Under the Spotlight…Viv Martin

“Making art helps me to make meaning from complexity”

Viv Martin is a prolific artist, whose current work centres around printmaking, she is a veteran of the Open Houses phenomenon, having been one of the founding members of the Fiveways group that began the ever popular Artists Open Houses in Brighton. Her dedication to her art and her determination to keep that work fresh is an inspiration and we are very pleased that she made time to talk to us.

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Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?

Positive, mainly. Early on wasn’t great, though. I was 5 when the headmistress set off a class using thick, water based paints and was called away. Just before she went, she said that any child who got paint on his or her hands would be in serious trouble. I don’t think I heard the last bit as I hadn’t thought of painting my hands, so I very carefully painted my left hand with patterns. When she came back she was cross, but trying not to laugh – but she took me out of the class and told me that I’d been very naughty. So I must have associated doing art with being naughty after that and it did sometimes lead to problems.

I went to a fairly academic girls grammar school, but they did take art seriously. I painted all the scenery for the school plays and banners for the fairs, even printed cloth to make clothes from – so it was good on applied art as well as fine art. They wanted me to go to university, but I chose art college and they all supported me. My art teacher from there is still in touch and comes to my shows quite often, which is great.

What would your school report have said about your art?

It was always excellent and they gave me the school prize for art and another for service to the school – but I was never a prefect! I failed art A level though – as did many people at art college.

Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?

I went to Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, for five years straight from school (I had an extra year because I switched from painting to sculpture), then Goldsmiths to do an art teaching qualification. More recently, I realised that I didn’t understand contemporary art and that I was still working predominantly in my 1960s style. I was lucky to be able to do an MA at Chichester which helped me to find new ways of linking the ideas I wanted to explore. Then workshops with various artists have helped me to learn new techniques that I need and to try different approaches. 

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What or who has inspired you over the years?

It’s kept changing. Originally, all the ‘western art history’ artists – from Mesopotamia and Egypt through Greek and Roman to the Renaissance. Then the Impressionists, of course, the post-Impressionists and into Modern. In particular, early Egyptian, early and classical Greek, Romanesque artists like Ghislebertus in France, the Pisanos in Italy, then Giotto, Donatello and I lose interest a bit when they get too confident and ‘smooth’. I like the awkwardness of some of Gaugin, Picasso’s post-war ceramics, Monet’s Giverny work and most of Van Gogh. Then I moved into Mondrian, Klee and Kandinsky, but soon looked at people like Keinholdz and his scenarios, like the Beanery and the one where ‘sugar plum fairies danced in his head’. All overtaken by Rauschenberg, who seemed to link painting and sculpture and a sort of story-telling.

Corsham was very ‘west country’ in it’s approach to art, so there was a strong influence from Peter Lanyon and Adrian Heath, who was a tutor and my landlord for years. William Tillyer taught me etching and was quite encouraging of me melting etching plates, until he feared for the blankets on the press! I ‘baby-sat’ for Michael Craig-Martin, but remember more about eating his chocolate cake than about his work. Now when I visit the Pallant it feels a bit as though I’m back at college, because so many were tutors there.

Now I try to do workshops every year or two with different artists, to try new approaches and to challenge or add to my range of work. I’ve been strongly influenced recently by Sandy Sykes and by Ron Pokrasso, both in developing multi-layered monotypes and using text alongside imagery. I’m currently doing a workshop that’s focusing on graphic novels and real-life diaries and I’m trying to work out where I stand in relation to fine art/illustration and visual and text narrative. I’ve had lots of academic books published, but I’d like to make books from my art somehow.

What Artists do you admire?

I admire the prehistoric cave artists for the imagery that links observation with a sign language and a sense of spirituality. I admire Donatello for his inventiveness and risk-taking. I admire most of the ones I’ve already mentioned as having influenced me.

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What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?

My own is always a puzzle, until I’m on the way to the next piece. My current favourites are the prehistoric Venus of Sireuil, Lanyon’s ‘Porthleven’, Serusier’s ‘Talisman’ and Ron Pokrasso’s ‘Egyptian Eve’.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?

I’m rather proud of having had Open Studio shows almost every year for about 35 years. I’m proud to have learnt so many techniques and of being able to update my work from time to time.

What have you sacrificed for your art?

