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All about Tagsmart: An Interview with CEO Lawrence Merritt

Lawrence Merritt Tagsmart CEO

Lawrence Merritt is CEO of Tagsmart, the people behind the fantastic Certificates of Authenticity that come with every purchase made on Buy Art | Buy Now

Anna Preston speaks to the CEO of the start-up tackling fakes and forgeries in the art world.


Tagsmart is an invaluable resource for the contemporary art market, assuring trusted providence and authentication. What first attracted you to the Tagsmart ethos?

I’m passionate about solving old problems and creating new experiences through technology; fakes and forgeries have plagued the art world for hundreds of years and on a rational level, this drew me to Tagsmart. It also struck me as odd that such a modest share of the wealth in art accrues to artists; Tagsmart empowers artists by allowing them to legitimise their creations and this drew me to Tagsmart on a more emotional level

Can you briefly explain what Tagsmart involves relating to Mall Galleries’ Buy Art | Buy Now service.

One of the biggest concerns online buyers have about buying art is the lack of standards around Certificates of Authenticity; independent 3rd party research has shown this again and again. Tagsmart aims to solve this problem by establishing a new standard for Certificates and we have partnered with Mall Galleries who now present our Certificate with every online purchase. The Tagsmart Certificate is compelling because it's loaded with anti counterfeiting technology, uniquely signed by the artist and twinned with a digital  version which means it's a great enhancement that helps to position Mall Galleries at the leading edge of e-commerce and better able to meet the needs of its customers

What does being a Tagsmart CEO involve day-to-day, and what do you enjoy most about working with contemporary artists and art businesses?

Being a startup CEO brings many challenges and joy; the key priority is to remain fixed on the vision which is to make fakes and forgeries obsolete but flexible about how we achieve this; there is no playbook given that we are the only company in the world doing this which means it’s important to move quickly, learn fast and stay focussed. But the most exciting thing about my job is meeting contemporary artists and talking to them about their motivations and message; their ambition to continually challenge the status quo is inspiring and infectious. Great art does this and in many ways this is the ideology of Tagsmart

Have you always been in the art world, or passionate about art?

I am new to the art world though I’ve now been a part of it for almost two and half a years; historically I’ve been more passionate about the business of art than the art itself which makes me a philistine I know though recently I have developed a fondness for art with, lets say, a political, social and subversive focus that makes you challenge the mainstream media narrative or what passes as conventional wisdom. On a more casual level, when on holiday with my family in Mallorca over Easter, one of the first things we did was visit the Pilar and Joan Miro Foundation, where we saw Miro’s works, his home and his studio. I loved it.

How are you planning on taking Tagsmart forward and expanding it?

I believe there is a battle raging for the soul of the art market with progressives on the one side fighting for change and modernisation; we stand with them. It’s interesting to note that the global art market hasn't grown in value over the last decade despite a huge rise in the global middle class and the sheer number of millionaires; it's in all our interests to bring more openness and transparency into the art market to encourage more people to buy art for the first time and enhance the overall salience of art within popular culture. Our mission is to help enable this by allowing all artists, from all over the world to seal their works with our tags and offer all buyers 21st century peace of mind

 

Curator's Choice: Anna McNay

Anna McNay

Anna McNay, art writer and editor, tells us of seven works from Buy Art | Buy Now which stood out for her.


Anna McNay is an art writer and editor. She is Assistant Editor at Art Quarterly (Art Fund’s magazine), former Deputy Editor at State Media and former Arts Editor at DIVA magazine. She contributes regularly to Studio International, Photomonitor and Elephant magazine and has been widely published in a variety of other print and online art and photography journals and national newspapers. She has written numerous catalogue essays, including for the Royal Academy of Arts. She regularly hosts panels and in conversation events at galleries and art schools and has judged numerous art prizes, both nationally and internationally. 

Follow Anna on Twitter and see an archive of her writings here.

Browse Anna's Choices Now


Nicholas McLeod

Untitled_1, £385

When I first saw this piece, I thought it must be photography of some kind or other, so was surprised and enthralled to discover it is a pencil and charcoal drawing. The suggestion of light is so dramatic and astounding and it looks as if it were light itself dancing across the page and making the marks.


Gary Ramskill

Winter Sunset on Lake Windermere, £165

The ripples on the lake and the pastel pinks and blues create a sense of cool, evening calm. The influence of Japanese woodblock printing echoes in this very Lake District-y scene.


Andrew Farmer

Manchester Nocturne, £435

The daubs of colour in this impressionistic painting evoke the lights of a bustling city in a gentle and romantic way, precisely as the nocturne of the title demands. There is something absorbing, calming and appealing about this work.


Zena Assi

I don't want to straighten my hair, £1,100

This mixed media work leapt out at me immediately from the website. There is something in the sitter’s eyes and posture that demands attention – her beauty and defiance and silent inner strength.


Karen Read Coley

Harvest Moon, £390

I love the use of brushstrokes and fluid paint to capture the stillness and yet simultaneous transience of the flickering shadows cast by the silhouetted treetops in the light of the harvest moon. I can feel the chill air on my cheeks and a tingle down my spine when I look at this work.


David Allen RSMA

Frosty Morning, Fenns Moss, £1,350

This pastel work gives me hope. The warmth of the light, bursting through the barren trees and thawing the frozen moss to a soft, damp carpet, brings with it the promise of a new day, full of possibility.


Michael Weller

Three Boats, £600

I love the simplicity of this work and how so few marks can evoke such a strong image. Even one colour can transform into both air and water when appropriately juxtaposed with daubs of a white cloud and a grey rock. This work is evidence that less can most definitely be more.


Browse Anna's Choices Now

Image credit

Gary Ramskill, Winter Sunset on Lake Windermere (detail)

Artist Spotlight : Frances Bell

Chestnut in the morning light by Frances Bell Buy Art

Frances Bell is a Northumberland-based, Florence-trained portrait painter who has exhibited regularly at Mall Galleries with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.  Perhaps most well-known for her portraits, it is her painterly landscapes of the Northumberland farmland that have gone down a storm on Buy Art | Buy Now.  Mall Galleries' Anna Preston talks to Frances about animals, portrait painting and capturing her working process in time-lapse films.

 

Browse Frances Bell's work now

 

You have seven oil paintings on Buy Art | Buy Now, comprising a selection of seascapes and animal-inhabited landscapes, four of which have sold. Can you tell us a little more about the works and why you chose them to feature on the site?

My love of landscape and animals stems from a lifelong interest in the countryside and the painters who’ve represented our rural environment. I’ve always lived rurally, so I feel an affinity with farm animals in their created habitats and how they interact with the human world. It’s not that I particularly knew that animals would be appropriate; it’s more that the landscape themes inspire me most currently and I’m pleased that they are appealing to the Mall Galleries’ online audience.

You are also a renowned portrait painter, with works featuring in the upcoming RP exhibition including a self portrait. Your portraits seamlessly tie together traditional and more modern, experimental methods of human portrayal. What is the secret to painting a good portrait?

Portraits are unscripted real-life interactions between painter and sitter lifted onto canvas. I sometimes have an overarching narrative to a painting (I once painted a Primavera that commentated on which side of the easel women have historically occupied) but most commentary creates itself within the mind of the viewer, so I often simply construct real spaces within which the painted figure can dominate. I start with an idea of what light and atmosphere most interests me or my client, and build from there. I look to make a likeness correct and impart as much character as I can, which comes over the course of the sittings from life and conversation. I have an oscillating view of painting self portraits. I am both sitter and painter, and this is an odd position. Portraits of others often seem more dynamic due to the integration of both people, but self portraits are a curious thing to pursue, and I’ve enjoyed my recent attempts.

You trained in the ‘classical tradition’ in Florence at Charles Cecil Studios from 2001 to 2004. What is the ‘classical tradition’ and how has it informed your present technique and aesthetic?

My training was purely figurative, in the style of a classical atelier. We drew casts, busts and the nude intensively for a year before we even used paint. Then we continued in paint with the nude and portrait models for another two years or so. The training borrows from an Old Masters tradition of intense drawing and observation from life. We used the 19th century Sight Size technique, but 17th century masters probably used the same ideas of looking at models from a distance and painting alongside each other. The training equipped me for painting direct from life and using my eye to make measurements, rather than relying on tools. I use my training in every painting I paint, and it’s been an amazing tool box with which to proceed through ideas and phases of my artistic life.

I would ask about your creative process but you have some brilliant time-lapse videos on your website. How do you think these make your works more accessible, and do you have any other technological innovations up your sleeve?

