Robert West Answers FAD’s Questions

Robert-West.-Into-the-Forest.-No.22.-2009-2010.-Oil-on-Canvas.-88-x-122-cm.-£2200-1024x696
Robert West Into the forest no. 22 2009- 2012, Oil on canvas, 88 x 122cm

Robert-West.-Gaining-Momentum.-No.-37.-2010.-Oil-on-Canvas.-60-x-60-cm.-£995-1024x1024
Robert West Gaining Momentum. No. 37 2010, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 60cm

1.If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
I would be an architect. I think that well designed buildings do not have to cost more than poorly designed ones, after all the buildings in the domestic setting are largely built out of the same materials. The architect in the building process holds a key role in shaping the image of ourselves as buildings change the way we live and they also change the way we feel about our immediate surrounding area. A prime example would be the former Bankside Power Station, which was redesigned into the Tate Modern by Herzog and De Meuron. From its inception to now it was responsible for the regeneration of that entire area.

2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
My main concern is with paint and furthering my understanding of the language of painting. Finding ones limitations within the medium is crucial, only then can the gaps in knowledge be filled and your previous knowledge and experience slowly built upon. The main goal of all of this is to create more dynamic and technically proficient paintings.
I have three lines of enquiry to put it briefly. Blur Series is concerned with reverting us back to a more natural state one void of technology and focuses on nature. Series One is focused on our technologically driven contemporary society looking at the undefined chaos and overload. The yet untitled third series is a combination of the two, with yet no finished works to show you.

3. How do you start the process of making work?
I start with scale and proportion; a bespoke canvas is then delivered from John Jones of London. Colours and process are not predetermined, ideas about painting are realised in the act of painting itself. I do not over think what I may or may not do. I often imagine ideas or snapshots of parts of a painting and those sometimes lead to a foundation for a painting, though more often that not when I paint, most of what I do is automotive. Decisions are made quickly and the workload or the hours spent on a painting is very intensive. These periods are often followed by large gaps for drying time or for more radical decision making about a paintings progression.
I know many artists and the best ones are those who are willing to almost eradicate a painting in the search for something, which is more in every sense of the word. It’s something which Schumpeter called creative destruction.

4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
I do. This is something which improves my work I believe, I ask many questions, and works are often reworked many times before they are released because of these questions; most of these reworked pieces have improved because of these actions.

5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work.
Pollock, Richter, Rae

6. What defines something as a work of art?
Those sort of clear defined definitions no longer exist. Painting is gaining a reassertion on the market as indeed is abstract painting, though talented artists in this field are difficult to find.

?7. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
Pollock, when he hit his stride creating arguably some of his finest works from around 1947-1950.

8. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?

Our dependency upon the cultural understandings of reality should not segregate us to one historical meaning of the world. By taking a step back and further digesting these ideals from a far, only then will you begin to gain a greater knowledge of your social responsibilities and surroundings.

The continuing Blur Series is Robert West at his most philosophical and inspiring, contributing endearing thoughts to art and society.

By Greg Evans 2013

9. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?
Well I am heavily using the drag technique that was created by Richter, though I am now beginning to use this more as a background for the development of my third series which is yet to be titled. I have expanded my technical ability a great deal through using this technique and that is what development of a painter’s ability is a long and often slow process.
?Learning other artist’s processes is crucial, no matter what the public perception of your originality; many presume, most do not ask. However it should be noted that an artist’s career may span 60 years and spending the first few drawing from your idols and expanding your learning should never be seen as a negative nor is it a waste of time.

10. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
You have to keep a close eye on the monetary side of things of course, it would be naive to think otherwise. I wish to make a career out of painting and so hopefully as time passes and my technical ability increases and new series develop, the price of my artwork will reflect this time and effort. I am at the beginning of a very long career in the art world and price of any particular artwork is only as much someone is willing to pay for it that has always been the case.

11. What’s next for you?
Next year will be my busiest to date. There is currently a lot penciled in and lead-time on exhibitions are long, so I cannot give you specifics. Suffice to say that I will be in the studio creating large scale works for forthcoming shows. There will be a focus to further my connections in London, as well as developing those in the international art market, that is all I can say for now.

More Information on Robert West

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine Founder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad

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