Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fantasy, Mysticism and the Feminine beauty | An interview with Tom Bagshaw

Were you always interested in art an early age or was it something that grew into?

Art was something I have always been interested in, that's the one thing I can always remember, constantly drawing or painting from a very early age. Way back in the day my father was a commercial artist (what would really be termed an illustrator today) and although he had moved on by the time he started raising the family it was something that he encouraged in me.

Did you undertake any official art training?

After leaving school at 16 I went into college to do a course on graphic design, at the time it was the only course that covered any illustration, but it soon became apparent that it wasn't for me and I dropped out after a year. Everything I know I have taught myself. 

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

It depends on the type of work I'm doing but for the main part its really feminine beauty that I find most inspiring but also fairy tales, folklore and mythologies from around the world.

Where do you come up with a lot of the faces and mannerisms of the subjects in your pieces? Are they semi-based on people you know or simply people grown in your imagination?

All the portraiture and figurative pieces I do are based from photographic reference, if you're striving for any level of realism in your work you need a good starting point first.

How would you describe your art?

I honestly don't know, maybe that's up to others to decide. Its just what I like doing.

There is a kind of dark ethereal feel to your work but also a sort of whimsical fantasy to it. How do you find a happy medium when working on a piece and deciding I where you want it to go versus where it could take you?

Yeah, I do try to refrain from going too dark with my pieces, its not to say I don't want to and some have certainly come out pretty dark- but for the most part I like to keep it quite light and some pieces as you say, are quite whimsical. I just try and take each piece as it comes really.

Majority of the subjects in your pieces are women. What is it about females and the female spirit that you like so much?

Like a lot of artists through the ages, feminine beauty has always been something that's fascinated me and quite importantly, a strength of character more than anything. Portraying a frail 'damsel in distress' type really doesn't interest me in the slightest!

Who are some of your own favourite artists and why?

Really, I never know how to answer these types of questions as there are so many artists out there, with a range of styles and mediums who work I love and feel inspired by- if I start with one or two then I would be remiss not to continue and name every artist whose work I like! Needless to say, the vast majority of artists I like do figurative and portraiture based work as well.

Is there a particular person or artist you would love to work with?

Not really, although there are numerous models out there I would love to paint and lots of designers and photographers I would like to work with in order to produce better quality works- I'm not a photographer and shooting my own reference can be really hit and miss, likewise- although I can do it, I know there's a lot of designers out there who are way better than me, it would be nice to be able to work people who specialize in those types of mediums!

Would you say you are at that stage in your art career now where you can live almost solely off your art's earnings or is that something that's still a little ways off?

I actually do live off my work, this is what I do full time, its why I'm so grateful to those people who buy my work at shows and direct from my shop, all the print sales and with the Black Lodge book- all the book sales- its what enables me to keep doing what I love!

What are your favourite colours, formats and materials to work with?

Favourite colours are more towards the blue and green spectrum, cooler and then a hint of warmth. As for formats and materials, I haven't really worked with anything other than digital paint for well over a decade now!

There are a lot of soft colour schemes and almost fairy tale like aesthetics in your work that evoke a enchantment and imagination. When you're working on a piece are there central themes you tend to re-visit or concepts you like to base your projects on?

The vast majority of my work will center around a female lead character, that's usually at the core of my work but then I do tend to work in folklore and fantasy elements as well.

Is there any direction you would like to go with your art that you haven't conceptualised yet?

I'm sure that as time goes on my work will evolve and explore new avenues but for the moment I'm still happy exploring more portraiture based works.

What can we expect from Tom Bagshaw in the future?

Time allowing I would love to go back and produce more character driven fantasy pieces, much like my older Yokai Dreams series, theres so much to that folklore that would love to continue exploring!