Thursday, 17 September 2009

Artist of the Week - Hilary Thorpe

One favourite living artist? Why?
This would have to be Fred Cumings. Fantastic colours and spontaneity of mark making.

One favourite historical artist? Why?
One of my favourite artists is Oscar Kokoshka. I especially enjoy his town and landscape paintings. I just love the way he paints, the brush strokes, the activity in the paintings, there's always something new to see. I enjoy the fact that he has painted in some of the places I like to paint.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I remember sitting on a cliff at Port Isaac in about 15 years ago. I sat in a natural, grassy seat in the cliff. The sea was crashing below, the spring sunlight was warming and I was painting a picture down the cliff that was going really well. I think I realised then, that I could combine my love of the outdoors, the sea, with an occupation that I enjoyed and seemed good at.

What place in the world has inspired you?
The Solent, which is the stretch of water between the mainland and the Isle of Wight, will never cease to give me pleasure. The changing light and weather always bring new images and surprises. When I first started to paint seriously I often traveled between college in Farnham and the Isle of Wight. I usually painted during the trips especially on the ferry. I still love painting on the ferry or sitting on the sea front at Cowes

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I seem to work best on my own and have rarely sought the company of other people. I paint mostly on location and it is usually a very solitary experience for me.

At age 15 who influenced your style?
I was still climbing trees and reading the Beano at that age…

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
If I am ever tempted to paint for the market it invariably backfires, but it's difficult sometimes not to be influenced by outside opinions. When I first started to work as an artist full-time, I promised myself that if I ever got to the stage where I was churning out work just so that it would sell and wasn’t enjoying it, I would give up and work in a bar. So far I have managed to keep painting! I constantly challenge myself with new locations. I always try to paint from the heart, and the work produced as such is always the most popular

Who would you say buys your work?
My clients are broad, right from my local friends who save up to invest in my work, to some of the local second home owners, some of who can walk in to my exhibition and spend 100's of pounds at the drop of a hat. On the whole up until now I have sold my work myself, running annual shows in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Consequently I have attracted people that are attracted to my work, and not people who rely on the reputation of the gallery.

How do you set about starting a new project?
New projects usually involve traveling and may come as a result of a conversation, reading something in a paper or opportunities that are offered to me. They mostly involve logistics, money and lots of planning. My 3-month residency in Bermuda was quite a gamble. Recently I have been working on some paintings in my studio, which is a new experience for me. I find I am slow to work through ideas, and I spend a lot of time thinking things through, and surprisingly little time actually putting paint on the paper.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is the big outdoors. But I have a room in my house that I use as my 'workshop' It’s a small bedroom and not big enough for some of the new studio paintings I am working on! I also have my ageing camper van and I have sometimes sat inside in extreme weather (very hot or very stormy) and painted from there.

Do you have a good work/life balance?

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Would you rather be doing something else?
Not really, but when I do feel I would rather be doing something else, I do

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work?
I trained as a weaver, and I worked as a weaver (alongside my painting) for around 12 years. It didn’t make me a living. If I were able financially to do less painting I would probably get back to some weaving.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
My own

Most overrated artist/maker?
I don’t have an opinion on that one

Where do the majority of your inspiration / ideas come from?
A continual, analytical overview of the environment around me.

Where did you train? Favourite / least favourite aspects of training? West Sussex College of Art in Farnham, Surrey. (Now University for the Creative Arts). I trained in Textile design and have a degree in weaving. I studied in my late twenties.I loved the fact I could totally immerse myself in my work without the distraction of making a living, and the wealth of facilities and tutoring that was available. My least favorite aspect was the fact that I was always doing something for someone else to judge. It took me some time after leaving college to be able to do work that just pleased me.

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.
Last year I had what I called my ‘development’ year. Instead of having my normal solo-show in September and other exhibitions I had a sort of year out to enable me to concentrate on some new ideas. So here’s the last 24 months to give a better representation:

Work in Group Show, Cowes, Combined Clubs, I.O.W
Solo Exhibition of Paintings, Combined Clubs, Cowes, I.O.W
‘Open Studios’ – Exhibition of paintings from East Coast of the US

Work in Group Show, Cowes, Combined Clubs, I.O.W
‘Open Studios’ – Exhibition of paintings from Scotland

Solo exhibition with the Masterworks Foundation, Bermuda
Solo Exhibition of Paintings, Combined Clubs, Cowes, I.O.W.
Solo Exhibition of Paintings from the North Cornish Coast, The Camelford Gallery, N. Cornwall
Work accepted in Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
Solo Exhibition, Hepsibah Gallery, Shepherds Bush, London

No comments: