Monday, 18 June 2012

Artist of the Week - Hugh Ribbans

Hugh Ribbans produces woodcuts and linocuts, mixing heavily grained wood - often driftwood - and lino in his prints. Hugh will be exhibiting at the Brighton Art Fair.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I trained at Canterbury College of Art in the early sixties when you had to pass an exam in everything from Life Drawing to Architecture - the training was heavily drawing-based and so I suppose that has stood me in good stead over the years - I would have liked a bit more of a commercial insight as I was destined for the commercial art world.

Is being an artist your only job, or do you have other employment?
I have been a designer/illustrator/printmaker since 1963 but now I am a full time printmaker.

One favourite living artist?
Peter Blake. He was at his Pop Art peak in the sixties and seventies when I was working in London advertising agencies in the Carnaby Street area. We went to his launch previews at all the galleries. He was and still is a constantly innovative creative practitioner.

One favourite historical artist?
Like many printmakers I am very much influenced by the work of Edward Bawden. He was a truly commercial artist but always holding on to a fine art pedigree.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
I have been asked to produce many interesting linocut commissions - for a national brewer, a museum collection of stuffed animals and currently for the national fruit collection in Kent. I had a bit of fun with an enlarged linocut on a banner to feature on a lamp post on London's South Bank - of a green woodpecker - 25 feet deep and pecking at the post. Another fun job was redesigning Blackpool Tower Aquarium.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
It would be daunting but inspirational to work with Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden on one of their famous murals.

At age 16 who most influenced your style?
I would spend hours looking at the bold poster work of Tom Eckersley.

What music are you currently listening to?
I am currently playing Dory Previn and the work of Eric Coates in my car.

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
The internet is a delicious curse.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I am happy with my home base now but if I was younger then the Far East (Bali?) might appeal.

Where and what is your studio?
I have a studio/workshop in my house on Conyer Creek near Faversham in Kent. This is home to my Columbian press.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I think maybe I am getting it right at last.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
When a print is going well - complete satisfaction. Until it is finished and then it's on to the next one to do it better.

What would your dream commission be?
A complete hand printed book with linocut illustrations and metal typesetting of the poems of John Betjeman.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
To achieve an improvement on 'Selected but not Hung' at the Royal Academy.

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