We’re delving a little deeper into the weird and wonderful mind of Ian Hodgson and finding out a bit more about the man behind the Charcoal faces. If you think of any more questions you would like to ask the artist please ask them in the comments below and we will get some answers to you.
Lets start with a little ice breaker: What are you reading at the moment?
I always have a book on the go but have just finished ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce. Very easy to read with it’s gentle humour and apparent lightness but is deceptive in its depth.
Looking at memory, regret and trying to make up for past mistakes the reader is taken as a willing passenger on the journey.
What are you working on right now? Are you changing direction at all?
Along with the usual head/figure studies that I’m always experimenting with I’m also exploring a bit of landscape, in particular, my childhood stomping ground of the hills and moors above the Yorkshire village where I grew up. Using the occasional photo as reference but relying mainly on memory I’m trying to represent an emotional landscape rather than a direct representation of place. Its more of a slight stray from the path than a change in direction and whether the results of these delves into the undergrowth will become public remains to be seen but I’m enjoying indulging myself for the time being..
Who, or what is your greatest influence on your life and art?
Music has always been a source of inspiration to me, from pop to punk to electro and much in between, I need to have my sounds set up in my studio to work along to. I’m not sure if what I play directly influences what I produce but it remains a constant, multi-faceted companion. I’d have to say that ultimately though it has been my urge/need to draw that has been and continues to be the most powerful influence!
What drives you, gets you out of bed and inspires you to draw?
I find inspiration arrives during the drawing process. Its not always an easy ride, frustration and feelings of doubt about what you are doing are never too far away and when they do occasionally surface I find the only way to re-engage with work is to just make marks on paper until eventually the physical act of drawing re-ignites the imagination, images form and you’re back in the creative zone. Being immersed here can be demanding, exhilarating and rewarding and keeps you going back for more!
Can you explain a little about your extraordinary technique?
I have found that exploring and exploiting the qualities of graphite (I use blocks, powder and pencils) gives me a level of satisfaction I haven’t found with other mediums. I sometimes indent paper using embossing tools before rubbing graphite over the top – the indented line remains the same colour as the paper – and manipulate the graphite using erasers. I rub out, smudge, add more graphite, work back into the image and build up in layers. I enjoy contrasting sharp energetic lines with more fuzzy and loose areas, adding and removing graphite until I’m happy with the overall balance.
What are the major challenges you face as an artist?
I think a major challenge for me as an artist is how to make ends meet and it is incredibly easy to become disillusioned with the ups and downs of selling work. Trying to make work that has some sort of commercial appeal but retains personal integrity can be a tricky one but I feel that the work is far more interesting and engaging if you stick to your vision and don’t just try and emulate what appears fashionable or safe. Finding and refining your own voice and style is a never ending process but keeps your work unique and fresh. This inevitably makes producing work more rewarding but not always as easy to make a living from!
Who is your favourite artist at the moment?
I’m currently enjoying looking at the work of Nathan Ford, there’s a beauty and starkness to his work that I find quite haunting.I’d certainly pitch him as one to watch.
What’s your Life ambition?
As I’m in this art malarky for the long haul my main ambition is to be able to continue working until I drop at a very old age! Within this time I want to build on what I’ve learnt and produce work that continues to surprise and excite me and hopefully connects with others.
I want to create some figurative pieces on blackboards as a way of almost reversing how I work. I’ve toyed with this approach before so the seed has already been planted but it would be good to develop this into producing more finished pieces. Watch this space…
Thank you for this incredible insight into what moves and motivates you. Inspiring stuff!
Originals are available in the gallery. View Ian’s work on line http://www.georgethorntonart.com/Artists/Ian-Hodgson/Art-By?pagesize=9
Or for the complete jaw dropping moments do pop in and see them in the flesh!