Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I have always loved art, even at school, but was not allowed to study it there as the stupid education system made me do things that bored me to death.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career? What training did you have?
After school, I spent many years doing jobs that I hated, before I came back to art and did a Foundation Course in Art and Design in Preston and later a degree in Fine Art in Leeds which I loved. We were given no practical advice on how to survive as an artist that I remember and so really didn’t have a clue how to go about getting an exhibition or approaching galleries, but just struggled on anyway and created art around whatever job I have had to do to survive. Many artists now seem to be more art career orientated, but I have always just made art because I love doing it and if the odd person buys it, then it’s the cream on the bun.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I lived in London, but I’m much happier now living close to the sea in East Sussex where the landscape has been a constant inspiration to my art and affected the way I work, the subjects I paint and the way I paint them. My partner has created a wonderful garden which has lots of visitors and my studio is a big shed at the bottom of it.
You and art
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work? What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I often work on two or three pictures at once placing the canvasses on the wall as I paint and listening to loud music nearly always, which ranges from The Smiths, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, The Pet Shop Boys and just about everything else.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
Often, I paint over pictures many times, sometimes allowing the previous pictures to show through in fragments creating a multi-layered effect and I enjoy allowing the paint to flow freely creating an element of accident in the works also. Recently I have used pieces of driftwood from the beach to form part of my textured abstracted beach scenes.
I am a keen photographer and take many images, some of which inspire paintings or act a starting point for an artistic exploration.
At present I have been very busy getting work ready for an open studio/house event called Artwave which is the Lewes district arts festival along with thirteen other artists whose work is scattered amongst the fabulous garden setting. Last year I exhibited in the Mall Galleries in London in both the Threadneedle Prize and the Discerning Eye exhibitions as well as The Cork Street Gallery, Pelham House and the Hop Gallery in Lewes and the Towner Gallery in Eastboune.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Artists who have inspired me include the obvious greats of Matisse and Picasso, but I also love Miro, Klee, Hockney, Bacon and Haring. Allegiances have shifted over the years, but I have never been much turned on by minimalist or dry conceptual art I often (not always) find dull.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
One of my favorite subjects of the past few years has been caravans (there are two sites opposite where I live) and I have created a series of works which explore there abstract qualities, the patterns and their peculiar characters. Other subjects include ‘beach people’, the shingle, the cliffs, the sea and the soft undulating landscape that surrounds me.
an artist’s advice
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
I continue to paint, create, take photographs and show my work where I can.
Check out more of Mark Glassman’s artwork at www.markglassman.org.uk