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Arts In Britain is a project exploring creativity around the country. Includes interviews with regional artists and contemporary work from twelve parts of Britain. arts in britain.blogspot.co.uk facebook.com / ArtsInBritain Š 2013 Created By Stuart Russell

stuart russell artwork .co .uk


N. IRELAND

1. Stuart Cairns, Silversmith

2. Katherine Rush, Painter

3. Peter Neill, Photographer

4. Derek Wilson, Ceramicist

Catherine Keenan, Glass Artist catherinekeenanglass.com What do you like best about working with glass? The natural properties of the material; it’s potential to transit light, the optical effects made possible, and it’s purity of colour. I like the physical, technical and almost magical aspects of working in molten glass. What inspires your work? My starting point is an observation of nature or my environment. I am very much drawn to pattern, and how this works with colour and light. I strive to create abstracted and simple pieces that are visually removed from the original source of inspiration. Processes of colour application in glassblowing also inspire me. Using 3 words, describe your designs? Bold, simple, colourful. Do you have a favourite piece? I think my ‘Eye Candy’ range is the most complete/resolved of all my work. They are technically difficult to make and laborious to finish and yet their simple and bold presence belies this. Are there any creative people you admire? Glass wise, I admire Ned Cantrell and Karen Nyholm, who run a studio in Denmark and who I had a short spell working for. Also my boyfriend potter Adam Frew and my good friend textile designer/maker Nicola Farrell who has a great eye for design and a very Scandinavian bent.


DUNDEE

1. Fiona Skinner, Visual Artist

2. Morag Cullens, Painter

Steven Higginson, Painter stevenhigginson.co.uk How were you first introduced to painting? As most children do, I painted at school. I enjoyed it so much that I began painting all the time! I started getting serious about painting when I got my first set of acrylics at the age of 10. I painted many pictures in acrylic, watercolour and gouache before going to art school. It was there that I was first introduced to oil paints and since then my paintings are all in oils. What excites you about a painting? I love using oil paints they have such versatility. I also enjoy the process of creating an idea in my mind and then seeing it develop in front of me. It gives me a great sense of achievement. Would you describe your work as contemporary or traditional? I would consider my work both. I love looking at the traditional techniques used by the old masters, particularly Dutch still life painters of the 17th century. I get inspiration from their work and it really helps me in creating my own pieces. I do try to keep my subject matter contemporary though by painting the world around me, laying emphasis on how things appear today. My fishbowl paintings are a perfect example of using traditional techniques mixed with unique colours, formats and compositions. Do you have a special space where you work? Yes, I have a room in my home near Broughty Ferry. I converted it into my studio space and it's a place where I can close the door and lose myself in artwork. How would you define creativity? I don’t think you can define creativity fully, but I believe creativity is the ability to see things differently from others. It is the ability to transfer your ideas through skills and techniques, into a physical piece of work.

3. The Brownlee Brothers, Sculptors

4. Layla Rose Cowan, Painter


LONDON

1. Slinkachu, Street Artist

2. Briony Marshall, Sculptor

3. Michal Cole, Visual Artist

4. Merete Rasmussen, Ceramicist

Jamie Wardley, Sculptor sandsculptureice.co.uk What is it about sand and ice that fascinates you? I love the ephemeral nature of sand and ice sculpting and especially sand drawings, which last only for the time of the tides. The piece is as much about the process of creativity as it is the final result. Are you inspired by anything/anyone? I walk down the street or through a forest and am inspired. There is inspiration everywhere found in other people, objects, sights, smells, taste and touch. The trick is to allow inspiration to touch you and ideas flow. It is often that good ideas and inspiration does not come from a single epiphany or Eureka moment but through an organic process of first allowing yourself to have mediocre ideas and then from them other ideas come eventually leading to a good idea. This is also very important when working in a team, as you must appreciate all ideas from everyone. Most people have the potential to have good ideas and be creative, but they may not allow themselves to. . When did you first take an interest in sculpture? I said 'Hello' to a sand sculptor in Norway in 1998. After lots of conversations he offered to let me have a go and I took the opportunity and said yes. My life changed from there. Do you have a favourite material, sand or ice, and why is it your favourite? They are both wonderful. Sand allows deep shadows and quite traditional sculpture whereas ice is innately beautiful and has such strength. Sand drawing is perhaps the most exciting though, you only have five hours to make a drawing whilst the tide goes out, and when it comes back in it will not wait for you to finish. Where can the public see your work, anything exciting coming up? We have sculptures in Morecambe in June, the East Neuk Festival, Edinburgh Zoo in early July and Kelmarsh Hall Festival of History in August. Our big project for this year is called the Fallen. We will go to the D-Day beach of Arromanches, France on International Peace Day and make 9000 silhouettes of people in the sand in five hours to visually represent the people that lost their lives there.