Technology is a great boon to artists, especially the rural painter, to get the word out. I use time-lapse and progress stills to show the painting process. This is helpful to sitters, so they know what to expect, but is also a way of putting your process out there for all to see. I love watching other artists’ videos and social media feeds, as one would never know how other painters work otherwise.

Finally, what is next for you as an artist?

I am a compulsive painter! So as for the future, I will be doing some more portraits and landscapes, and pushing a few ideas around.

 

Image credit

Chesnet in the Morning Mist by Frances Bell

Curator's Choice: Anna Bromwich

Landscape Evening Light by Annie Boisseau Buy Art

Anna Bromwich, Mall Galleries Art Consultant, tells us why seven works from Buy Art | Buy Now stood out of her.

Browse Anna's Choices Now


Annie Boisseau

Landscape, Evening Light, £925

I love this little landscape with its golden tones and ethereal use of light. Boisseau knows her history of Romantic landscape painting and it shines through here in a manner that is unfussy and essential.


Bernadett Timko

Two Banana Skins, £605

We’ve been following Berni Timko for a while with the quiet sense of excitement and bated breath that comes from watching someone so young with already such a defined voice. This still life of banana skins is typical of her eye for the overlooked, choppy use of paint and intuition for colour. But there is a playfulness here too, and the banana skins take on their own character as they dance into the night.


Peter Brown NEAC RP ROI PS Hon. RBA

Sun on Glasto Mud 2016, £2,800

Pete the Street does Glastonbury. Sometimes the fun of plein air painting is imagining the artist behind the canvas, and as Glastonbury Festival’s pathways melt into mud you can’t help wondering if Pete’s knee-deep in the stuff already, sporting day-glo wellies and a tie-dye t-shirt. This painting is a great example of contemporary plein air subjects from a seasoned flâneur veering off the beaten track.


Frances Bell

Cows After a Storm, £1,675

I first knew Frances as a portrait painter and it’s been a fascinating discovery to see the Northumberland farmland where she lives pop up in exhibitions at Mall Galleries and on Buy Art | Buy Now. I find a kind of familiarity in this serene painting, whether it’s the sense of being stared at by a cow or the orange moon fighting through the mist that, for me, conjures up Monet’s Le Havre*.


Keith Holmes

Tool series

The graphic way Keith renders the garden tools in this series, abstracts their forms and divorces them from their functions. Suddenly you realise what fascinating objects these are that sit hidden away in your tool box in the garden shed.

Work illustrated: No.1

Alexander Goudie RP

Chapel Interior, Brittany, £16,630

Alexander Goudie was a prominent Scottish figurative painter with a vivacious flair for colour, myth and folklore to match his character. He passed away in 2004 leaving behind a substantial body of work, much of which was exhibited in a retrospective at Mall Galleries in 2016. A respected portrait painter, he'd painted public figures ranging from Billy Connolly to the Queen, but it is work like this, which exhibits an interest in ritual and tradition, in this case through the prism of the Bretagne cultural landscape he knew intimately, that I find most tender.


Jack Haslam

Mme Dufy

When artists pay homage to those that have inspired them, it’s a chance to see through two pairs of eyes. While Jack’s interpretation of Raoul Dufy’s portrait of his wife** shares the same warmth as the original, the young artist has stripped Dufy signature colour away to focus on line and pattern. Jack brings his own sense of pattern to Dufy’s inky arabesques and I love the unusual objects worked into Mme Dufy’s floral shirt!

 

* Claude Monet Impression, Sunrise Oil on Canvas, 1842

**Roaul Dufy  Portrait de Mme Dufy Oil on Canvas, 1930


Browse Anna's Choices Now

Image credit

Annie Boisseau, Landscape, Evening Light (detail)

Curator's Choice: Abby Trow, Editor decomag.co.uk

Abby Trow, editor of online eco interiors magazine decomag.co.uk, tells us why five works from Buy Art | Buy Now stood out for her.


My drawing skills became petrified when I was five so I'm always deeply impressed by anyone who can draw anything that looks even faintly recognisable – a lemon that looks like a lemon and always a horse that looks like a horse. In short I'm in awe of all the artists whose work is available on Buy Art | Buy Now. I tend to like impressionistic or abstract-ish landscape paintings that will transport me to a place I may know or generally like to be, such as by the Cornish sea, while I like paintings full of colour. I also like works whose subject matter makes me curious and feels like it could be the start or end to a story.

Browse Abby's choices now


Natalia Kuptsova

Afternoon at Waterlow Park, £950

This is an soft, impressionistic and very warm painting in lovely spring greens of a park close to where I live and where I used to walk my children when they were little. I love the colours of the painting, the way the artist has captured the abundant foliage and the paleness of the Catholic church in the distance...as if it's almost a whisper. It's a painting of a little gem of a park, a snapshot of greenery.


Stephen Message

Woodcock, £1,000

I know this is an accomplished nature painting, capturing the countryside at dusk with a Woodcock rising from the trees. I love the dark velvety colours and the burst of moon and the reflection of moonlight on the puddle; but I respond to it because I know that if I were on that path myself as it was getting dark, I'd be feeling a little anxious and my imagination would start working overtime. I've been lost on walks on a few occasions as it was getting dark and it's an experience that heightens the senses and I feel that's what this painting does.


Janet Darley

Approaching Setthorns On The Twenty First of October

I love the softness of watercolour and the way colours blur into each other so works have that slight abstraction. But this painting seems quite unusual for a watercolour because it's vibrant and the colours are strong. I like the subject matter, I want to know where the road or path is and where it leads to; and it does immediately take you to a hot early autumn day when the leaves are just starting to change from green to reds and browns. I feel it's place I'd like to walk in.


Gary Ramskill

Winter Sunset on Lake Windermere, £165

I love the colours of this work, its slight graphic quality and its simplicity. I don't know Lake Windermere, but this print makes me want to go there and go there in winter. I like the way the artist captures the rippling water and the snowy mountains that rise up around the lake. It's a work that feels very unhurried.


Tony Feld

Beach Huts, Whitstable, £950

I like this painting because at first glance you do a double take and wonder if it's a photograph. Of course it's not but it's the way the artist paints the sky that gives it a certain photorealistic quality. I know of Whitstable and its beach huts and I like the fact that this painting doesn't portray them as entirely benign. The door to one is open, showing its little frilly curtain with the sun blazing on it, but you don't know who or what is inside it, or in the one next door. I like the colours..the left hand side of the painting suggests a sunny day but get to the right side of the painting and it's dark and somewhat mysterious.



Browse Abby's choices now

 

Image credit

Gary Ramskill, Winter Sunset on Lake Windermere

Curator's Choice: @CamberwellCollector - John Watson

Known on Instagram as @CamberwellCollector, John is the current chairman of the St Ives Society of Artists (STISA). Formed in 1927, STISA is housed in the Mariners Gallery, a deconsecrated church and their home since 1945.

John has an extensive art collection, containing artists who were students and teachers at Camberwell School of Art between 1945-85.  This interest started during his 17 years living in South East London, where he taught in various schools. He also collects figurative en plein air Cornish artists.

Follow John on his well-curated Instagram account where he regularly posts work of Camberwell Artists and the day-to-day goings on at the St Ives Society of Artists.

"The portrait of me was painted by Michael J Strang a Camberwell student in the early 1970s. It was a real treat to be painted by a former student of the art school I principally collect."

Browse John's choices now


Peter Clossick NEAC

Walled Garden Malta £3000

I love the composition of this picture with the light on the walls of the houses and the shadow in the tree and foliage of the garden. I like strong angles in pictures and with the diagonals and verticals in this image was immediately attracted to it.   

Peter attended Camberwell School of Art in the early 1970s. If ever a picture was Camberwellian this is it. It echoes the work of many of his tutors and peers that I have in my Camberwell collection.  If you get the chance to see an exhibition of Peter’s work then see it, you’ll love what he does with paint. 


James Bland NEAC

Steamroller in the Snow, £2,050

I am very interested in pictures about pictures. This work was painted from drawings inspired by Constable’s ‘A Hay Wain Crossing a River.’ A seemingly incongruous scene provides this very strong composition. The fascinating feature of the line of steam forming such a strong diagonal has me returning to this image again and again.


Daniel Preece

Gasometer from Battersea Park, £1,000

An iconic landmark in South West London from the Slade trained artist. I love the slabs of colour that form this picture. The greens and blues with good strong shapes make this a favourite picture of mine on the Mall Galleries website.


