1-1 INTERVIEW WITH SAM HALL ABOUT HIS ORIGINAL PAINTINGS FOR SALE
THESE PAINTINGS ARE INCREASINGLY IN REALISTIC AND HYPERREALISTIC STYLES
ORIGINAL ART FOR SALE. ORIGINAL PAINTINGS FOR SALE. ORIGINAL ACRYLIC PAINTINGS FOR SALE.
REALISM AND HYPERREALISM
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Maling i Norge ...Originale akrylmalerier av Norge i stiler av realisme og foto-realisme (fotorealisme) av den britiske kunstneren
Sam Hall - Rimelig samtidskunst relevant for Norge og norsk kunst i en realistisk og fotorealistisk stil.
What is the first artwork you ever sold?
“Meson El Tajo” in February 2004 – an infinitely detailed painting of a tapas bar thatI used to go to in Estepona, Southern Spain . It was my first sale and I received £1200 (approximately $2300) for it. Imagine my elation!
Did a particular person or event spark your interest in art?
No, not really. I wanted to be an artist when I was 20 years old and living in Stockholm , Sweden . But I wasn’t committed enough then to live in cellars and attic on the brink of poverty, so I became a journalist instead. Apart from three or four paintings in the seventies, I didn’t begin painting again until I retired in 2002. Since then, it has been a wonderful, if somewhat meteoric ride, and a steep learning curve with gratification all the way. It is a tremendous buzz when somebody likes your work enough to want to buy it – and live with it!
What is the most expensive art related purchase you have ever made?
When my father died in 1978 he left me £8000 ($15,000). I spent half of it taking my wife on a once-in-a-lifetime trip round the Far East and with the remainder bought two paintings – one by Joseph Thors for £2,800 ($5,500) and another ‘Birmingham School’ 19th century landscape for £1200 ($2300). They are worth a lot more than that now – and I have given them to my son, who lives in Sweden .
Do you have a favourite amongst your own artwork?
Yes – usually the last one! “Choristers and Choirboys” is one fravourite because I used to be a chorister at Westminster Abbey when I was a boy. The Abbey always seemed to be in the background of my life and gave me a love of ceremony, history, music and architecture. I painted the choirboys playing soccer in Dean’s Yard, just as I used to do. The Abbey is in the background, just as in life. “The Red Fort” is another great favourite because there is so much of my own life and travels in it. It was inspired by parts of New Zealand , the Himalayas , Tuscany , Spain , Turkey and Bali . If you look at the road, there is a duck shepherd walking along it (he is very tiny in this picture) – and that led me to paint “The Duck Shepherd”, which was based on a house wrecked by the 1953 earthquake in Kefalonia , Greece . These were all early works – I am now concentrating on Nature and the beauty, peace and tranquility that it offers. So, in a way, most of the paintings I have done since September 2010 are my favourites.
Is there any one painting you consider to be your masterpiece?
Yes – “The Majesty of Sienna”. It took two months to paint and is incredibly detailed. I had to copy a 14th century wall painting and, in the process, learn to paint with very thin acrylics to emulate the old style of painting. I was immensely pleased with the result, even though I had to leave out one of the angels. I particularly like the contrast between this exquisite painting and the modern day people milling about beneath it – with most of them not looking at it. For instance, I painted a man sitting in the foreground eyeing up a young lady a short distance away from him. I decided to paint my wife in the picture but got her hand wrong – so I had to give her a walking stick! She wasn’t overly pleased, but I think the painting as a whole is the best I have ever achieved. Another is Pebbles at Magdalena Bay, which was a realistic, hyperrealistic painting that launched me into the Realism and hyperrealism genres. Since then, I think Solitude in Svalbard, Arctic Hunt, Kongsfjord, Alone and some of the 8 x 4.5 inch (20 x 11.5cm) 'miniatures' are my best paintings. Hopefully, I will have to constantly update this answer!
How have you progressed over the years that you have been painting?