GLASGOW

1. Franz Maggs, Designer

2. John McDougall, Photographer

3. James McDonald, Painter

4. Shona Barr, Painter

Frank To, Painter franktofineart.com What is it about painting that motivates you? It's the enquiry of it. I don't focus solely on imagery, it's the way I use paint that concerns me. This is something a lot of artists often forget. Paint is flexible. You as the artist have control over it. It can be heavy and pasty or diluted and transparent. Painting is a lifetime journey. THAT is my motivation. Is there a technique or style that you favour? Optical effects are what I tend to favour most. I enjoy using a series of complex layers of diluted paint to create depth. You seem to use a limited colour pallet, is this significant in any way? Being limited is actually a lot more difficult than some can imagine. I enjoy using a limited palette because it forces me to improvise. Furthermore, it makes me more aware of other components that make up a painting such as composition, use of complementaries etc. It is very easy to have too many colours on your palette and disregard them later. I'm more concerned in how to make every colour count. I am heavily inspired by the drawings of Da Vinci and Michiangelo, which are simple in palette, yet visually powerful. This is an effect I aspire to achieve. What is your proudest moment so far as an artist? Proudest moment for me is having my work show in some private and corporate collections next to Picasso, Warhol, Monet, and Bacon. Are there any historical artists who influence your work? I'm currently inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci after being granted access to see his drawings and notes in the Royal Collection Archives. Hans Holbein the Younger also influences me. He's often underestimated; he was a master draughtsman as well as a painter. Furthermore, he achieved apolitical illusion to some extent, revolutionary at the time of King Henry VIII. The best example of this is his painting “The Ambassadors”. How would you define creativity? I don’t think you can define creativity fully, but I believe creativity is the ability to see things differently from others. It is the ability to transfer your ideas through skills and techniques, into a physical piece of work.


NEWCASTLE

1. Sue Woolhouse, Glass Artist

2. Barrie James, Illustrator

Laura Edgar, Textile Artist lauraedgar.co.uk Which themes do you pursue, what inspires your imagery? Textures, colours and light changes created by the elements all fascinate me. I enjoy using vintage materials in my work and local seascapes, landscapes, nostalgia and memories inspire me greatly. How has your work developed over the years? When I left university I worked as a freelance textile designer, mainly I designed embellished fashion fabrics. After a long break to raise my children, I returned to textiles with my focus leaning towards art more than design. How would you describe your work to others? Mixed media, textile art and accessories. Semi abstract rather than literal in form. What are your goals for the future, where do you see your work taking you? I aim to extend the number of days I have to pursue my art projects, with a long list of techniques I wish to experiment with. I am also looking into teaching workshops. What is the best piece of advice you have been given? To work in a medium you enjoy and create work you like, rather than work you think people want. Always be yourself!

3. Russ Coleman, Sculptor

4. Melanie Hopwood, Ceramicist


DEVON

1. Nina Kleinzeller, Visual Artist

2. Helen Garnett, Painter

3. Clare Norris, Visual Artist

4. Robin Armstrong, Painter

Steph Maclaren, Digital Artist dreemstyletransit.com Why digital art? I switched to digital art (from more traditional mediums like painting) around 7 years ago. It allows me to create many more images than if they were hand rendered. I always have a lot of ideas buzzing around; unfortunately the time I can devote to traditional methods is limited. However I do try to utilize as much as possible, hand drawn/painted elements & textures that are scanned in to a piece. These I feel give my work some soul and help humanize the final image. How do you construct your images? I generally have a loose notion of what I am after and work from the bottom up. Blocks of colour & texture are layered down in Photoshop first, to establish the mood. Occasionally a 'happy accident' may occur where, through toying with certain parameters, I get something that is wildly different from the initial idea. Once a piece is finished I then over-paint on a lot of the elements with a tablet pen to highlight certain details. What inspires your work? I am blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the country down here in Cornwall, so the landscape and seascape plays a large role in informing my work. Music also plays an important role in inspiring me especially whilst I am working on images. How would you describe your artwork? 'Psyched out meanders across a Cornish landscape' would be a good title for a lot of my current work. These images are subtly dark and a little humorous sometimes incorporating my own photography of the Cornish landscape. What are you doing when you are not being creative? Much of my time away from being creative is spent by the coast here in Newquay. I enjoy sea fishing, surfing & skateboarding, time spent on these pursuits invariably ends up with me thinking up quirky work titles for whatever I am working on at home. I also read and get a lot of inspiration from the world of film.


