Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Artist of the Week - Kyla Tomlinson

Kyla Tomlinson produces figures and portraits, expressed in oil and charcoal along with mixed media illustrations, She will be showing her work at the Palace Art and Craft Fair.
At what age did you know you wanted to become an artist? 
It was something that seemed to come very naturally and it never occurred to me to consider anything else! And I am so grateful that it was a talent that was so strongly supported by my family. Cartoon and animated film soon became a massive interest for me, particularly the old classic Disney movies. I was fascinated by how the artists were able to bring to life “cartoon characters” with believable personalities and behaviours, portrayed with such a realism that took you beyond the belief that what you were watching was just a cartoon. 
The thrill for me was the possibility of being able to bring drawing to life-seemed like the perfect combination. So I set my heart on being a cartoonist, until I understood what the term “animator” meant!
Sketching regularly has been a constant training and I continued to develop this throughout my higher education studying both art studies and the moving image. This fascination with character, observation and animation, has stayed with me throughout my life. I have been lucky enough to combine the two by making a career from both animation and portraiture work.

Is being a an artist your only job?At the moment my full-time employment is as an animator, based in Dublin, working on a Disney production. Any spare time I have, I’ll work on personal projects which will vary between illustration, animation, concept development or commissioned work. I have had a varied career. As a freelancer my work is contract based and I’ve had the great fortune of working on many varied projects throughout different studios as well as teaching within higher and primary education.

If you could be anything else what would you be?An actor, dancer or musician. Although I have managed to somehow incorporate this into any spare time that I do have!

One favourite living artist?
David Shrigley, a brilliant, eclectic artist who has worked within drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, animation and m­usic. Best known for his bizarre, witty, humorous cartoons, I love his interpretation of character and his “unique” representation of life.

One favourite historical artist?There are so many, but in terms of portraiture, I always come back to Lucian Freud, for his artistic skill, technique and how he chooses to portray character. Somehow, he was able to create work that to me, never felt static, but luscious, tactile and full of life.

Who / what has had most influence on your work?
I had a fabulous art department at high school. I was extremely lucky. One tutor in particular introduced me to so many artists that I am still influenced by, Lucian Freud, Peter Howson, Jenny Saville, Egon Schelie, John Singer Sargent. But the tutors also instilled a real belief in who we were and how we were going to progress in an art career. It's mainly from these early influences that give me the drive and motivation to succeed. 
I've also always been inspired by those who I work closest to. I've worked with such a range of talented artists and filmmakers that it's hard not to!

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
I've had such a varied career between working in film and TV, exhibiting opportunities and teaching. It’s extremely challenging working as a freelance professional, but the risks that you sometimes have to take, always make it an interesting journey. And I’ve met some incredible people along the way.

What is your most prized item of art / design / craft?
A book I have with doodles that were drawn by my Dad’s mum when she was young, and also some of Dad’s woodwork disasters from school days, they have a certain amount of humour and charm to them. I move around a lot because of work, so unfortunately collecting art pieces just isn’t an option for me at the moment!

What item of design / craft do you covet most?This is more of a structure than an item-low impact housing, better known as “Hobbit Houses”! These are beautiful structures that are crafted from natural materials and built with great consideration to their surroundings. The simplicity in their design, eco-friendly appeal and visual charm make them unique and beautiful pieces of craft.

Last book / film that blew your mind?
The most recent thing I’ve been really excited by, is Derek, a TV sitcom written and directed by Ricky Gervais. Set in a care home, it follows the lives of its residents and their carers. A wonderfully written series which is both intelligent and sensitive, but more excitingly is very honest in its portrayal of character and drama. I find that so refreshing, especially in TV series where so often similar situations could be overly sentimental or clichĂ©d. 

 What are you listening to?  I’m listening to a lot of contemporary indie/folk style music at the moment (Laura Marling/Anais Mitchell) as well as a good bit of stuff recorded from local trad sessions that some of my friends are involved in. I’m dabbling in a bit of singing/songwriting at the minute so I find this kind of stuff really inspirational.

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
I haven’t had a telly for years so often if I want a bit of non-brain action, I’ll visit the internet for a bit of nonsense watching. But I use it daily for a mix of radio, research, blogging and mailing. I am pretty good at keeping a lid on it though!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
At the moment I can’t imagine permanently living anywhere, but if I could, I’d visit every country. At one point I did wonder if this was a ridiculous notion until I came across an article randomly, of a 33 year old from Liverpool who has recently returned after a four year adventure, managing to visit all 201 countries, without using a plane. So I’m not ruling it out.
I’d have a hell of a sketchbook by the end of it!

Where and what is your studio?
At the moment, my studio is where ever I am and whatever space I have at the time. As I move frequently because of my animation work, I have to make do, but I always have art materials with me so I can carry on working.

Three words that describe your feeling of doing your work? 
Mental but happy

Chips or mash?As a Scots lass, I much prefer mashed tatties! (But I’d still have a portion of chips on the side)

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