International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST:: ADAM BRANT

 

Introduce yourself and your art.

I’m a visual artist specialising in painting and drawing.  My work explores the relationship between the past, present and future.  I’m influenced by the tradition of still-life painting, and use objects and environments as starting-points to create images which investigate space and time.

 

I graduated with a Fine Art degree in 2002 from the University of Hull (Scarborough Campus).  I can recommend studying by the seaside – it’s as fun as it sounds!

 

During my studies I was lucky enough to spend a month at the Cyprus College of Art as part of a student exchange programme.  Finding inspiration in the ways the modern world impacted the ancient history of the island helped me to establish my identity as an artist.

 

My art practice can generally be divided into two work streams:

-  Conceptual series of work created in response to a theme (over months and years)

- Observational one-off work created in response to an object or image (over a few days).

 

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

‘Taut’ was inspired by receiving a Spirograph set as a Christmas present.  I often receive art related gifts (including art materials and books, as well as completely unexpected items such as an Etch A Sketch and the Spirograph!).

 

The idea for the postcard developed after seeing the Spirograph back in the art studio alongside other more traditional artist materials.

 

What was your intention for your postcard?

Over recent years I’ve been exploring different ways to combine painting and drawing within a single art work.  The intention was to challenge myself to use the Spirograph as the starting-point for the postcard as part of this exploration.  I didn’t use a Spirograph when I was young (I’m discounting trying out my sisters when she wasn’t looking!), so the aim was to see what I could make out of my unskilled efforts in using this new tool.

 

Is this your first exhibition and if yes, how do you feel about it?

This is not my first exhibition, but it is the first time my work is being exhibited in 2017!  It’s always exciting to be involved in a group show and see your art alongside the work of others.  It’s also a great way to connect with like-minded and supportive creative people.

 

My work has been exhibited in various locations across the UK, as well as in Norway and America (and is currently more well-travelled than I am!).

 

It can be daunting getting your work out there. I’ve been both successful and unsuccessful when submitting work for exhibition.  My advice to anybody creating art work is:

-  Do it because you love it.  If your work becomes recognised and appreciated by others that is great, but don’t let be the reason you produce work

-  Don’t be disillusioned if your work isn’t always successful.  Learn from previous experiences and stay inspired – you never know what exciting opportunities that next piece of work might lead you to…

 

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

My work expresses experiences of space and time, and how these experiences impact how we connect to the world around us.

 

I join objects that already exist in the world from the past and present together for the first time.  By expressing my personal response to that connection, a new object is created with its own future in the world.  ‘Taut’ is no exception and represents:

-  The past (a plastic monster figure collected from a cereal box as a child)

-  The present (the Spirograph received as a Christmas present)

- The future (the postcard itself).

 

What artists inspire you?

I’m inspired by many different artists but if I had to pick one it would have to be Jenny Saville.  You can get a sense of the history of painting within Saville’s work so it also reminds me of other artists who inspire me such as Seventeenth century Dutch still-life painters, Picasso, and Lucien Freud.

 

The commitment of Saville to painting and drawing techniques fascinates me.  I treated myself to an expensive book about her work many years ago (I couldn’t really afford at the time, but it was a great investment). It has fantastic close-up photographs of the brushwork within her paintings.

 

I always turn to this book whenever something isn’t going well with my own work, and it usually leads me to resolving whatever artistic challenge I was facing.

 

What research do you do for your art works?

Research for my art work tends to be focused on local history, supernatural phenomenon, and my day-to-date interactions with the world around me.  This informs the theory of my work and provides visual inspiration.

 

My methods of researching vary - from looking-up information on the intranet, to visiting local libraries, to taking photographs of places I visit.

 

I love stationery so have more notebooks than is necessary to write down ideas and record information.  I tend to capture visual research information using a digital or phone camera as it is so convenient.  These have gradually replaced keeping a more traditional sketchbook.

 

I aspire to get back to keeping a sketchbook as they are a great archive of source material (I still refer to ideas from sketchbooks I created during my student days).

 

Do you have a creative routine/pattern?

I have a full-time office job to ensure the bills are paid so my art practice is planned around this.  It can be challenging juggling work, family and social commitments with time spent in the art studio.  Finding a healthy balance isn’t always easy.

 

I try to ensure I have a balanced schedule of time in the studio with time spent away from my art work.  Despite this I do still sometimes fall victim to deadline pressures (and have been known to stay up for 24 hours to get an art work finished!).

 

In the past I would feel guilty about not producing art work at every opportunity.  Now I have a more realistic routine of making sure I do at least one activity related to my art practice each day.  This can range from:

-  A few minutes spent updating my website or social media pages

-  A few hours spent researching concepts or sketching out ideas

-  A whole a day spent totally absorbed in painting a canvas.

 

It’s amazing what progress can be made from even doing only one task each day.

 

What are you trying to communicate with your postcard?

There isn’t a specific message I hope to communicate with ‘Taut’, but hope people can relate to the postcard in some way whether that be:

- Recalling memories of using a Spirograph

-  Wondering what the drawn figure and colours represent

-  Thinking about how the ink and paint has been applied to the paper.

 

I often use one-word titles to suggest rather than describe what the work expresses about my own experiences.  I hope people can take away something from my work that makes them challenge and reconsider their preconceptions.

 

You can discover more about my work via the following links:

Website: www.adambrant.co.uk

Facebook: Adam Brant – visual artist (www.facebook.com/abrantartist/)

Twitter: @brantus (www.twitter.com/brantus)

Instagram: @a_brant_artist (www.instagram.com/a_brant_artist)