Yes, enormously - but it took ten years to reach the stage I am at now. When I began in 2001, I was completely untaught and painted in a naif style. There are still traces of naif or innocent art in my paintings today, especially in the figures that I paint. However, I moved gradually from painting mere 'scenes' into a more serious approach. I want my paintings to be dramatic and'about something' - in other words a major issue, whether that be global warming, politics, economics, poverty, migration, satellites and their effect on our world (and the transitory nature of our lives today thanks to satellite television etc.) In this respect, I became an Altermodernist - trying to grapple with the concept of a world in which every inch of territory is surveilled by satellites, in which our lives are governed by cyberspace, Facebook, Twitter, hyperlinks and so on. I am dismayed by how fleeting everything is today. A major disaster occurs, it is headline news or two days, and a week later the world has forgotten about it. I feel a need to try, at least, to bring a degree of permanence to such issues. But, in a sense, we have moved on from merely living on Planet Earth to a realm in which the entire universe is our 'territory'. Thus, the space-time continuum of Quantum Physics is now very much a part of our everyday lives (and always has been but now we are more conscious of it!) Now, when I paint, I am conscious of all these thing. Having said that, I no longer intend to paint wars, disasters etc but, as I said, to concentrate on stillness, peace and beauty. Most recently, I have drifted almost unawares into painting realistic and even hyperrealistic paintings. I must say Realism and Hyperrealism is very attractive to me.
How long does it usually take you to complete a painting?
That depends on the size and complexity of it. I can complete a small 10 x 8 inch work in one to four days. A 20 x 16 inch painting might take two to three weeks. I am a stickler for detail because I believe detail brings a painting to life and am a great fan of Realism and Hyperrealism. I do not agree with those in the art world who talk about the necessity for ‘fuzzy’ edges etc – although, of course, I adore Impressionism! But each to his own and I will in future paint more realistic, even Hyperrealistic paintings. Also, a large painting such as "Gaza" which is 5ft 3ins x 2ft may take three months to paint.
You seem only to paint in acrylics – why?
Because they are so versatile. You can use them as a watercolour, as a glaze or as an oil. Their intensity and lasting qualities are superb – some say much better, in fact, than oils. However, within the art world there is a degree of snobbishness about acrylics, which says more about the art world than about acrylics! I love the brilliance of them and the fact that they dry quickly. In other words, they are highly flexible. But I also love drawing in ink with a fine pen and occasionally I indulge in painting with watercolours, although I do find them unforgiving. I much prefer to be in control rather than rely on ‘accidents’.
When and where did you first exhibit your work?
At the Norfolk Art Centre in 2004. That was a real thrill, not least because it was so s uccessful.
Have any of your artworks ended up in unusual or famous places?
Yes. "Gaza" was selected to be placed on a giant 30 x 10ft billboard not far from the Tate in London. I have high hopes for "Gaza", which I think deserves to be hung in a museum, an embassy or some major institution because it is a painting in which I am making the plea "Lest We Forget!". The Gaza conflict has been going on for 2000 years (Israel asked the Lord to deliver the Canaanites to him so that he could destroy their cities!) and whenever statesmen visit Israel they are taken to the Holocaust synagogue because the Israelis do not want people to forget (or deny) the Holocaust. It seems to me when the Israelis commit atrocities (however they may justify them), we should not forget that either. There are always two sides to a conflic t and in this one two sides have been wronged and have each committed atrocities. That should never be forgotten. What "Gaza" is all about is to say 'Let's not forget' - and remember that if you believe in the concept of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, you are likely to end up with a nation of blind, toothless people. Having said all that, "Gaza" for all its stark realism is not a painting most people, if anyone, would want on their sitting room wall!
Who or what has been the most influential factor in your development?
Without question – travel! Most of my paintings are of or about places I have visited. Even my fantasy paintings contain elements of my travels. Quantum physics and Japanese Zen painting have also been hugely influential and elements of them also seem to creep into some of my paintings. In terms of great artists who have influenced me, the leading contenders are Canaletto and Bouguereau and so many of the painters belong to the Realism genre. As I have already said, I am now turning much more towards Realism and Hyperrealism. It suits my V!irgoan temperament. Methodical. Finicky. Determined and Patient.
Why do you paint?
Compulsion. I paint because I want to paint, indeed because I need to paint. But I also feel it is important to try to record elements of 20th and 21st century life as they are. There has been a massive swing towards abstract art in recent years, not least because abstract art can be relatively easy to accomplish (although that is not always the case), so representational art has been regarded as being rather ‘old fashioned’ and as a result the art world has neglected what I consider to be its duty to record life as it is. If I as an artist can do that – and do it perhaps with a statement or an ability to draw attention to such issues as global warming, poverty, over population, litter etc – then I shall consider my life as a painter has been worth it.
When did you first start?
