An Audience With… Ian Hodgson

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.

Train of Thought‘Train of Thought’

Name?

Ian Hodgson

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!

Icarus Wing 2‘Icarus Wings’

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.

Whats next?

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!

Urbanscope 2‘Urbanscope’

The Rise of Women

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Picture from Tracey Emin’s show: ‘She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea’

After centuries of being regarded as second class to men, it seems that finally the tables have turned and that women are no longer merely enjoying a sense of equality in areas, but are developing their own niches with women only floors in hotels, night clubs and gyms . So why is it that women still seem to lag behind in the art world, even today, the works of female artists seem to reach only a tenth of their male counterparts. Tracey Emin and Damian Hirst arguably share similar status and dominance in today’s art market, yet Hirst’s pieces carry much larger price tags.  

It was once taught and thought that women played no role in the history of art, something that Dana Arnold picked up on during her studies at UCLA. Since leaving her research has focused on the ways in which, art history is interpreted and the roles women have played. The truth simply is that the role of women has to one degree or another simply been ignored. As in other areas, the annuals of history and the rules of what makes a masterpiece was laid out by men for the benefit of men leaving little room for women.   

Despite histories ignorance women have been present and have played an important role. The Bayeux Tapestry was created by nuns, the Early Renaissance saw the arrival of named female artists such as Lavinia Fontana and Sofonisba Anguisciola, before being ousted in the latter stages of the movement. It was women who hand painted the Wedgewood vases and porcelain that is so highly regarded today. In fact their role and contribution to the popular culture of their time arguably outstrips that of males in the same period. Indeed, it is only due to their ostracism from high culture that they were deemed academically irrelevant for so long.       

This began to chance when in the 20th century, a surge of innovation and discovery questioned traditional views and the perception of women artists. Women made further gains, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Camille Claudel, Sonia Delaunay, Laura Knight, Zinaida Serebriakova, Tamara de Lempicka and Natalia Goncharova. Culminating with Rachel Whiteread becoming the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993.

 

As our culture continues to embrace the role of women, the once held firm beliefs of women’s role within art are set to change. At the gallery we have already noticed a shift in this direction with 2 of top selling artists being women, Xue Wang and Gail Troth. With more interest and attention being paid to female artists than ever before, it seems likely that the value of both old and new works by female artists is set to rise.  

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‘Eternal Landscape in Blue’ by Gail Troth
Oil on Canvas
47″ x 15.5″
£995 or 10 monthly installments of just £99.50