Money, time – who hasn’t? I’ve always had so much back from the process and involvement that I’ve never regretted anything I might have done but didn’t – so it’s not really a sacrifice.

What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?

Listen to what your work is trying to say to you. Get into a dialogue. Check the pressure on the press!

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What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

Listen to what your work is trying to say to you. Get into a dialogue.

How do you start a piece of work?

Usually by putting bits together and working out how they relate. So the earlier stage is making and collecting together all the relevant bits that I might need for a project – I tend to be working in ‘series’ now, rather than individual works. The ideas come from places mostly, with a mix of imagery, stories, journeys, history, etc. So I gather what I can and make lots of drawings, sometimes making woodcuts or etchings in preparation, sometimes searching through older work that’s become relevant again or just found its ‘time’.

 

When is it finished?

When it stops telling me it needs to be fixed.

Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?

No.

 Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?

It depends on the work and how I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s country and western, sometimes jazz, sometimes Dylan, sometimes Wagner or Mozart, sometimes sound recordings of birds and insects in Provence.

What is your favourite medium to work with/in?

At the moment, it’s monotype that incorporates collaged drawings, etchings, woodcuts and anything else that I can flatten enough.

 

 

Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

I still have my teddy bear from when I was one – he’s rather old now!

Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?

My dream is about making art and continually trying to improve and say things that are worth saying, so I’m living it to the extent that I’m still trying!

 Is there anything you avoid with your art?

I tend to avoid making imagery about violence or cruelty and when my subject matter, like ancient Greek inevitably links with battles, I tend to stylise it and use their own imagery.

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Thank you Viv for a fascinating insight into your work, it was a real pleasure to visit you in your lovely studio.

If you would like to find out more about Viv and her work please visit her website or her blog.

http://www.martinstudios.co.uk/vivhome.php

https://vivmartin1.wordpress.com/

 

 

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Under the Spotlight…Paul Martin

Paul has spent many years challenging his own pre-conceived ideas about the world around him as he aims to view his surroundings with ‘fresh eyes’ to create new work. Paul has been hugely influenced and moved by the ancient artwork in the prehistoric caves of Dordogne, so much so, it began a whole new series of work about his experiences there. Here we catch up with Paul in his studio in Worthing, where he works from his memory and sketches from Dordogne, producing vivid and compelling pieces of art.

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Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?

I was very lucky at Secondary school as the art teacher, Cyril Shackleford, was a real artist who kept an oil painting on the go in the art room. He encouraged my interest, got me into his adult education class at the age of 13 and there I started oil painting and was hooked on a lifetime journey. I owe him so much.

What would your school report have said about your art?

I mostly found school boring though I was good at maths and came first or second each year in art.

Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?

Though I got O and A levels I did not do well in the art exams and drifted for a few years running my grandad’s farm, being a bus conductor etc. At 20 I could do a passable Shepherd elephant but I knew there was more to art than that. I eventually went to art college as a mature student doing Foundation then Environmental Art and Design at Bournemouth and Poole college of art. This covered sculpture, ceramics, printmaking and painting though I have since 13 been a painter at heart.

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What or who has inspired you over the years?

I have been inspired by many artworks that bring fresh insights and meaning to me. Some are beautiful and some difficult to like and they include; Michelangelo’s Pieta in Firenze, Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon , Matisse Dance paintings – there are many but more recently the work of Marino Marini seen in his museum in Firenze, especially his sculptures of horses and riders based on his experiences of World War 2 of riders going out to listen for the allied bombers. These have inspired me to develop a range of mono-prints relating to the story of Apollo and his sun chariot.

 

What Artists do you admire

Rembrandt for his drawing, Van Gogh for his intensity of vision, Derain for his bold colour sense, Rothko for his luminous enveloping environments, Rauschenberg for his fearless experimentation and the artist(s) who, 30,000 years ago, drew the three lions descending a slope in Chauvet cave – a line drawing to die for!

 

What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?

The great ceiling in Rouffignac cave in the Dordogne was drawn about 14000 years ago by our ancestors. It is a kilometre into the cave and covered in small to life sized drawings of horses, woolly mammoths, rhino’s and mountain goats a jumble of images like the night sky. I cry every time I see it because time collapses. I have a direct link with the artists who thought and drew like me now. Wonderful – then there is Cap Blanc a 10 metre frieze of life sized horses carved into the cliff face and visible, when made, to the passing herds!

