Thursday, April 3, 2014

Interview With Artist Becky Blair

I am so excited to share April's interview with you all. I ADORE this lady's work & so was thrilled when she said yes to doing my interview. 

I first discovered Becky's work in 2007 when I bought a calendar featuring her paintings. I was so drawn to the colours, collage & textures that I cut out her images at the end of the year to frame & put up in my home. Imagine my delight when I accidently came across her new page on Facebook where I could see her paintings in progress & her new work! Although at the time I didn't know there was such a thing as 'Mixed Media', Becky was the first mixed media artist I had found & admired. Her work is beautiful, vibrant & full of such energy & movement. I do hope you enjoy this interview with her.

Hi Becky, can you tell us a bit about yourself & how long you've been painting professionally?

I'm 41 and live in Brighton with family, Ben my husband and my daughter Eva. I've been painting 'professionally' for about 20 years, but for the first 10 years I combined it with lots of travelling, it wasn't until I turned 30 that I applied a business approach to my career.

I know you used to use a lot of collage in your work, how do you think that has led to your style today?

I did use collage papers for a few years, usually on smaller paintings, but with time I started to create my own collage papers because I wanted there to be a closer relationship between the collage and painted aspects of my canvas'. Later I took then those techniques straight on to the canvas.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas can be daunting. What is your go-to/favourite method you use to create your backgrounds/start your paintings?

I find a blank canvas a very exciting prospect. I just start laying down colours and building textures. The beginning of a painting is so far from the end that I just love the freedom at the start, it's the time to let go and have fun. The middle and end of a painting is when you need to balance and edit, that's the hard part!

What are your favourite supplies & techniques currently?

I use Golden paints and mediums, as far as I have experienced they are the best in all ways. Sometimes I will buy cheaper paints or water based inks for a quirky colour. I have loads of different techniques, I can't think of a favourite. I suppose recently using a sponge to create shapes and washes of colour has been happening a lot.

When you work for yourself as an artist you have to wear many hats & take on many roles. Sometimes I find no room to fit in anything creative into my day! Can you give us any tips on how you organise your working days to ensure you have time to create & what percentage of your time is 'creative time' during the week versus everything else?

My first rule which has worked well for me is no computer access at my studio so no internet, and also my studio is away from home. I do the paperwork stuff in the evenings when it needs to happen or if there is loads going on I just put a morning aside. The creative part is the most important part, if you don't do it then what's the point of any of the other stuff. I currently do 5 hours painting 5 days a week, it was more before I had Eva. Personally any less than 3 days painting a week and I can't keep my creative focus, but it's also important to have time away from the process so you can return fresh eyed. It's all about balance and everyone is different in that respect.

For anyone trying to turn their passion in life into their career it can leave you feeling vulnerable- you want to succeed so badly that you can start to doubt your abilities & whether or not you can succeed. We all have these thoughts & emotions at some point on our paths. Most of us compare ourselves to others also, which can leave us feeling depleted. How did/do you overcome any negative thinking about your business & career as an artist?

You just have to get yourself out there into view of the public. It can be nerve racking and stressful, particularly I find before a solo show. But that's part of the deal, and that's what makes you push yourself to do your very best. If you know you gave it your best shot that's the only control you have over what the response will be. Not everyone will like it, but that's ok. I think the idea of 'succeeding' has two paths, you want to succeed in creating amazing work, that's great, that's drive and that should always be pushing you forward and on to new discoveries, but wanting to 'succeed' in a sales and notability, that's a long slow path and not a great focus as it will only come with exhibiting, taking opportunities as they arrive.

For anyone starting out following their creative dreams what did you find was the best way to get your work out there & seen? i.e galleries? art agent? Facebook? Blog? Website? A combination of all?

I started out before the internet became what it is today so I don't have the best insight. I started with exhibiting in galleries and by galleries taking my work to art fairs. I think websites, blogs and social networks are all incredible platforms to have your work accessed, and an online profile is almost essential so you can be contacted by interested parties, whether that's buyers or galleries. I have employed publicists in the past to do pr for solo shows which is an amazing way of getting people interested and boosting the success of a show.

What other artists are inspiring you at the moment?
I have a Pinterest account which I love. So much incredible imagery and a great way to discovery less famous artists. That's where I go when I want to be inspired. So many names of artists I love, Elizabeth Blackadder, Gillian Ayers, Matisse, Hockney, Frankenthaler, Clive Hicks-Jenkins, I could go on and on.

Thanks so, so much for taking part, please tell us where can we connect with you?


Becky is also about to exhibit in Brighton this May for the Brighton Open Houses Festival at this house:

P.S If you are enjoying my interviews you can read two more here. Or click here for my interview with Mique Moriuchi or here for Micki Wilde.


Anne said...

Your painting are wonderful, where can I purchase one, I'm in Canada. Anne

The Little Brown Rabbit said...

Hi Anne, whose paintings did you like? You can contact Becky here:

Or myself here:

Thanks :)