilities and my teacher gave me a studio easel when I left. I did get a slap on the leg once for dismissing some modern art but I guess it worked as I learnt to look beneath the surface and I now appreciate a very broad range of art. .
What would your school report have said about your art?
Back at school it was mainly about realism and accuracy as well as history. Which I appreciate now but at the time I just wanted to paint, so I think I remember some comments along the lines of ‘energetic student but needs to slow down’.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
Both, I studied my degree at Kingston Uni and graduated in 1995, but you have to try and learn from every painting so I try to be aware of that too.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
My oldest friend Neil, who I have known for 35years. We were thick as thieves and did some great work together. Other than that I’ve had some fantastic tutors over the years and have met some amazing friends. I think now my kids inspire me the most.
What Artists do you admire?
How long have you got? The range is from Michaelangelo and Carravagio to Turner, Picasso and Hockney. I also like guys like Ben McLaughlin. Im sure anyone could list 100’s of artists they like and admire but I kind of admire every artist I meet. I really like the guys down on Worthing Seafront, creating a little artistic community. Anyone who has decided to dedicate their life to artistic pursuits gets my admiration.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?
With me it’s always the last piece I’ve done. Someone else’s would probably be Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, Caravaggio’s ‘Supper at Emmaus’ and ‘Bacchus & Ariadne’ more for personal reasons than artistic, although they are all incredible masterpieces. I have a strong connection to these 3 particular pieces
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
Without being flippant, I think to still be painting and not having given up is my biggest achievement. Well, that and answering these questions!
What have you sacrificed for your art?
The life of an artist is essentially a solitary one so the biggest sacrifice for me has been time with friends and family, sleep and sanity at times.
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
The best advice is the same advice I pass on to my students and that is to keep producing work and learning from it.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
I think to be honest I would say it’s a long road with no guarantee of financial success but if you are a creative, there is no greater happiness than making. If you love doing it go for it. The hardest thing is switching from artist to businessman and seeing your work as a commodity to be sold. That switch can be tough. I know I find that aspect the hardest. Finally I would say it will help to develop a thick skin and use rejection to motivate you but that art is purely subjective and that someone out there will love your work. Good luck!
How do you start a piece of work?
I usually work out some thumbnail compositions first then go straight in an attack the canvas with a large brush to position the main shapes.
When is it finished?
I’m sure that most people realise that paintings are never finished. I have to get my wife to hide them or I’m forever revisiting. .
Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?
I don’t really but music generally plays a big part of studio life. Maybe “giving up food for funk” James Brown?
Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
Yes definitely. I listen to music constantly depending on how I feel. It could be Pink Floyd, Classical, Stevie Wonder, Hip hop, anything apart from Thrash Metal.
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
I really enjoy any paint medium but I’m currently working in Acrylic, Charcoal and Spray Paint. I’m also starting a series of collages very soon which I also really enjoy as it needs a very different mind set.
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
I know a lot of artists have little pots and trinkets that they have with them but sadly I can’t even make something up, so no. Sorry, just not superstitious.
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I certainly am living the dream. I have the opportunity to create all day whether through painting or landscape design. How can that be anything but the dream? I am very lucky to have a wonderful supportive wife and family.
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
I try to avoid being too fussy so the freshness of brush work is apparent and I definitely avoid being a slave to reference material such as photos. Its easily done but my imagination and memory of a subject will always be better than a photo so I only use reference for positioning and sometimes scale etc.
Thank you Rich, wonderful to meet with you and watch you paint in your lovely studio, gorgeous work!
Rich has a website that is under construction at the moment but you can follow him on facebook and twitter…