EDINBURGH

1. Kirsty Jones, Sculptor

2. Joanna Lisowiec, Illustrator

Rosita McKenzie, Blind Photographer rositamckenzie.net What is it about photography that you enjoy? I enjoy that my practice and the images I create, take people by surprise. When I first began taking photographs seriously in 2006, there were very few blind photographers around. There were even fewer totally blind female photographers. In fact, even now, some people find it a very difficult concept to grasp. How do you take your photographs? I require sighted help but not someone with a controlling, dictatorial attitude. My photography practice is a holistic undertaking; I therefore require the assistance of people with technical ability and an artistic approach. It is very much a working collaboration of equals! I find working with young artists generally very rewarding. Is it ever frustrating not being able to see your images? Everyone who looks at my images tends to see something different in them. So it could be difficult for me to gauge the quality of my work. However, I am very sensitive to people’s reactions. If for instance, several people are drawn to one particular image, I class that image as a success. Does the description of each image fuel your imagination? Once I have taken my images, I am usually apprehensive and want someone whose opinion I respect to look at them quickly. Only when they have been described to me, can I judge the photo shoot a successful. The moment of revelation is hugely exciting and inspiring! The memory of the photo shoot and the description process afterwards, provides a constant source of inspiration. Do you have any future exhibitions coming up? In September of this year, I will be travelling to Berlin for my first international residency. I will be working with blind photographer Jan Bölsche and filmmaker, Leonard Schmidt on a new collection of work entitled: ‘Common Bond’.

3. Emily McDougall, Visual Artist

4. Trevor Jones, Painter


WALES

1. Caroline Rees, Glass Artist

2. Deborah Procter, Performer

3. Philip Parker, Visual Artist

4. Anne Morgan, Jeweller

Harriet Popham, Textile Artist harrietpophamtextiles.tumblr.com When did you first decide to pursue textiles? I was introduced to free hand machine embroidery and silkscreen printing at college aged sixteen, I have not stopped since. What is it about textiles you love? Textiles are honest. I have always been intrigued by people’s interaction with embroidery. The craft and its association with vast time investments, seems to provoke immense gratitude. I think it’s particularly refreshing at a time where so many of our activities are screen based. Do you prefer textile design, or textile art? I love playing with both. They vary hugely in their pace, technique and their audience. Illustrative textile design keeps me constantly excited. I enjoy getting absorbed in an intricate, lively drawing and love finding ways to mirror, manipulate and repeat it for a wide range of surface applications. Do you exhibit your work? I have done no formal exhibitions yet but I'm currently producing work for a large number of competitions, which lead to exciting exhibition opportunities. Some of my work hangs in shops and restaurants, widening the range of people who commission work from me. I have also taken samples to Indigo Paris, a textile design trade fair, selling several pieces there. The Internet and social networking have provided a brilliant platform for me to showcase my work. Where would you like your work to lead you? In the future, I would like to work freelance, doing illustration, embroidery and design. I hope to be involved with design collectives that support and promote each other. I aim to explore every possible application in the pathways of fashion, interiors and applied arts. To exhibit internationally and maintain my often, overwhelming, enthusiasm for it all would be fantastic. I think every aspiring creative should write out their fantasy life plan, however far removed from reality it may appear, and BEGIN IT!


MANCHESTER

1. Alan Hawkins, Painter

2. Cathy Read, Visual Artist

3. Stephanie Morris, Illustrator

4. Patrick Macaulay, Visual Artist

Stephen Riley, Visual Artist stephenrileyart.com Circles seem to play a key role throughout your work, why are they so significant? There are many ways of approaching this. For one thing, I’m a big fan of Robert Ryman. I love that idea of setting up a question or force-growing ideas through the exploration of a simple set of possibilities; in his case, white paint and/or surfaces, with little else. He got white; I got the circle. It’s also a response to art history and the question of what one can do with so much already done; what should one paint, and how? The circle, therefore, became a site for exploration; a place where I can do anything, but where integration takes place through the repetition of the same shape, regardless of what’s in it. What influences your creativity? Things I see; sometimes unimportant things; things dreamt or half remembered; unexplained arrivals in half-sleep; backgrounds. Architectural space and surfaces seem to matter a lot. But often the source is something I've already done but might have done differently: one piece of work suggests another. Is your work personal or universal? Both, I guess. I do it because I want to, but I can’t escape the world and what’s in it, and nothing I do can escape connotations known to everyone else. Do you like chaos or complete calm when you are creating? Calm. I need peace and quiet. Noise drives me crazy. In three words, what is art to you? Can’t answer that in three words! It's what separates us from the animals; it's what separates us from the need to do useful things; things that matter or earn money. Art's usefulness is its uselessness, because that gives us freedom.