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?

My art is always at the foothills of yet another mountain and anything else is pointless. Each highlight is just another foothill!

I am proud however of setting up a serious art pathway for learners in the local Adult Education Centre and then helping to write and set off the Fine art degree in Northbrook which has enabled many adults to get a degree in the last 20 years. Also, getting my PhD in learning and teaching in the field of fine art.

 

What have you sacrificed for your art?

Less companionship than other interests have. Art is a lonely occupation – it is a conversation within your own head and with the work in progress and all else is a distraction.

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What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?

There has been much over a long life but in art, I was lucky to meet the sculptor Elisabeth Frink when I was at art college. A few of us visited her home and studio and she came and did a crit of my work. She was a powerfully intense person and I was a bit scared as I had been working on horses as a theme (for which she is famous). She liked both my sculpture and painting and asked why the over-the-top colour on the life sized shires? I said two fingers to the course politics and she looked at me with her piercing blue eyes and said that I should in effect just do what I felt right art wise and follow my star and do my own thing.

I have taken that advice throughout my art life. I do art for me. It is my journey. If others like it fine, if not, it may dent my ego, but in the scheme of my artistic and personal development it does not actually matter.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

Follow your own star and not fashion. If you are a real ‘fine artist’ and seeker it is the only way. Personal integrity is all.

How do you start a piece of work?

Work may arise from many years of research, as with my pre-historic art inspired pieces, or it may arise from noticing the colours of a rusty can in grass. I may start with lots of studies and drawings or sometimes just get a canvas and go for it with oil bars and paint. It varies so much.

When is it finished?

It is finished when it stops screaming at me to fix it, or I can think of nothing else to do with it. Some can take years to solve and others happen in a few hours or days. I have no formula. Each piece makes its own demands and I just do my best to solve the visual puzzle which has presented itself.

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Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?

No. It is just what I have to do. It is just core to my being, who I am and have always been in a line back to the pre-historic artists 30.000 years ago.

Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?

When really concentrating or if things are going badly I find silence best but otherwise I play mainly classical music Beethoven and Mozart quartets as favourite or Bach masses and violin music – favourites tend to change.

What is your favourite medium to work with/in?

Oil paint. I love its smell, colours, texture, malleability and it suits my way of working. I use brushes less than I used to as skills acquired over time can lead to repetitive results. At present I mostly use stiff card cut into a variety of shapes and sizes to apply paint and scratch into wet surfaces. When paint dries on the card it creates lumpy textures and interesting marks when laying on fresh paint. Rags, sticks, fingers, if it works use it.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

I do not have a favourite brush or anything like that but I still have and use the easel I bought at 14 years old!

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Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?

Art is who I am. I see and explore the world through that strange prism and manifest my meaning making in visual forms. I can ask for no more than being able to continue for as long as possible.

Is there anything you avoid with your art?

To be swayed by fashion or false praise. Also I have learnt to avoid exposing new ideas to people until they are firm enough to withstand criticism. Early ideas before they coalesce are fragile and can be easily destroyed by thoughtless comments. To explore new ideas one has to expose ones fragility and to delve into chaos and that is safest done alone.

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Thank you so very much Paul, what a real pleasure to chat and take images whilst you work, inspirational!

To find out more about Paul and his work visit the link below to his website.

http://www.martinstudios.co.uk/paul_inspiredbyprehistory.php

Paul will be exhibiting his work as part of WAOH 2017

 

 

 

 

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Under the Spotlight… Marijke Seller

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Under the Spotlight has been finding out what made local textile artist Marijke Seller take up weaving. She has been exploring textile craft for some years, but recently became inspired to try weaving. She is pleased to discover how her skills with surface texture and colour, acquired working on crocheted pieces as well as making experimental stitched work, inform and enhance her weaving.

Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school? 

We only had one hour of drawing a week and the teacher was not very inspiring.

 What would your school report have said about your art?

I don’t think that art was mentioned in the school report.

 Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught? 

I go to a weaving workshop locally but I haven’t had a real art education.

I started weaving about four years ago. I did a lot of textiles before that; knitting, crochet and some textile workshops. At Ally Pally by chance I saw the British Tapestry Group stand, and I liked the work on display, so I bought the starter kit. Then I was hooked! The weaving workshop I attend now is run by Jane Brunning – she’s a well-known weaver.

