Olly’s eye for detail, use of near perfect symmetry, and striking colour palette have quickly made him one of our - and your - new favourite artists. He kindly took a break from his busy schedule to open up his world and share some of his journey with us. Will he inspire you, like Rothko inspired him?
Please tell us a bit about yourself, and the journey you took to become an artist.
I’m an artist based in North Cornwall, where I live with my wife and two children. I spent 10 years working as an illustrator for various agencies in London but recently transitioned to become a full time artist.
What helped you to get to where you are today? Are there any people, events, or experiences that encouraged you or influenced you to do what it is that you do?
I found it frustrating working as an illustrator because creativity was often suppressed by the client - I think ultimately that’s what lead to me wanting to become an artist and go it alone.
What was the first piece of art that moved you? What was it about it that grabbed you?
At college studying art A-Level I was obsessed with the abstract expressionist movement. As part of my critical study on Mark RothkoI, I travelled to Paris when I was 17 to visit his exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne. Standing in front of the huge canvases on which he worked was totally awe inspiring. This was the first time I truly felt the power of art and that has stayed with me ever since.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Any tips for fellow artists who are having a bit of a dry spell?
I always find it hard answering questions about inspiration because for me it can come from anywhere. For instance, a couple of weeks ago I was walking through town with my youngest son and he stopped to feed a group of starlings. I’d never really paid attention to the beautiful markings that these birds have. Their feathers have an almost iridescent quality. In that moment I knew I wanted to create a piece of art using starlings. Exactly how that would manifest itself I wasn’t sure, but a seed of an idea was born.
Where do you work best from? Do you have any habits, or a routine, that help you harness your creativity?
I recently moved out of my home studio into a new space, sharing with another local artist. Being in a proper creative space working alongside another ‘maker’ is very inspiring, productivity levels are at a high right now!
What is your current favourite piece in your own body of work? Why does it hold a special place in your heart?
I love the ‘Valley of the Jaguar’ print which was part of a recent release with a gallery in York. There’s something about the Jaguar head, the colour palette and the symmetrical composition that is very striking.
I work a lot with symmetry. I was looking into the Rorschach tests recently for a project, and the reason that symmetrical ink blot patterns were used was because it allows the brain to easily interpret an entire scene. This explains why I enjoy working with symmetrical compositions so much.
What was the latest piece of art that you bought yourself? If you could choose four pieces of work from the Artsnug collection, what would they be?
The last pieces of art I purchased were prints by Russ Mills (Byroglyphics) & Angelique Houtkamp.
I would probably just pick four pieces by Andrew Millar from the Artsnug website, love his work!