I first began painting as a 20-year-0ld back in the late 1950s but never really ‘got going’ with it. I was living in Sweden at the time and if I had persisted I probably would have received all kinds of state grants from the Swedish government and would have a string of exhibitions behind me now. But I did not like the idea of living in cellars and garrets as many of my friends were doing. Moreover, my ambition had always been to be a journalist, so that was the path I followed – ending up as an on-screen television news reporter and anchor for Britain ’s most prestigious news programme “News at Ten”. I didn’t paint again until the 1970s, when I painted two very small pictures. The next time I picked up a paintbrush was in 2002 and even then it was another couple of years before I could consider myself an ‘artist’.
What is your favourite art gallery?
I don’t really have a favourite – I love ‘em all from the smallest local gallery to the great National Galleries of the world. The Uffici in Florence , the Rijksmuseet in Amsterdam , the Louvre and Jeau de Paume Museums in Paris, the National and Portrait Galleries in London are, of course, fabulous.I also love to wander into smal, unpretentiousl galleries around the world. Whilst I am more interested in the great art of the past, which I find hugely inspirational, than in today’s modern art – a fair proportion of which is utter rubbish, I do like a lot of contemporary, abstract and new video art. What I detest is art whose only purpose is to shock or push back boundaries for the sake of it. Visiting galleries wherever you see them, though – on holiday, in town, in a small village – gives you a sense of ‘place’ as to where you are in the hierarchy of art and I never cease to be amazed (and envious) by the abundance of talent.
Have you ever had an art-related disaster?
I have tackled a couple of ideas which turned out to be awful, so I ditched them. I also managed to stick an awl through one of my paintings but fortunately as able to repair and disguise it. I also painted a major picture on an inferior Spanish canvas which, after completion, began to disintegrate. I managed to repair it by coating the back with three coats of Latex. Of course, I had to reduce the price from a couple of thousand pounds sterling to under £1000 ($1950) and would have to let a potential purchaser know about it. Further, I have had many periods when I have forgotten my own uniqueness and tried to become someone else - always failing, of course. The best advice I ever had was to be true to my own uniqueness.
What do you like most about being an artist?
The tranquillity of painting. The process of creation. The sense of excitement and achievement when it goes well. And most of all surprising myself after perhaps a year or two, when I look at a painting and think: "Wow - I painted that!"
Any kind of intrusion into the painting process – and being caught up in the hifalutin' arrogance and snobbery that so many people in the 'Art World' affect.
When and where do you work – do you have a studio?
Yes, I am extremely fortunate. I converted our two-car garage into an office and studio and have wonderful views over our garden, rolling countryside and hills. I paint from about 1030am until 2pm and again from about 5pm until 8.30pm every day, weekdays included – except when I am lecturing on cruise ships or on holiday, or caught up with filling out tax forms and administration.
Have you ever inspired somebody else to become an artist?
I always try to encourage people who are just beginning or having difficulties with acrylics to persist and keep painting. The main thing is to paint, paint, and paint no matter how poor you may think your paintings are. That doesn’t matter. Every brush stroke is a brick in the foundation of a painting career and being insecure about your painting is the mark of potential. People who think they are great artists rarely are; we all have a great deal to learn. We should also bear in mind that none of us will ever be perfect. All we can do is to paint with passion and the rest will take care of itself.
Are there other artists in your family?
Not really. My mother, long since dead, used to paint with watercolours. Many women did in those days. But no … I’m the only one.
Describe your routine on a day when you are painting.
I potter about for up to an hour as if reluctant to get started. It is almost as if I am afraid of painting. But I have an absolute rule: start at 1030am in earnest. I first map out what kind of painting and then sketch it onto the canvas, so that before I apply a brush stroke, I know exactly how the painting will turn out apart from those wonderful moments of inspiration when you paint something spontaneously. Then I turn on the radio or my iPod, choosing music to suit my mood and also the painting. Thus, when I painted “The Majesty of Sienna” I played only sacred choral music for six weeks! Then I just paint, sitting at my easel in my studio, occasionally making cups of Green Tea. I tend not to begin with a tonal painting but work instead from top left to bottom right. Rebellious, I know – but I do not believe the method is as important as the finished product. I keep painting until it feels ‘right’ to stop. More recently, I have begun to use my own photographs as a reference. In other words, I take photographs with a finished painting in mind and so frame the picture very carefully. I then transfer the picture onto a canvas using a projector and a pencil, thus making a rough sketch on the canvas showing where the different elements of the pictures are. I then dump the photograph and paint the picture - thus ensuring that I made it 'my own' with my own sense of detail and colour..
If you could pick just three colours what would they be?