 What or who has inspired you over the years? 

My mother, she started me off. As 10 year olds, my friends and I would come together at my place and we would craft together with my mother overseeing us ( the first Knit and Natter group).   I crocheted outfits for my Barbie, and as a teenager I crocheted curtains, which were very fashionable in Holland in the 70s.

I used to go to ‘Textile Tuesdays’ with Hazel Imbert, and I learned a lot of different techniques; it opened my eyes to the possibilities of textile work, which I find useful in my weaving.

I have always done different crafts; card-making, patchwork, scrapbooking and then, accidentally got into weaving.   I have really surprised myself with the results I am getting now.  I have finally found the right medium to work in, which suits me, and I am proud of my work.. I feel I have moved from crafter to artist.

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What Artists do you admire? 

Jane Brunning, she is the tutor of the weaving workshops.   I like the techniques she uses and I like her designs.   Her work inspires me.

Peruvian weaver Maximo Laura, his colours are so vibrant and the designs are beautiful.

Escher, Hieronymus Bosch,  Mondrian,  Klee.

I work in a library so I have access to a lot of art books which are also very inspiring.

 What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)? 

I like a lot of work done by my fellow weavers.

At an exhibition a couple of years ago, there was a beautiful weaving by my tutor, Jane Brunning, in browns, purples and creams, very textured. Lots of different techniques were used to give the work depth, and the use of colour was amazing.

My “Bluebells” piece; inspired by a spring walk in the woods in Patching. The bluebells are a dense and intense blue area at the bottom, and there are five trees, just the trunks, bare and lit from the side, rising out of the bluebells, against a green background . I was very pleased how the trees worked out. My best work so far.

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What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?

Over Easter I had two pieces in the exhibition at The Mill House Gallery, Angmering, organised by the British Tapestry Group, South East. The exhibition is moving to Hastings next.

I feel that is very special.

My weaving will be in the Worthing Artists Open Houses 2016, venue 46.

 What have you sacrificed for your art?

A tidy house!

But, I am very lucky. I am able to keep a balance between work and being creative.

What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?

I did a workshop ‘From drawing to weaving’ which was very good.

I was told to look really hard, be very observant. I   learned to look at things in a different way.

On walks in the woods or on the beach, you see inspiring ideas for weaving all around you.

I look for shape, texture and colour.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

Being creative is very relaxing. Make time. Have a go and you will find your way.

Don’t be afraid to change your mind on colour or design etc. it is a work in progress.

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 How do you start a piece of work?

Coming up with a design is the most difficult part. Inspiration comes from nature and I also like to go through art books. In the library there are so many art books available.  Sometimes I have to simplify a design to make it suitable for a weaving. I find it difficult to weave something with a lot of detail.

Then I have to choose the material I want to work with which depends on the design.

I am planning a piece based on a drawing by Picasso and I want to weave this with wool I spin from fleece. This will be all in natural colours.

Achieving the colours you want is hard, you have to adopt various techniques; for example

you can use multiple strands of yarn, then produce shading by taking one yarn out and replacing it with another colour, changing the colours gradually . I used this technique for ‘Sunset’.

 When is it finished?

It is finished when the last weft is done when you are at the top. Once the weaving is done you can not change anything. There is still a lot of finishing of all the ends to do.

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 Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?

no

Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?

Sunday afternoon I listen to Johnny Walker ‘Sounds of the Seventies’ in the front room with the sun on my back, lovely.

 What is your favourite medium to work with/in?

Textiles; wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp, nettle. I also work with strips of recycled fabric and lace etc.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

no

Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?

I really enjoy what I am doing. Since my daughters left home, weaving has helped with the ’empty nest syndrome’. I feel this is one of the transitions in life.

 Is there anything you avoid with your art?

Very fine drawings as I find it difficult to get the detail in the weaving.

 

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Thank you very much Marijke, it was a real pleasure to watch you create your beautiful work.  You can meet Marijke and look at her work in this years Worthing Artists Open Houses, Marijke will be exhibiting in venue 46.