Andrew Farmer

Sky Study Over Farm Houses, £570

This is a fantastic picture, with its super sky and buildings, tonal shadow and light on the fields and fence. There is a great feeling of movement here with a typical en plein air feel to it. A moment caught in time with the movement between brooding rain filled clouds giving way to brighter skies. I really enjoy looking at Andrew Farmer’s pictures, with their economic, small marks.


Benjamin Hope

Greenwich Church Street, £1,050

This was part of my route home to Deptford from the Isle of Dogs. Being a fan of Iain Sinclair’s books any picture with a Hawksmoor church in it is a winner for me. The tower of Hawksmoor’s Baroque masterpiece St Alphege’s church rises above the rooftops of Greenwich. This picture has such dazzling light in it. The quintessential en plein air London picture.


Peter Brown NEAC RP PS ROI Hon RBA

Sun on Glasto Mud 2016, £2800

No choice of work from Mall Galleries would be complete without a Peter Brown (Pete the Street) painting. I love this picture as the muddy puddle gives great definition to the image. The consummate en plein air painter, with such great observational skills. I love the dayglo jacketed steward right in the middle of the image.



Browse John's choices now

 

Image credit

Benjamin Hope, Church Street, Greenwich

Artist Spotlight : Sally Wyatt

Lavendar Walk by Sally Wyatt Buy Art Buy Now

Anna Preston talks to Buy Art | Buy Now featured artist Sally Wyatt about her painterly practice.

 

Browse Sally's work now

 

You have described your painting process as 'intuitive'. How do you go about creating a work intuitively?

Something unusual will catch my eye in a landscape and become the creative trigger. I may know the subject well, make a brief figurative sketch, collect some little curiosities of nature in my pocket or take a photograph. Whether outside or in the studio, I turn away from any preliminary figurative studies I have made and boldly apply paint onto the canvas in a manner that feels right and true to my original experience. I use big brushes, palette knives and bare hands. Exciting layers of paint build up, get scraped away, get re-applied again and again.

 

Would you say that oil paint is your medium of choice?

I love oil paint for its gorgeous malleability, sheen, subtlety and versatility. It's slow drying time can be an advantage. But I love the looseness of water-based media and their practicality for working en plein air. However, I will almost invariably want to work over the top of acrylic paint in oil. Recently I've been experimenting with the translucency of egg tempera. I won't pin myself down to any one medium!

 

Your oeuvre reveals a special relationship with the wilderness of the British countryside and coast. Tell us a bit more about how you use your native landscape as inspiration.

I've grown up loving the countryside, the wilder the better. I walk everyday whatever the weather and I sail. It's the little enigmas that inspire me; disturbed water and ice formation, tangled and decaying vegetation, pebbles and strange rock forms. I studied the 'geo' sciences and my husband was a plant biologist. These things rub off.

 

What roles do imagination and alchemy play in the viewing experience of your work?

Viewing my work requires imagination and alchemy but also observation. The alchemic processes that happen with expressive painting mysteriously mimic nature's forces and processes. I rely on my accurate observations and understanding of nature to imagine recognisable forms emerging from the chaos of texture and colour. My choices of subject matter are complex and uncertain, so I like my paintings to invite question and imagination too. Our perceptions and emotions are fascinating and so different.

 

Finally, what's next for you, artistically?

I was mentored at The Newlyn School of Art and shall be returning in a group exhibition at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens early in 2018. Critique is creatively invaluable and who knows how my art will develop. These exhibitions will expose my work to new audiences and feedback will inevitably influence direction. I want to communicate my unique vision of landscape beauty.

Image credit

Brisons Veor by Sally Wyatt

The Reception Selection: Ben Hope

The Reception Selection Exhibition by Ben Hope. Buy Art

Ben Hope is the second artist to participate in The Reception Selection, a select grouping of works from Buy Art | Buy Now hung specially for the Mall Galleries reception at 17 Carlton House Terrace.

Depa Miah talks to Ben about his processes and inspirations.

 

Bio

Benjamin took an unconventional route to a career in art. Despite wanting to become a painter very early on, he decided to study Mathematics and Physics at university, which eventually led to a PhD from Cambridge. During his time in academia, he developed his painting in summer breaks and during a year out between degrees. After graduating from Cambridge, Benjamin had a spell as a “quant” in the City with the sole aim of setting up a studio in South East London. In 2011 he quit that job to focus on his art full-time.

