Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary…
You describe drawing inspiration from the contrasts and contradictions you find in the subjects you choose. How do you go about choosing a subject, what elements draw you to your subjects?
The subjects usually find themselves. I can observe something that just catches my imagination and then it may become the inspiration for a painting. The subject(s) can be almost anything. It is the visual excitement of the scene that draws my attention more than the subject matter. If I had to analyse the process further, it would probably be the contrasts and contradictions in a subject/scene that are the main building blocks in most of my art. I love areas of light that are contrasted with areas of strong shadows. I am attracted to complementary colour schemes. I like shapes that are very different being adjacent to each other.
Are there specific subjects or themes you return to regularly in your art? If so, what are they and do you know why?
I do like being near the sea and water. I also like walking through moorland and mountain terrain. Both these interest can feature quite a lot in my creations. Harbours, boats, beaches, estuaries, mountains and windswept hills are a continual interest. This can lead to both representational art and also abstract ways of working. I do also like the discipline of producing traditional Still Life paintings. There is something quite reassuring and comforting when you are producing a closely observed still life in a traditional way. Thoughts go back to the recognised Masters of this discipline and I hope in some way I am continuing this tradition.
Your art collection on Athena covers a range of art styles and techniques, do you have a favourite?
No, I don’t have any particular favourite technique or stylistic way of working. I do however like to experiment with the media I work with. At times this can lead to some surprising and unexpected results.
What types of art and culture do you like to consume?
As an artist I feel very much like a sponge. I am intrigued and fascinated about art from many cultures. What does it mean? Who made it? How was it made? So, I observe, investigate and collect information in the form of notes and images. I believe being an artist is a lifelong apprenticeship. You are always on learning curve.
Can you tell us the story behind your favourite piece of art in your Athena collection?
This is perhaps a difficult question to answer. What is my favourite piece right now might be a different choice next week. However, I do like to travel and I had the good fortune to visit Australia a couple of years ago. The light there is really special compared to northern Europe. As a result of my Australian visit I produced 4 paintings all of which are in the Athena Collection. So, at this moment I would probably say my oil painting The Surfer is my favourite piece. It reminds me of a time when visiting foreign lands was such a joy.
How long have you been painting? What is your background?
I can never remember a time when I wasn’t being creative in some shape or form. This was encouraged very much by my parents who were both keen in the arts and they would take my brother and I to galleries when we were very young children.
On leaving school I studied at the Rochdale School of Art under the sculptor and painter Keith Chadwick. This led to me being offered a place at the University of Lancaster where I studied Fine Art.
What are you working on now and do you have plans for 2022?
I have recently been to the English Lakedistrict. Here I made a number of sketches and collected some photographic source material. So, my next project will be based on my visit to the lakes. It could result in representational art and probably some more abstract approaches.
Looking forward I have plans to do a series of urban landscape paintings similar to my The Red Door painting which features in the Athena collection. I will be trying to capture the past and yet approach this with an optimistic colour scheme. A way of looking to the future yet remembering our heritage.
Explore the entire Hadrian Richard's art collection on Athena.