Monday, 15 August 2011

Featured Artist - Henrik Simonsen

Henrik Simonsen will be exhibiting his work with Art of Treason 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?
I did my foundation in Denmark. First year of my BA I spent in Exeter. Then I went to NYC for 5 months on an exchange program. After that I spent some months in Venice also as part of my BA. The last year of my undergraduate degree was back in Exeter.

My foundation in Denmark was heavy on drawing. We did life drawing everyday and the ease I feel about drawing is surely down to that. NYC taught me the importance of giving it your all and opened my eyes to the variety of artistic expressions. It’s also taught me to dare to believe that you can be a full time artist. Venice gave me a love of colour and techniques. We were taught to make oil paint by grinding down pure pigment and the difference it makes in terms of intensity of colour has to be seen to be believed. It also taught me a wide spread of techniques that dates back to the old masters. Exeter gave me a pier group that still to this day is an important sounding board and support network.

I wish that Exeter had focused more on how you can make it in the art world rather than regarding the commercial side as a threat to the purity of art itself.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?I really do not remember. I do not think it was until I did my foundation it even entered my mind that being an artist was something you could aim to become.

One favourite living artist?
John Virtue. His passion and devotion to his art regardless of fashion and his mastery of technique and texture. He taught me at Exeter and he was an intense personality but also an inspiration.

One favourite historical artist?
Da Vinci … or Michelangelo or Goya .. Sorry can’t pick one and all three of them have the most incredible ability to draw.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?I might sound like a tired cliché but it is from nature. I think this is where my Scandinavian background becomes evident. Scandinavia has a long tradition for art, design and architecture inspired by natural forms. Also books especially fairytales … but really I get inspired by anything from prehistoric cave paintings to flyers.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?Hmm .. luckily that would be the latest piece I am working on. The reason being that’s the work that pushed me towards new challenges and possibilities.

Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?I have not done any collaborations.. but I would be up for giving it a go. The closest I have got is when I spend time in the printing studio with the very talented crew that works on my prints with me. I highly value being able to see not just through my own eyes but also through theirs and in that way benefit from their experience.

At age 16 who most influenced your style?
Films and comic books.

Last book / film that blew your mind?
The film Tree of Life

What music are you currently listening to?
Sufjan Stevens and Bonnie Prince Billy

Who would you say buys your work?
It seems to be anyone from students to architects and designers.

Where and what is your studio?
It is in a converted warehouse in Hove.

Do you have a good work/life balance?I have been extremely busy the last 6 months and work has taken over .. I really need to push back the other way but with lots of deadlines and the fact that I really love working it is difficult.

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

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
If I was not an artist I would have got involved with humanitarian and charity work.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
Lousianna in Denmark, it is the most beautifully located and designed Museum in Denmark. It was the first art gallery I ever visited. I must have been about 6 and I still remember that first visit. Showing there would for me personally count for more than even the greatest galleries and museums in NYC or London.

Any other relevant information?
I would like to tell everyone that has a dream of becoming an artist, ballet dancer … writer … whatever it may be, that it can be done and do not listen to all the people that tell you that it is an impossible dream. What other people sees as impossibilities are their limits. They do not become yours until you start believing in them. I think we all are cable of so much more than we dare to think.

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