Thursday, 7 July 2011

Featured Artist - Keith Gretton

In the 1990s, Keith Gretton started making brightly coloured ceramic heads. Then, these developed into mostly monochrome, more expressionistic sculptures. Keith is still interested in making figurative pieces, but is beginning to experiment with colour again on stoneware paperclay. Keith will be showing his figurative ceramic sculptures and related paintings and drawings at the Brighton Art Fair in September.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
Stafford College of Art. How to look. I regret that just because I did not like the tutor I did not do Sculpture as my main subject.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I always wanted to make art from my time in primary school, an early memory is of seeing my picture of an escaped barrage ballon knocking the chimney of a neighbours house. But later in the 1990's I knew that for the rest of my time I wished to explore figurative sculpture.

One favourite living artist?
Mimmo Paladino. I find that the ways in which he mixes figuration and abstraction both complex and exciting.

One favourite historical artist?
William Hogarth. His paintings of people have a life force and are alive while at the same time retain retaining the richness of oil paint.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
From the materials I work with which is at present stoneware clay I attempt to make the clay come alive.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
Working with students in their final year when I had a great team of very diverse lecturers.

Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
For 18 months I worked with a client who wanted a chess set that reflected visual art in all the pieces, for example the Knights were based on the Leonardo fighting horses and the Bishops on Bacon's Screaming Pope.

At age 16 who most influenced your style?
My art teacher who painted like Utrillo and with allowed my to help him paint sets for the regular school plays and operettas.

Last book / film that blew your mind?
With my love of fantasy Frankenstein and Harry Potter.

What music are you currently listening to?

Who would you say buys your work?
My buyers range from children in love with the tiny heads to people with a garden or other space they wish to fill with a work that they have fallen in love with, a number are repeat buyers who have built up a small collection over the years.

Where and what is your studio?
The crowded loft of my home.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Most of the time.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
It should get easier but it never does. Sorry not one word.

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
There is nothing else.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
A gallery where unlike at an Art Fair I could display my work with space around.

Any other relevant information?
At 76 I hope to be fit enough to go on working for many years and hope that Sothebys will sell more of my work in the future.

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