‘My head is always filled with ideas, sometimes I don’t have to think, I just start painting and as I work it develops and grows.’
This time, for ‘under the Spotlight, we have been talking to Shoreham based Anthony Coppard. He is an immensely talented and driven artist whose constant drive and enthusiasm has led to sell out exhibitions worldwide. His unique, almost sculptural, paintings are both beautiful and thought provoking. We caught up with him in the middle of a personal project to do with the Shoreham Air crash…
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
Negative, I am afraid I was always the boy stood outside the Headmaster’s office, awaiting the cane. I was then taken into care, suffering with depression at the age of 8. I spent many childhood years being locked up in the coal hole, in the dark. Kind of got through it by using my imagination, I think the grief of it all comes through in my work. I spent many years self -harming because the pain stopped the reality.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
No education in art at all, I am self-taught and this has pros and cons. Teaching yourself is good as I love to experiment and I never stop learning and striving for new techniques.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
I started painting around 8 years ago and consider myself very lucky as everything I have painted has sold. I work at a special needs school, the children there are a big part of my inspiration. Perhaps because of my suffering with depression, art has been a way of expressing my emotions and feelings….of finding myself.
What Artists do you admire?
I have a wide range of tastes and styles and my favourites at the moment are John Bauer, Gustav Klimt, Maurice Sapiro, Obed Uribe, Zhong Biao, J W Waterhouse, Hans Avend De Wit and Aun Zelberman.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?
I have many favourite paintings by other artists and one piece of work by myself. I painted my view of Autism, I called it ‘Hope’ (acrylic & tears??) When it was finished I had subconsciously painted myself as a lost little boy. Another reason it is my favourite as that teachers that have seen it have been so moved it made them cry.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
Having my work in a number of galleries, selling out at art exhibitions, Royal Academy (summer exhibition), and being invited to New York (Solo exhibition). The feedback and letters I get about my work, people crying at my work and recently acquiring my own gallery.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
Sleep! All my free time as I like to paint 8 hours a day but also have a full time job.
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
I have never been given any advice.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/crafts person?
Never give up and never lose sight of your goals and dreams.
How do you start a piece of work?
My head is always filled with ideas, sometimes I don’t have to think, I just start painting and as I work it develops and grows.
When is it finished?
I just know.
Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?
It’s OK not to be OK.
Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
I have a big love of music, something that has played a huge role in my life. I always play music when I am painting and I have a huge range of tastes from opera to blues.
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
I don’t have one favourite medium as I use mixed media, I love textures, I like to add 3d and sculptures, I believe paintings should not only be looked at but touched.
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I strive to paint full time.
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
To be tied to one subject.
Tony has been working on a personal project in remembrance of the Shoreham air crash. There have been a few visits to his workshops so as to follow the process of his unique work.
From Tony after the unveiling
“A huge thank you to everyone that attended the unveiling today, it was very moving and touching. A painting can sometimes be a powerful medium, it can express hope and emotions, and sometimes reach out and touch people’s hearts and souls, convey people’s grief and loss, I hope I have managed to capture with dignity to the people concerned, I don’t mind if people don’t like the painting as a picture, but understand the sentiments, to touch one’s heart and wipe a way a tear it’s done its job thank you x”
Thank you so much, Anthony, for agreeing to talk to us, it has been a real pleasure.
If you would like to see more of Anthony’s work please click on the link to his website.