Quinacridone red, Lemon Yellow and Ultramarine Blue. These are what I call minor key colours - and as in music, minor keys add greater interest. That said - I might also use the corresponding major key colours: Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Ultramarine Blue (the only true blue!) You can make pretty much any colour you want from these. Of course, I would also make a plea for Titanium White to get the full range of hues.In fact, the only other colours I use regularly are Burnt Sienna. The fewer colours the better because then you create a harmony in the painting. Tube painters, as I call them, rarely achieve that tonal harmony.
What is in your artistic toolbox?
Acrylic paints, matt medium, water container, lots of Sizes 000-2 brushes, a few larger flats, masking tape for hard-edge painting, scissors, pencils, pen and ink, various sizes of canvasses and watercolour paper, rags, spirit level, set squares (there’s nothing worse than a lopsided horizon!), several easels and a digital camera because I like to photograph the progress of the painting for my diary.
What do you find the most difficult?
I am a very detailed painter. That is my nature, being a Virgo, so I suppose the most difficult thing for me would be to ‘let go’ – to just splash paint around with abandon. I like to be in total control of a painting. Who knows, had I had a different personality I might have splodged paint about all over the place and become a rich man!
Who is your favourite artist?
Brian LaSaga, a Canadian artist, inspires me, as does Joe Hush. I think their work is impeccable and for me a guiding light. Although I have never met him, Brian is my mentor! I aspire to his standard of painting. Other realism and hyperrealism painters I adore are Andrew Wyeth, the New Zealand artist Graham Sydney, J.F.Clauzel, Michael Sass, Conrad Mieschke, Anna Kostenko and William Hagerman. I am also mightily impressed by the young Serbian painter Veljko Djurjevic , whose paintings of mountains and forests are sublime. I love Realism and Hyperrealism, but I also admire David Hockney, who is constantly experimenting with his art. He is also brilliant at promoting his own work. Canaletto is another favourite because he would move buildings around or leave them out altogether and still give you the impression that what he had painted was reality. When you go onto the Internet, you very quickly realise just how much extraordinary talent there is out there, especially in the Realism and Hyperrealism genres. It is quite depressing sometimes! (On the other hand, 90% of the paintings on the Internet belong on a garbage dump, so that is rewarding, too, because by comparing the two you know where you are on the scale yourself).
Many people say there is no point to photorealism. Why not just enlarge the photograph instead? Do you agree with that?
No, not really. Firstly, photo-realism calls for immense skill and inordinate patience. Some artists use airbrushes, digital vectoring, Adobe Photoshop etc. I think these artists produce impressive work and, after all, these techniques are just extensions of the artist holding up his thumb to measure the size of a tree or other object in a painting. The objective for all artists throughout history has been to represent as accurately as possible what they see in front of them, be it a landscape, a still life, portrait or whatever. I do not use any of those techniques. My creative process begins when I take the photograph. I take photos for my diary - and also specifically with a painting in mind. In the latter case, I spent time getting the composition exactly right. I then transfer the outlines of the picture to a board or canvas either using a projector or grid system. I then tend to saturate the colours of the photograph and create a 10 x 8 inch print. I then use the photograph as a reference - but in the process of painting create my own colours and use my own detailing techniques. I do not merely copy the photograph millimetre by millimetre, as do many painters in the Realism and Photorealism genres. And like Canaletto, I am flexible. If I need to move a rock or a tree or even a building, I do so if I think it will enhance the perspective or composition. It is this that makes me a Hyperrealist rather than a Photorealist.
If you could travel back in time at which point in art history would you like to visit?
The 18th and 19th centuries, when art had progressed to an extraordinarily high degree.
What is the best tip you can offer budding artists?
Keep on painting. Each brush stroke is a stroke of experience and learning that you can put in your memory bank. Most of all - Be true to your own uniqueness.Don't copy others. Be yourself!
What is the best thing somebody could say to you about your art?
“It’s wonderful. Name your price, I’ll take the lot and sponsor you!”
What is the worst thing somebody could say?
“What a load of garbage”.
Are you messy or neat when you paint?
I am fastidiously neat and tidy. A clean workplace is a clean painting. I do tend to spill paint on my clothes though – even when wearing a smock and an apron at the same tim, and I have an awful habit of wiping my brush on my knee (which is why I always paint wearing an apron and rag.
Do you display your own art at home?
Yes. My studio is also a small gallery. There isn’t enough room to hang paintings as in a professional gallery, but at least they are on the walls. I have one or two in the house, as well.