 

 

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Under the Spotlight…Tony Coppard

‘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.’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

No

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”

 

 

Unveiling... LOVE IS A BRIDGE... at Holmbush on 21st November 2015

Unveiling… LOVE IS A BRIDGE… at Holmbush on 21st November 2015

 

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.

http://www.anthonycoppardart.com

 

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Under the Spotlight…Rosemary Jones

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“I’m not out to be controversial or upsetting: my pictures come from within and often I have no idea how they will turn out.”

This time, for Under the Spotlight we have been talking to Rosemary Jones, a talented printmaker and painter who lives and works in Worthing, West Sussex. Her vibrant, colourful work features images of local landscapes, flowers and plants.

Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?

I remember art at school being quite traditional, although I’ve always been able to draw since I was a little child. I did enjoy it though, and something clicked when I tried oil pastels for the first time – I found that a very good way to work.

What would your school report have said about your art?

I always got very good grades and comments about my work, although only a D for A level.

Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?

I followed completely different paths after leaving school but really found my artistic direction when I was looking for something else to do with my life about 12 years ago. I discovered the OCN evening courses in art at Northbrook College, and I found a whole new life there: Observational Drawing and Painting, Life Drawing, Sculpture, Composition and Painting.

I also had to write essays and so that led on to a new interest in 20th Century British art.

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What or who has inspired you over the years?

Teachers have inspired me – I had a fabulous pottery teacher many years ago called Joan Bowles and we were just on the same wavelength. I suppose she was the first real artist I’d ever met.

Jonathan Howlett at Northbrook was another great inspiration in that he started me on the courses and opened my eyes to all this, especially lino cutting.

What Artists do you admire?

Eric Ravilious: I love his paintings and wood engravings. Doing the research for a college essay about him led on to everything else I’ve done.

Antony Gormley: his sculptures fascinate me.

Edward Bawden: he is the king of lino cutting in my opinion.

Chardin, Caravaggio and Dürer too.

What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?

My favourite painting of my own work is my ‘Lux Aeterna’, which is an image of inside Chichester Cathedral.

I painted it when my mother was dying and I was listening to Morten Lauridsen’s ‘Lux Aeterna’: it was meant to be different but the music took over and I painted the light of eternity, and so a requiem for my Mum.

It’s difficult to choose a favourite work by another artist but I particularly like the lino cuts and other prints by Robert Tavener, particularly his Sussex work.

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What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?

Two things: I was very pleased to be Artist in Residence at the Worthing Tourist Office in the Dome during the Worthing Art Trail in 2014. I considered that a great honour and privilege.

The other was recognising a cast iron bench designed by Edward Bawden in one of my gardening customer’s gardens, thanks to my knowledge of 20th century art. It was eventually sold at auction for a very large amount of money!

What have you sacrificed for your art?

Nothing really – in fact the opposite is true that art has opened so many doors it is quite unbelievable.

What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?

It’s not a case of ‘I can’t, because’; it’s ‘I can, if…’

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What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

Join in with the networking!

How do you start a piece of work?

Usually by taking a lot of photographs, to give me references and scale.

When is it finished?

When I’ve finished cutting the plate, when one more cut would be too much.

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Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?

Not just art – ‘There are always possibilities’. Spock said that  🙂

Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?

I have a radio in my studio which is usually on either Radio 3 or Smile: this is because neither station has adverts. My musical taste is pretty wide and as long as it’s pleasant and/or interesting to listen to it’s fine!

What is your favourite medium to work with/in?

Lino cut, or trowelling on oil paint with a palette knife. With lino cut I have to be very careful, and my painting is the opposite.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

I have a favourite lino tool which was given to me by a lady I gave lifts to while we were on an art holiday together. It’s a beautiful fine tool and was the most wonderful present really.

Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?

I guess I just wanted to be noticed! (This is a family joke: it’s a reference from a book called ‘There’s no such thing as a dragon’ by Jack Kent, which I used to read to our children when they were small).

Is there anything you avoid with your art?

I’m not out to be controversial or upsetting: my pictures come from within and often I have no idea how they will turn out. I can’t draw squirrels or foxes either!

Workshops by Rosemary

Workshops by Rosemary

Thank you so much Rosemary, for talking to us, it has been a real pleasure. if you would like to see more of Rosemary’s work, please click on the links below.

www.greenman-linocuts.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/rosemaryjonesprintmaker

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Under the Spotlight Sarah Luxford…..