 

Talk us through your creative process, how you decide on subject matter, scale etc?

This varies. I work from life almost exclusively. When painting outside I just walk around until something hooks me. It’s often something about the light or the shapes and juxtaposition of buildings. I then set up and start painting. I sometimes work in pastel but usually oil. Scale depends partly on what feels right but also on what I can physically carry (I don’t drive). I use a lot of painting mediums and what I choose often depends on the

light and time of day. For example, late in the evening when the sun is going down, I generally use an impasto medium whereas I paint more thinly when I’m interested in the detail of a daylight scene. I usually have multiple paintings on the go at once and I’m forever checking the weather and working out how I’m going to progress each one. Recently I have started to create very large studio paintings that are based on plein air studies. They aren’t just straightforward enlargements. I’ve been trying to develop the surface quality of my paint, which is something that can get neglected when working at speed on the street. Portraits and still life are a different game altogether. I wish I could spend a lifetime on each of these genres.

Is there a particular subject matter you enjoy most?

Once I’m in the swing of things, I see paintings everywhere. I think most artists experience this – it’s inspiring but also frustrating because the list of ideas and potential paintings grows too fast to keep up. That said I am particularly drawn to light striking rows of windows and I like compositions that are sliced up with verticals, which is often the case in cityscapes. I love sunsets, sunrises and the golden hour; old faces and hands; china and crockery wrapped in paper.

What are you working on at the moment/future plans?

I am currently working towards two shows: one in Gallery Different (15th to 24th June), which is a joint show with sculptor Ben Hooper; and the other with Island Fine Arts on the Isle of Wight (27th May to 24th June). They’re almost simultaneous so my current workload is fairly huge. I am particularly enjoying the large studio pieces since I am using a lot of new techniques.

Who are what are your inspirations/influences when it comes to landscapes and cityscapes, is there a place that inspires you most?

In terms of artists I’d name Ken Howard, Tom Coates, Pete Brown, Andrew Gifford, Roos Schuring (and many others). I couldn’t name a place that inspires me more than London but that’s probably because I’m painting it a lot at the moment. I tend to get inspired to paint wherever I am.

Where haven't you painted that you would really like to?

Various cities in the US. San Francisco in particular. Also I was on holiday on the east coast of Canada last year and was gripped by their incredible tangled mass of telegraph wires. I want to go back and paint them.

 

Jack Haslam's Animal Kingdom

Jack Haslam is a young London-based artist whose tender and genuine works reflect the themes of ‘friendship, loyalty and control’, especially in his artistic treatment of wildlife.

 

Browse Jack Haslam's works here

 

Readers may have seen Jack's work in previous exhibitions at Mall Galleries in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award. He now has six works, predominantly portraits of animals, on Mall Galleries’ online gallery, Buy Art Buy Now.

Jack, why have you chosen these particular works to feature on Buy Art Buy Now, and how do you feel about being one of our Buy Art Buy Now artists?

I was delighted when I was invited to show my work on the Mall Galleries Buy Art Buy Now site. It is a wonderful opportunity as I have been exhibiting in various exhibitions at the gallery for several years. As a self-taught artist with Asperger's syndrome I feel privileged to participate. The Mall first showed my work as part of the BITE printmakers show in 2012 and many shows ever since. I chose these particular images for the online gallery as they are my favorites and show a variety of printmaking techniques, etchings, mono prints and silk screen prints.

Regarding media, you create pieces using many different materials and techniques, such as monoprinting, screenprinting, etching and embroidery. What is your favourite at present and why? 

The main reason I have experimented with different media is mainly practical. If I am having trouble with my OCD with one medium I will move on to another so that I can keep working. I have had phases of casting, making dolls, models and painting and photography. But my favorite way of working is drawing and making prints. I love it when you peel back the print to show the new image. I now have a large etching press at home.

You have stated that your work is about 'rituals which make you feel happy and safe'. Is this ritualistic process linked to your creative inspiration? How do you go about creating work?

Drawing for me is like turning on a tap. There is no self reflection, ego or pretence about it. I sit at an old bureau to work, everything has to be just so: paper, pencils the right rubber etc. Then I will start by just drawing a few lines. When these are to my satisfaction I will proceed with the drawing using purposeful lines, sometimes without taking my hand off the paper. I work from photographs and life. I was once lucky enough to meet a pair of my favourite animals, anteaters, in their compound in London zoo. It was feeding time the keeper let me into the cage to get up close. I prefer to look at animals - I don’t like touching them in case it spoils it.

