Monday, 27 September 2010

Artist of the Week - Dan Llywelyn Hall

Dan Llywelyn Hall's paintings from his most recent series including 'Heads of Women' and 'Juxtapositions' will be exhibited at the inagural Palace Art Fair.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I trained at the University of Westminster, Harrow Campus. I was fortunate to have a printmaking workshop at my disposal and spent most of my time screen-printing. I suppose I learnt that I really could live as an artist and that there are many ways to do so. It was a luxury to go to the studio each day and not worry a jot about where the money would come from. I only wish university taught me how to handle money more wisely!

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
One night around 5 years ago I was begining to feel a little disillusioned with painting. I remember one night when there was this most spectacular red moon that seemed huge outside my pokey flat window. I literally spent the next two hours chasing it from street to street with watercolours and a roll of paper in my arm. I simply had to find a spot to paint it! By the time I completed the painting sat on someone's driveway I felt prettry sure I could keep myself busy for a lifetime doing such things.

One favourite living artist?
George Condo. He strikes the balance well between reverance of the past, playful in his medium and visionary in his outlook.

One favourite historical artist?
Chaim Soutine. His paintings seem to be a direct translation of his soul. I am totally gobsmaked when I study his surfaces and always learn more about painting.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
Travel is always a great way of rejuvinating the ideas bank. I like exploring the world and seeing how I fit in amongst it - it helps to broaden ones horizons.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
I was fortunate to be commissioned to paint some murals on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean. I even managed to thumb a lift by Paul McCartney after some painting on one of the beaches. It was a surreal place and certainly a paradise island. My murals - although a physical challenge - were a success and adorn the guestrooms in 'Taliesin' for those of you fancying a visit.
Do you work mostly on your own? Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
I have worked on several collaborations with writers and visual artists. My first serious exhibition was a touring exhibition in collaboration with poet Owen Sheers. I found the interchange of ideas refreshing and helped open up new perspectives on my work. Apart from exhibitions designated to a collaboration I find the only way to actually go deeper into ones ideas is to spend time alone and avoid distractions!

At age 18 who most influenced your style?
At 18 I guess I was very drawn to the illustrations in a book called Masquerade. I was perplexed with the images as they were essentially a visual puzzle. It demonstrated how powerful and multi-layerd images can become. In terms of painters, I guess Rembrandt was my first exploration of another artist's work. I loved isolating sections of his paintings and seeing how rich the surfaces were and the potential of paint.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
I have thought about it once or twice with certain paintings being 'popular' but fortunately always steered clear of bending my vision.

Who would you say buys your work?
They are (thankfully) usually interesting people who have a knowledge about painting. People I enjoy talking to. My work does not tend to scream out so they are normally quite observant, sensitive people... I have to say that!

Where and what is your studio?

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I think I do. I probably try a little hard at squeezing life in around my work - this generally means late nights!

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

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
Playing the piano in an exotic bar somewhere hot.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
The Guggenheim in Venice. It's a very beautiful meandering space that is manageable and intimate. Plus Venice hits all the right notes for me.

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.
'BP Portrait Award' - National Portrait Gallery, London
'Transfiguration' - National Gallery of Wales, Cardiff
'Transfiguration 2' - Guildhall Art Gallery, London
'Juxtapositions' - Old Speech Room Gallery, Harrow School

Any other relevant information?
I have work in the collection of the Imperial War Musuem, Royal Collection, National Museum of Wales and Contemporary Art Society of Wales.

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