‘I use miniature scale to prompt childhood memories of naivety and innocence. Simple as these works might first appear, they explore a symptom of modern society.’

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This time for ‘Under the Spotlight’ we have been talking to Sarah Luxford about her influences and inspiration. Sarah’s miniature sculptural work is both fascinating and unsettling, dealing as it does with the troubling aspects of childhood memory and obsessive hoarding.

Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school? 

Well, on the creative side of things I had a very positive experience with art at school. I remember all three pieces I made for my CSE grade. I made a three dimensional barred cube out of card about 25cm square and an out of proportion lock and chain which trailed around the cube. Funny thing is that 30 years on I am still creating and playing with scale.

What would your school report have said about your art? 

I got an A+ and felt that constancy pays for the results, also I was proud as the tutors asked to keep my work at the school.

Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?

After leaving school I went on to complete a five year apprenticeship in a dental technician practice, this is a very practical, skilful  job, and attention to detail is really important. I Met my husband in the dental laboratory and we share three wonderful children. I left dentistry when my children were school age and carried on working in education for nine years. I was encouraged to apply for a degree in fine art three years ago, which was the best experience ever. 

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What or who has inspired you over the years?

My inspirational person when I was growing up was my late father and I miss him dearly. He taught me everything in life, he was a calm, witty man, incredibly talented, very practical and was a ‘Jack of all Trades’. I would not have swapped him for anything.

 What Artists do you admire? 

I admire Damien Hirst for dominating the art scene in the 1990s and for his persistence.

Lowry, I just love Lowry due to his naive figurative style and industrial landscapes. He made you feel a sense of life in the industrial districts of North West England in the mid-20th century.

What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)? 

My favourite piece of my work is “Cupboard Under the Stairs” but I love all of the work I make as they all have an emotional connection in some way or another.

Tracey Emin “Bed” as it says it all!

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved? 

My biggest thing so far is completing  a BA(Hons) Fine Art Degree and this September I’m starting a Masters in Fine Art.  I have developed a professional level of learning and gained such a close, valuable, talented network of artistic friends that I feel we will stay friends for ever.

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What have you sacrificed for your art? 

I don’t feel I have sacrificed anything, as every day is a learning day. Good time management and organisation is the key. Get your balance right and you can achieve anything.

What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you? 

To be open minded and accept criticism. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

Continue to be creative, keep experimenting and share ideas. Every knockdown is a new door opening.

How do you start a piece of work?

The visual prompts imagery, I duplicate photographs so that I can cut them up. I look at my previous work and evaluate how I can change or adapt it yet still continue to be experimental.

When is it finished?

When I get a feeling in my mind that I can stop. That I am satisfied.

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Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you? 

Lowry quotes “I am not an artist I’m a man who paints”

Does music help with your creativity?  If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece? 

No, not really as I like to keep focused on my internal thoughts when I work.

What is your favourite medium to work with/in? 

At present I am working in sculpture but I enjoy using all mediums.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever? 

No I have no actual “thing” other than my memories, as they last forever.

Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for? 

My dream is to have my work on display in a major gallery. So one day my dream may come true!

Is there anything you avoid with your art? 

No, not really You naturally think of the audience but you must also believe in yourself and if you are strong about something just do it. Leave the interpretation to the viewer itself and let them decide.

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Under the Spotlight….Rebecca McCardle

‘We are all influenced in so many ways, continually perceiving and translating our existence.’

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This time, for ‘Under the Spotlight’ we have been talking to Rebecca McCardle, whose photography based fine art is both thought provoking and intriguing. She uses everyday textiles in her photograms to produce off kilter images that are both familiar and yet extraordinary.

Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?

When I was at primary school I remember being fascinated with the computer paper that we used to draw on in class. It came in perforated sheets with pale green stripes on the back and small holes down either side of the paper, there was a crispness about the paper that I loved and I would spend hours folding and manipulating the sheets to make booklets with secret compartments to fill with special things. Looking back to preoccupations like this I can now see that the interest in the inherent qualities of materials and objects has always been within me. At secondary school I loved art lessons but didn’t have any confidence in my own abilities, bottled Evian water was trendy at the time and I drew a fantastic representation that I remember being very pleased with. I don’t remember much else about the art lessons and I failed to take art at GCSE level, those guiding me believed that art wasn’t a feasible career choice for anyone and I duly followed their advice, much to my regret.

What would your school report have said about your art?

My school was pretty rubbish when it came to anything creative, the textiles department had the potential to be exciting but the teacher was more interested in homemaking skills than anything contemporary and at that point my teenage life I was more concerned about styling and fashion. We ran fashion competitions and I designed an outfit that was modelled by my best friend with netting underskirt and tartan held together by a huge elastic belt, a wining outfit! I don’t think events like these even made it on to the school report.

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Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?

I went to sixth  form college to study A levels but was very unhappy and knew by that point that I had made a terrible mistake not taking art at GCSE. I had meetings with the college who were very unhelpful and in the end I left.

My mother and grandmother were upholsterers by trade and I vividly remember the excitement of visiting haberdashery stores. I loved all the fabrics and yarns and my childhood was spent making, stitching and sewing. A lot of the skills I have are self-taught as my formal art education only began five years ago when I started an Art and Design foundation course at Northbrook College. My intention had been to go on to the textiles and surface design degree because this was what I knew. After a six-year stint in retail, working for Monsoon Accessorise I was well versed in colour stories and commercial design, however, along the way my ideas and concerns developed strongly towards Fine Art. I wouldn’t have been ready for this earlier and I had a weird sense of clarity. A lot of the techniques and processes I use in my work are self-taught but what I have been educated in is an understanding of Fine Art practice.

What or who has inspired you over the years?

We are all influenced in so many ways, continually perceiving and translating our existence. Inspiration for me comes in many forms, running on the South Downs always helps me to process the whirlwind of thoughts and disjointed ideas in my head, critical theory drives a lot of my practice as does work by artists that provoke strong responses. For instance, I didn’t particularly like Damien Hirst’s work, I thought it was crass. All I knew was what was scandalised in the press and it wasn’t until I actually experienced his work at the RA that I understood how very clever, relevant and informed his works are.

What Artists do you admire?

My work is object related and I admire artists whose work makes me see things differently, the re-presentations of objects in simple ways works powerfully on me. Marcel Duchamp, Meret Oppenheim, Cornelia Parker, Fischli and Weiss, Graham Harman, Walter Benjamin, Vilem Flusser, Adam Fuss, Ryan Gander, Katie Paterson and Abraham Cruzvillega are a few of the people whose work I have been drawn to and admire.

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What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?

I find it very tricky to be objective about my work when I’m still close to it, I need to have distance and time to be able to see it objectively. I rarely feel like a piece is fully complete, it is just another part of an ongoing process of inquiry.

One of my favourite pieces of work is Son et Lumiere (Le rayon vert) by Fischli and Weiss, named after the optical phenomena sometimes seen on the horizon at sunset. The selection and presentation of everyday objects simply yet powerfully articulates the abstract phenomena.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?

I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to study at degree level and that I have had such inspiring and encouraging teaching on my journey.

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What have you sacrificed for your art?

My art practice has impacted positively on my life and that of my family, studying at degree level has helped me to understand the guidance and support my own children need with their own studies and has given me a platform to understand and develop my own practice, no sacrifice.

What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?

A piece of work exists independently of the author, interpreted by the viewer. The viewer makes meaning.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?

There is a difference between being a commercial artist and a Fine Artist, I am still working out how to move on as a functioning Fine Artist.

How do you start a piece of work?

I feel that my practice is part of an ongoing inquiry, when I look back at earlier sketchbooks the seeds of ideas can be seen years before, I don’t see a beginning or an end.

When is it finished?

See above answer.

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Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?

No.

Does music help with your creativity?  If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?

I often have BBC 6 music on while I work depending on what I’m doing, but ideas generally come to me when I’m in a more meditative state when I’m running, swimming or lying in the bath and I can let my mind wander uninterrupted.

What is your favourite medium to work with/in?

I use the medium most appropriate to the idea and find that accident and experimentation often lead in the most interesting directions.

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Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?

My mother’s sewing machine.

Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?

Enjoying the moment.

Is there anything you avoid with your art?

The obvious.

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Thank you Rebecca, it has been a real education to talk to you, we look forward to seeing your work at the Northbrook Degree show,  St Paul’s in Worthing and at East Beach Studios over the Worthing Art Trail.

 

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