TIMOTHY GATENBY

Self Portrait(1)CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

TG: Oil painter.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

TG: I think other than people I really care about, my inspiration comes from seeing other artist’s work whether in degree shows, galleries or museums. I get pleasure in seeing work which moves me emotionally and stimulates my mind, these experiences give me an energy which allows me to process ides of my own. At the moment I’m obsessed with the Wallace Collection in London and have been going most weeks, which has been fuelling my practice.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

TG: Usually, I’ll get an idea for a piece stuck in my head, I’ll think about what it’s pros and cons are, letting it brew in my mind to see if I still like it. After a few weeks if I’m still keen, I’ll go about designing the piece which generally involves drawing it out from photographs in pencil. Once I have drawn out the image I’ll make a study in oil paint and then I’ll attempt the final piece. Sometimes I’ll think the piece is done but realize there is still more that I haven’t visualized or remembered. I find it very hard to see my work with a fresh eye, so some works never really get finished, most of the time there’s always a little bit more I want to tweak.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

TG: Maybe it will help them make their own work and show them they can too.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

TG: It’s much more work than I ever imagined. Most of the time I just want to lock myself up and concentrate on the work but it always seems to take so much longer than I expected.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

TG: It’s very important to create as much conscious structure as possible, I think naturally people form habits whether they are aware or not. Thus, more and more I’m inclined to try and be more self aware of my thoughts and try to truly understand the root of why I’m having them. After I finished training I experimented a lot with my work trying anything out to see what shoe fit kind of thing. Now I have put boundaries on myself and created a strict system to umbrella my practice and it all feels more focused again.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

TG: Keep practicing and learn as much about your craft as possible, find things you like, analyze why you like it, then pursue it. It’s also very useful to write everything down.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

TG: I think personal style and taste changes based on the people and influences that surround you, saying that it’s very important to remember how you set out on your journey to begin with because its those early impressions that directed who you are.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

TG: Keeping the studio tidy.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

TG: I get to do painting most of the time.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

TG: I like Titian a fair amount.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

TG: Technology is a bit of a double-edged sword really. We are fed so much information, which can really overload us whilst at the same time help us analyze data in our behavior very scientifically. The photographic age has led us to loose some of the old languages of oil painting making it very difficult to understand a Raphael painting. It would be a shame if still more great masters become unreadable although it is pretty inevitable.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

TG: I trained in Florence so I have a strong connection with it but I probably prefer Sienna as it is slightly more stunning. Where as Florence is in the bowl of the hills, Sienna is on top and the views are sensational. I also love the different quarters with their different creatures, particularly the rhinoceros part of the town.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

TG: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

TG: I’m working on more and more paintings and making some short films of my grandmother, so hopefully I’ll have a lot of her to capture. I also plan to paint as classically as possible without pastiching the past masters.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

TG: For me it’s a freedom where I can work and think whenever I want, within reason I can pretty much do whatever in the whole world. However, an artist’s role in society is to create a space for people to be able to think and reflect.

CHECK OUT MORE ON: TIMOTHY GATENBY

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