RWA @ The Atkinson Gallery: Interviews

In conjunction with RWA @ The Atkinson we asked some of the Academicians involved to answer a few questions about their current practice and what it means to be an Academician. Here, new Academicians Lucy Austin and Malcolm Ashman give us some insights into their lives as artists:

Lucy Austin

RWA: What are you working on at the moment?

LA: My most recent series of work is called The Duologue series. Each image is divided into halves and they are inhabited by two different personages who seem to be conversing in some way, however they are not necessarily listening to one another, and often they are exhibiting eccentric behavior.

I make the paintings using layers of paint, playing with its technical qualities of opacity and transparency. My paintings are usually made on heavy paper with watercolour and gouache. I use traditional methods of masking out to make the paintings, which are revealed underneath by removing the previous layer.

RWA: Where do you find inspiration?

LA: The urban landscape I inhabit; in particular forms and structures such as pylons, windmills and spiral staircases, these are starting points for the pictures, which are then transformed by my imagination.

RWA: What does being an RWA Academician mean to you?

LA: Ask me after I’ve helped with the Exhibition hang! No seriously, it has given me a new sense of purpose and a wider network I think.

RWA: Who is your hero?

LA: Prunella Clough, Phyllida Barlow, Louise Bourgeois and Basil Beattie

RWA: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

LA: I can’t imagine that really. Perhaps an eccentric professor.

Malcolm Ashman

RWA: What are you working on at the moment?

MA: I’m finishing a collection of small objects, a Collector’s Cabinet and a large sculpture for a collaborative exhibition in Bath called “Walking the Hills’ with Inger Karthum, a multidisciplinary artist from Norway. These, together with joint and individual pieces, form a large body of work charting our working life and growing friendship over the last three and a half years.

The process has been extremely stimulating, presenting new ideas and ways of working, giving me the confidence to make new work that has been lying untouched in the back of my mind for many years.

RWA: Where do you find inspiration?

MA: Inspiration isn’t something I look for, it’s there all the time in everything, all seen, considered and stored. Sometimes the strangest connections make total sense.

RWA: What does being an RWA Academician mean to you?

MA: A solitary life is important for an artist, time alone to reflect on where you are and what you really want is vital. It’s a place of the world but outside of it. Then there is the time needed to consider other peoples ideas and ways of working, this is what the RWA gives me. A place to connect.

The RWA is an enormously important focus for all creative disciplines both for artists and the wider community, a place for discussion and inspiration. To be part of this, to be an elected Academician, has certainly expanded my view of the future both for my own work and a greater involvement in new and exciting projects at the Academy and beyond.

RWA: Who is your hero?

MA: Anyone who can make their way through this difficult life being true to themselves and kind to others.

RWA: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

MA: Unhappy.

RWA @ The Atkinson runs until 15 October 2016, 9.30am - 5.00pm (closed on Sundays) at The Atkinson Gallery, Millfield School, Street, BA16 0YD.

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