HIGHLANDS

1. Paul Bloomer, Printmaker

2. Jono Sandilands, Designer

3. Steve Dilworth, Sculptor

4. Ruth Brownlee, Painter

Vivian Ross Smith, Visual Artist vivianrosssmith.co.uk Your work seems very interdisciplinary, is mixing materials and techniques a conscious decision? Yes, very much so. My work considers our natural world, especially in extreme and remote locations, so it is very important for me to reflect that with my material choice. Depending on the specific place I am considering, I teach myself skills that are traditionally used in that community and scavenge for materials within that location to be used in my work. We now live in a world driven by technology and traditional types of skills are often forgotten. I strive to keep them alive and relevant through my work. What materials do you like working with best? One material I find myself going back to time and time again is copper sulphate. Copper sulphate is a decaying substance meaning it erodes away surfaces but at the same time adorns them with fantastic bright blue crystals. No matter how many times I use it in a piece, I always become so mesmerised by it. For me it is vital to persistently seek out new materials and to consider how I may use them in my work. I feel the need to broaden my understanding and allow myself to continually learn. Is exploration important to you during the creative process? I think exploration is a key element to all artists’ creative process. My work considers relationships in materials and surfaces, showing similarities and contrasts between the two. A lot of my work is created through experimentation. I use a combination of man-made and natural materials, devoting time to analysing how these materials work together. Do your island surroundings ever inspire your work? Constantly. I am very fortunate to be from Shetland and the island I grew up on, Fair Isle, has definitely been a main inspiration in all that I do. I like to be within extreme conditions, and I always find myself being drawn to islands and especially the sea. Life as an islander is very important to me and it’s the heritage of these closely-knit communities so rich in history, folklore and tradition that are so central to my work. Creatively, is there anything you have not done that you hope to do in the future? The list is endless!


YORKSHIRE

1. Alison Woods, Painter

2. Alan Davis, Glass Artist

3. Judith Davies, Ceramicist

4. Ian Wray, Photographer

Ian Cameron, Visual Artist ifcameron.tumblr.com What drives your creativity? I just love to draw and create images. I am most prolific in my sketchbook, from where I 'big up' images into large framed pieces. Being creative keeps me very busy so there is no time to be bored and the hours and days just fly by. You seem to use a variety of materials. Do you like to experiment? I am always looking to use new techniques and materials so yes, I do like to experiment and push boundaries. What materials do you enjoy working with the most? I always tend to start my work with a wax rubbing of a manhole cover. Onto that I paint a vibrant brusho/watercolour wash in a grid pattern. I then draw my images with dip pen and Indian ink, then the use of collage. The images have a multi-layered quality with plenty of depth. Are there any recurring themes in your work? One of the most evident recurring themes is the fact that I like to draw buildings. I also like to use a touch of humour throughout my work. Does your geographical location ever inspire you? I have produced quite a few scenes of York, which have been popular. Other than that being resident in York is good for the fact that it is an art friendly city.


FIFE

1. Moyra Stewart, Ceramicist

2. Derek Robertson, Painter

3. Bobbie Coleman, Glass Artist

Kirsty Whiten, Visual Artist kirstywhiten.com .

What inspires you? People always inspire me. From childhood faces, behaviours, and what people make have always fascinated me. Does your work contain a personal message, or is it universal? My work couldn't fail to have a personal edge; it's all my observations and my interpretations of people. I hope it communicates directly to as many people as possible. Is there a period, place or person that influences you? There's a huge list of artists and other storytellers who influence me. People who make brave, funny or clinical descriptions of people - such as - Paula Rego, Marlene Dumas, Angela Carter, Frida Kahlo, Kathe Kollwitz, Charles Avery, Robert Crumb, Dana Shutz ‌ Have you been creative since childhood? When I was a child I had a special little table in the corner of the kitchen, especially for my obsessive cutting and sticking. I always got a strange thrill from putting the right (or wrong) things together. What do you hope to demonstrate through your artwork? I hope to demonstrate an attitude of deeply curious acceptance.

4. Lynsey Ewan, Painter


Arts In Britain  

A book celebrating creativity all over the country. Created by Stuart Russell with V Inspired. www.artsinbritain.blogspot.co.uk

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