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A Magazine for Sheffield

Andrew Hunt: Mester of Oils

This month's art comes from local maker Andrew Hunt. With several national exhibitions under his belt, you'd expect Sheffielders to know all about him. That doesn't seem to be the case - this is our attempt to rectify that injustice. I was grabbed instantly by the vitality he manages to capture, pieces which are vibrant with colour and composition, and the emotional ties to memories of a past that still shuffles its way around Yorkshire. The subtle characterisation of his subjects, plus imagery that is distinctly Northern, without slipping into twee, are realist reinterpretations of actual life, complete with Top Man baseball caps and a Boots bag full of bread for the pigeons. This is distinctly physical work, immaculate oil painting technique, combined with a great eye for appropriate detail. With plans for a solo exhibition in a new gallery space opening on Ecclesall Road, and no signs of slowing down an impressive workflow, expect to see a significant amount of Andrew's art in the future. Basics, please. What started you painting? Francis Bacon, Liverpool Tate gallery. I was a spotty 16-year-old. [imagebrowser id=14] Can you describe the process of starting a new piece? An idea. Something I've seen in life, on screen, in print or online. Something that resonates with me. Once I have an idea I consult my library of reference or compose a piece with my camera. The ritual of stretching and priming canvas is important. I never sketch unless I am asked to by a client. I don't like to design a piece, but rather sketch directly on the canvas and allow the painting to form. Nothing compares to the thrill of staring at a blank canvas, an ocean of possibility soiled immediately by the first brush stroke. Where do you get your inspiration from? Everywhere, but little excites me more than seeing other people's art. Tools. What do you use regularly and what is your favourite? Size 8 flat head brush and Georgian Rowney paint - French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Pale Lemon hue, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Buff Titanium and Titanium White by the bucket load. What other artistic media have had an effect on your art? All media, but mainly photography. How do you spend your days? Either pretending to be a monster and chasing my kids around my house or thinking and painting and walking my dog. Which of your recent pieces have you enjoyed making the most? I started paintings cows and landscapes after 15 years of painting gritty figures and portraits. I enjoyed a new direction in painting cows. How has your art evolved over time? Slowly. The themes of my work, the stuff that resonates with me is something that is deep within my soul and formed in my childhood, but technically it is a shallow learning curve. How has art in general changed since you started? The media has changed and the access to other people's stuff has improved massively. What are you currently working on? A commission to paint 12 paintings to celebrate the Olympic Games. Any tips on how to survive making money from your art? Do you find it important? It's important if you want to make a living out of art. The key is to know what the public want, but at the same time stay exclusive and desirable. It has to come from the heart. The minute you pander to your market is the minute you lose it. Most importantly, get your work out there and don't be afraid of failure. What do you dislike in art? Art that lacks soul. There is nothing worse than lazy art. What makes you smile in art? David Shrigley. Good advice you wish you'd been told earlier? Work harder you lazy bastard! )

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