I love that you create portraits (as opposed to pictures) of animals, and my personal favourite is your monoprint of a bear, which you have rendered with great affection. Is there a story behind it?

I have always loved bears, I used to watch all the documentaries on the National Geographic. I love the standing position that they adopt and the bear in my drawing appears to be waving. The monoprint came about after a time away from the etching studio. I did not have much equipment to hand so went for a monoprint, making a drawing with a second layer of ink to create the very dark effect I wanted. The outside shape or silhouette is quite important for me in my drawings.  I create images of animals to help me relate to humans, so I would like my drawings to find homes with people who like them and see what I see when I look at their portraits.

Finally, what is next for you creatively and in terms of exhibiting your work?

I have worked with Shape Arts for a while. They have been very supportive in mentoring me and I have exhibited in the Shape Open for several years. It is through them I have received funding from the arts council to make a short film with my assistant, Ben Frederick. This is a completely different direction but something I have always wanted to do. I want to make a sci-fi, zombie / space themed film in the new year. Print-wise I am thinking of working on a larger scale...maybe screen printing using more colour and maybe even trying my hand casting in bronze. I am also planning a field trip to Panama this year to see and draw some anteaters in the wild.

 

Interview by Anna Preston

View Jack’s Mall Galleries artist profile and works here

View Jack’s website here



 

Image credit

Macaque by Jack Haslam

Curator's Choice: Tabish Khan, Art Critic at Londonist

Tabish Khan, Arts Critic for Londonist, tells us why six works from Buy Art Buy Now stood out for him.

Browse Tabish Khan's choices now

 

Tabish Khan Buy Art Buy Now

 

All of the artists on Buy Art Buy Now are extremely talented. But I was looking for works that take traditional subjects and either look at them through a different lens or transform them in unexpected ways. Examples of this include showing a field in moonlight instead of sunlight, or taking something notiecable ugly like a crane and finding a simplistic beauty within them. This difference can often be subtle, but it helps a work of art stand out among its peers.

 

Karen Read Coley, Harvest Moon

Water based media, 19 x 18 cm (36 x 34.5 cm framed), £390.00

I love how the corn glows in the light of the moon, and contrasts with the inky blackness of the forest beyond. The low light levels mean that rural nocturnal paintings are rare and therefore this work stands out all the more for offering a different perspective.

Elisha Enfield, 1603-1604

Oil on board, 20 x 30 cm, £1,075.00

There is beauty in this fiery, almost apocalyptic, scene that is both graceful and deadly. It reminds me of the works of John Martin, a painter whose powerful paintings I greatly admire.

Lawrence Dyer, The East Dart

Oil on panel, 46 x 61cm (53 x 68 cm framed), £1,350.00

This is the most traditional painting of my choices. The water is painted with a viscosity that makes you feel that if you dipped your hand into the painting you could feel the weight of the water as it runs around your outstretched hand. The light and the level of detail are also superb.

Rebecca Hathaway, Crane

Charcoal on Paper, 59 x 42cm (65 x 48cm framed), £450.00

Cranes are often seen as a blight on the cityscape, blocking the view of better looking buildings. By not showing any buildings and presenting them in monochrome, they appear much more sympathetic and this forces the viewer to acknowledge their elegant simplicity as well as their necessity in a developing city.

Bernadette Timko, Elisa

Etching (Edition of 10, 10 available), 14 x 9 cm, £180.00

We love portraits as they convey so much emotion and provide an insight into the sitter's personality. By only capturing the back of the head, we're invited to speculate as to who this person is, what is their relationship to the artist and what expression is being concealed from us. It's a great mystery that makes this work so appealing.

 



David Wightman Emmaline II

I've followed David's paintings of landscapes on textured wallpaper for many years now. His prints capture this unique texture, with a surreal colour palette making these views look familiar yet alien at the same time. 

 

Tabish Khan is an art critic specialising in London's art scene, covering contemporary and historical exhibitions. He visits and writes about hundreds of exhibitions a year covering everything from the major blockbusters to the emerging art scene.

 

 

Content Image

Robbie Wraith RP, Toffees

Image credit

1603-1604 by Elisha Enfield