November 11 2011 Sara
See more work at www.AlexStorer.artweb.com
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I’m a Sheffield-based artist/designer/illustrator. Despite working as a professional graphic designer since 1997, my roots are in fine art and my passion has always lay in creating science-fiction and fantasy artwork. I’m a geek at heart and an avid SF reader!
How and when did you start out as an artist?
My design career took over for a long time, and it wasn’t until 2008 when I tried using a graphics tablet for the first time since leaving college in 1997, that I instantly fell in love with digital painting! It was then that I knew it was time to pick up where I’d left off.
What training did you have?
After school I went to art college for three years; I took a year of fine art, before moving into computer graphics.
What has been your best creative achievement so far?
I had my first painting on public display in September this year, at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond-Upon-Thames. My piece ‘Awakening’ was chosen as part of ‘Brave New Worlds’, an exhibition of utopian and dystopian art. The gallery curators had to select just 25 pieces out of over 500 submissions, so I’m very proud to have been chosen.
Who is your favourite artist?
I’ve always admired artists such as Chris Moore, Tim White and Jim Burns, but it is really the space art of David A. Hardy that inspires me the most. I grew up in awe of a large print of his work that I still have today. I’ve been lucky enough to have met David twice and we keep in touch by email, which I really appreciate.
What are you aiming for?
Whatever I can get! I would absolutely love to get into book cover illustration. One of the first things I do when browsing the shelves for a new book is look at the cover artwork – I’ve discovered many a fantastic book that way.
How will you get there?
Probably with a lot of frustration, disappointment and determination! I’m currently using social media platforms to raise awareness of my artwork and website – we’re at an interesting time now thanks to the internet, where people can be viewing your work and commenting on it from the other side of the world.
You and art
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It varies from piece to piece. I’ve completed a painting within a couple of hours, and others have taken a couple of weeks. By nature, I’m impatient, so it’s very easy for me to announce a piece as finished and realise not long after that it needs more work! It’s always difficult to know for sure when a piece is complete – those finishing touches could go on forever!
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
Music for me is an important influence; I need the right music for the mood of the piece. For painting I generally prefer instrumental music – I’m a lifelong fan of Jean Michel Jarre and Mike Oldfield – their music often provides a perfect accompanying soundscape. Otherwise you’ll find me listening to artists like Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Gary Numan, John Foxx – always textured and atmospheric stuff; like a good painting!
What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?
I’ve just produced a limited edition set of 4 postcard prints of some of my work, which is available via my website, and I’m also looking for local exposure in the Sheffield and Derbyshire area. I’m also considering attending some conventions next year as an exhibiting artist.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Peter Gabriel – seeing his album cover artwork and song videos when I was about 15 was one of the integral influences in my career decision as a designer. Not only do I love Gabriel’s music and the imagery that goes with it, but I’ve always found him and his work ethics to be very inspiring.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
As a science-fiction fan, whatever I’m reading often inspires what I’m painting. I’ve produced a few pieces that illustrate particular scenes from books that have made a big impression on me. I’ve always been interested in visions of the future and space exploration as well as the imagery of dreams. I’d like to think this all converges through my artwork.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
Probably ‘Awakening’ – my wife bought me the the H.G. Wells novel, ‘When the Sleeper Awakes’, which I’d never heard of, and it blew me away. ‘Awakening’ illustrates a pivotal scene from the book. The painting was almost aborted on several occasions, and it became very difficult to produce, but it eventually came together pretty quickly and ended up being one of my best pieces to date. And then it was then chosen for the ‘Brave New Worlds’ exhibition, so I’ve good reason to be proud of this particular painting.
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
Only what most artists will tell you – believe in your art. Find your style – it doesn’t have to be completely realistic – if the end result draws the viewer in and triggers the right emotions, then regardless of how technically good you think you are, it’s done it’s job. Plus you never stop learning, there’s always something new to learn especially with digital art, in every new piece.