Robert West
Robert West. borderline Series. No.04 In Progress. Mf.jpg

Q&A

Robert West General Q & A 2015

General Q & A

What are your personal long-term goals for you and your practice ?

I wish to further develop my practice within both abstraction and representational painting, with the aim to push the field of contemporary painting forward. I am presently creating Borderline and Into the Forest painting series, both are challenging and expanding my thoughts, enabling me to achieve more within the field of painting. The long-term aim is to reassert British Paintings dominance on the Global Art Market.

What are you main goals in the short-term ?

In 2016 take both the series out of there early stages and start getting a feel for where each series will be heading. 

How did you come to move into representational paintings after creating abstract paintings for the last 7 years ?

I created a few loosely figurative paintings before I began Into the Forest series, these paintings where stretched out over long periods, it was the creation of these paintings and curiosity what got me to broadened my approach. When you can paint abstract paintings at a certain level moving over into representational painting is not that as big of a leap as you may think. I have seen a great amount of representational painting and believed that I could bring a more fluid and dynamic approach to this field, thus I arrived at beginning Into the Foresttime will tell how that goes, but I am very optimistic.

How have you found painting both abstract and representational paintings simultaneously ?

You would perhaps think, it would be like straddling to floating logs moving away from one another, to me it is the opposite of that, one reinforces the other; ideas from one can be re-appropriated to your gain making a more refined version of the other series. When there is no clear definition of what you can or should be creating, you are only bound by your own limitations.

Sketches of compositions do you do any of this before you start large works?

Honestly, no, not very often, I draw outlines of scale and have a few words relating to processes, but the act of painting cannot be replicated; with the representational works I have a based photograph but how its painted that is something which I do as I go along, and do not have too many thoughts before I begin in relation to their execution. I think practicing on small scale to get you ready for a larger works is something which I have never considered, how you paint on the small scale is not how you paint on the large scale, so the process in my opinion is mute. As long as I am in the right frame of mind, when I am painting I am reassured about the outcome.   

What are your thoughts on the importance of scale?

Big ideas demand large scale paintings, that the way I have always worked; that is not to say that I do not rate smaller works, you paint very differently at different scales, there was a saying which you would hear amongst painters "Go big or go home" a phrase I always remembered, something which altered my painting practice over the years. I think if you want to become respected you need to be dynamic and proficient at any scale, this is what is expected of you and so that is what I aim to deliver. 

Why are you located in the East Riding of Yorkshire?

I set up here because I am from the area, the space I work in is large and quiet, I work alone and there are no distractions, it allows for a very focused practice. 

What impact is the Internet having on Art and Artists ?

The Internet is the most important tool for painters since brushes, canvas and oil paints where invented, it is that important; it is allowing artists to successfully set up away from creative hubs, it has connected us all. As time progresses and cameras become more advanced a close to real presentation of physical artworks will be achievable, if you do it right it is very good now; in the future as collector's habits continue to change online sales will overtake physical Global Art Sales in galleries and auctions houses; and in my opinion it will create a new breed of artists who represent themselves, ones who are digitally aware and have a broad understanding of business. 

Where do you think the center of the Art World is?

London and the Internet.

What is your opinion on the current health of British Painting?

I think we maybe looking at a future shortfall in emerging talent particularly within painting, due to the effects of the cuts to assist people who are learning on college foundation courses and the dramatic increases in tuition fees at University for BA and MA courses, together this is having detrimental effect to the numbers of young talented art student who go onto to develop their artistic knowledge within the education system, particularly those from working class backgrounds. After talking to a lot of my fellow University Alumni they said they would have never have gone to University at such prices and I would have to agree, the cost is too great; I dread to think upon the consequence this is having on talented art students who do not come from means, often they are the ones who go the distance, but the obstacles they face now maybe too great for them to overcome, and their ambition may die on the vine; it is this unreported number which concerns me the most, because amongst those people could have been the next leaders of contemporary painting, all they needed was a little help in their formative years.

To summarise, there is a healthy number of talented British painters right now, but this could be the last of a golden generation and we maybe looking at a lack of talent over the next decade, the wider repercussions, London may loose its crown of the center of the Art World, compounded by rising living prices and the diminishing number of affordable studio spaces for artists within the Capital, we could be seeing a mass exodus by creatives setting up in creative hubs across the UK, this change may act as the catalyst for more people to buy artwork direct from artists online to enable promising artists to further develop their talent.

Published November 2015