Have you ever had a gap where you haven’t done any work and, if so, what made you restart?
I travel a lot. I lecture on cruise ships for about 16 weeks a year but compulsion, an inner need, dries me on. After painting "Gaza", I felt empty and devoid of inspiration. That painting took a heck of a lot out of my physically and mentally. I just didn't know what to paint next - and in fact, due to certain circumstances, It did not paint for 18 months after it. That turned out to be a good thing because it was during that period that I realized that I wanted to paint Nature in all its beauty and stillness - and offer people the peace and tranquility they often crave in today's stressful world. It also launched me onto the path of realism and Hyperrealism. Perhaps a need for recognition is also a driving factor, who knows? I guess everyone would like to leave a mark on the world.
Do you find painting relaxing?
Wonderfully so! When I am absorbed, I am totally consumed. My mind is completely at rest and without thought - yet active, like a coiled spring. It is like being in a state of meditation.
What is your favourite subject and why?
Skies, rolling hills, olive groves, rural scene, detailed grasses etc. I love painting trees, water and rocks. In rocks especially, there is so much colour that in normal life we pass by and do not even see. Seeing this is the art of realism and Hyperrealism - without actually copying the reference photograph.
If money were no object which artwork would you buy?
I think “The Stonemason’s Yard at San Vidal” by Caneletto. Or “ Grand Canal looking South-West from the Chiesa degla Scalzi”, which he painted in 1738. Of course, if money were no object, I would be a collector of all kinds of art - and most especially that of Brian LaSaga for whom I have enormous respect and admiration.
What piece of art has provoked the strongest reaction in you and why?
Probably Tracey Emin’s bed and Damian Hurst’s stuffed animals – so-called art that places turds in glass boxes. Why? Because they have no artistic merit whatsoever. The intention is purely to shock and push back the boundaries. I see no intrinsic value or soul in these works and that angers me because these people win fame and fortune when other artists of immense merit are ignored. That is the desecration of art! It says everything there is to say about the egotistical, snobbish, self-postulating,and self-important aspects of the art ‘world’. For all their gobble-de-gook speak in up-market glossy magazines, galleries and so on, all too many of the so-called elite of this art ‘world’ know very little about real art. I often wonder: how many of them can paint, or create a sculpture? Sadly, the Art "world" is populated by far to many intellectually pompous individuals. They remind me of parrots flying round and round in their cages gradually gathering speed until they disappear up their own backsides.
How would you define art, then?
Ha! A rather heavy German television interviewer once asked Lawrence Durrell that question and Durrell replied: “Well, art is for arting. Fart is for farting!” I think that was the best answer I have ever heard because art is - or should be - about passion, care, talent, composition, colour, balance, perspective, meaning and suchlike. To claim, as so many do today, that the idea alone is the most important if only aspect of an artwork is an insult to intelligence.
What are your future plans? What would you like to achieve?
To follow the advice I give to others: to paint, paint and paint some more in the realism and hyperrealism genres and to be completely and utterly true to my own uniqueness. Obviously, I would like recognition in my own lifetime but it doesn’t really matter. When I began painting, I wanted to be a famous artist. Then I wanted to make money (that will be the day when artists make money!) Thankfully, I’ve grown out o all that now. The only thing that matters is that I paint what I want to paint when I want to paint it – and to keep going, to develop and learn more and more for as long as I can - and hopefully to give pleasure, beauty, peace and inspiration to other people. In short, my plan for the future is to continue painting Realism and hyperrealism - and hopefully to become a recognized and well known realistic and hyperrealistic artist.
Thank you, tt's a pleasure.
ORIGINAL ACRYLIC PAINTINGS FOR SALE
This contemporary artist offers original acrylic paintings for sale and affordable art online. This includes original acrylic paintings and other original artwok for sale. For contemporary wall art please contact the artist who will accept commissions. Original paintings, drawings, direct from the studios of the renowned British Artist Sam Hall or at this online gallery art website.
For his contemporary art home page, please click on www.samhallart.com or go to "Original Paintings For Sale" in the left hand navigational bar.
Norsk Kunst ... Kunst i Norge. Norsk malerkunst ... Norsk Maleri ... Norsk Maling ... Malerkunst i Norge ... Maleri i Norge ... Maling i Norge ... Originale akrylmalerier av Norge i stiler av realisme og hyper-realisme (hyperrealisme) av den britiske kunstneren Sam Hall - Rimelig samtidskunst relevant for Norge og norsk kunst i en realistisk og hyperrealistisk stil.