“I have had the most amazing journey of self-liberation and self-expression that cannot be compared with anything else.” – Angela Chalmers.
Angela Chalmers is a British Artist who uses inks to create stunning paintings of the female form. Her painterly raw textures create dynamic and tantalising forms, the perfect contemporary twist on classical art. For Angela being creative “is a personal freedom.”
When did you first become interested in art and why?
“I was born in the pottery district of Stoke-on-Trent. My mother was employed as a fine china lithographic artist. As a small child I remember her explaining how patterns were created on the side of teacups – she was my first art tutor.
After many years of living on the Yorkshire coast, I spent a few years living and working in London. It was here that I discovered my passion for fine art. At the time I was working in a candle shop in Covent Garden and on my lunch break I would visit the National Gallery to look at the beautiful paintings. I had always been a keen photographer, but my admiration of the old masters grew during this period and I became eager to find out more. So, as a mature student I started my creative journey and began an art foundation course in Greenwich. After returning home to North Yorkshire I gained a place to study Fine Art at the Scarborough campus of University of Hull, where I graduated in 2005. I have been working as a professional artist ever since.”
What journey do you take to produce your work?
“I choose to work from my own photographs taken during visits to museums, such as the V & A or the British Museum. And I also search out vintage postcards at car boot sales. Firstly I begin with small preparatory sketches before I start new work to help me with the composition. Then I start with a drawing in charcoal and then add washes of colour. Due to the nature of the process the form of the figure can change out of recognition – it’s this element of uncertainty that excites me.”
How would you describe your style?
“My works have been described as the closest thing you will get to bronze statues made from ink. I aim to express the human figure as both quiet and monumental. I enjoy experimenting with different art processes and have become intrigued by the technical potential of water-based paints, along with the textural qualities of handmade papers. The paintings evolve through a method of pouring and dripping a limited palette of earth-coloured inks. Then I allow the medium to flow in a controlled and uncontrolled manner.
I am interested in history and draw inspiration from sculpture and friezes from ancient cultures. Here I see beauty in decay. Furthermore I am attracted towards eroded surface textures that reveal a passing of time, such as peeling paint, weathered metal and rust patterns.
I have developed a strong curiosity for the human condition. My paintings focus on themes of femininity. I am interested in contemporary culture and social history and work simultaneously from direct observation and from the imagination to convey my ideas.
I have many influences. The sculpture and drawings of French artist Auguste Rodin, have had the biggest effect because of his ability to render and express human inner turmoil and joy.”
How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?
“A walk on the beach with my husband David and Rosy our dog. Back home for breakfast and then a walk to the studio to catch up on emails. I always look forward to seeing the previous days work. I enter the studio with fresh eyes, which helps to spot the success or failures that are not always apparent whilst I am immersed in the creative zone.”
How would you describe the artist’s role within society?
“I think it’s an unusual role. It can be quite lonesome during many hours of creative output. Artists reflect on the world to inspire, highlight and comment on aspects that may otherwise be missed or ignored. They play a huge part within all cultures. Without the engagement, diversity and vibrancy of visual art, the world would be a dull place.”
What are your plans for 2017?
“I will be participating in the North Yorkshire Open Studios event in June. My other passion is photography and I am exhibiting at the Joe Cornish Gallery, Northallerton and in leading workshops in Sweden.”