‘Enjoy the happy accident in your work and be fearless,’ says Angelique Hartigan whose energetic paintings and limited-edition prints depict city and country life – from fast-pace skater boys in her Crystal Palace ‘playground’, to lazy Sunday morning dog walkers. Here she explains how she knew painting was her calling and shares her tips for aspiring artists…
How did you know art was your calling? My mother is artistic and I’ve always been encouraged by both my parents, so it just came naturally. But it has only been since returning to London in 2005 that I decided to make a real commitment to painting and set up my studio in 2006. I studied 3D design at Brighton, but enjoy the immediacy of painting. It just feels right.
My playground is South London. I love London and especially this little corner of it, where I have a studio. It’s like a village here as there’s a real community spirit and people know each other to say hello to. I feel a real sense of belonging.
I suppose this is why I like to celebrate the places in and around my corner of London. I spend a lot of time in Crystal Palace park, which is full of beautiful trees and go walking and/or running with my springer spaniel – Humphrey.
The park is a great inspiration changing colours with each season and weather front. I can’t wait to get in the studio after a wander in the park – we have a magnificent avenue of plain trees, which can be seen in my work.
There are so many beautiful and iconic buildings and views in London – Battersea Power Station, for example, which I will do more paintings of.
So it’s a mixture of local landmarks and the wider locality of my home town of London that tends to draw me in. Often I like to work on images where the sun is shining, cutting into buildings or melting trees or dark corners next to a splash of sunshine.
With such a vibrant city I will never run out of inspiration, just time in which to make the many images I want to make.
Who’s your favourite artist?
I really enjoy Peter Doig’s art having seen some of his work a while back that really excited me. I had the same feeling recently on seeing the Canadian Artist Exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery – Peter Doig spent some time in Canada and you can see where he got his inspiration.
Having seen the Gerhard Richter and David Hockney exhibitions in the last couple of weeks, it makes me feel like my type of style is allowed and acceptable – the fact that their particular style has been so successful gives me encouragement.
What advice would you give anyone starting out as an artist?
Just do it – surround yourself with sound advice and support for what you are doing and enjoy the process.
Each piece you make becomes a stepping stone to the next one and a reference point. Enjoy the happy accident in your work and be fearless. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, you can change it. I’m still learning what works and doesn’t work, just keep going.
I left a well-paid job and lifestyle for a much more challenging life, but the rewards personally and professionally have been worth the risk. I love my work and feel very lucky to have had the chance to change my career in a place with a vibrant arts scene.
You founded the Bigger Picture Gallery, which turns empty commercial premises into creative spaces to showcase local talent. Where can we see this local public art shown?
Bigger Picture Gallery has just teamed up with St Aidans Group to start a monthly pop up art market in Victory Place, Crystal Palace, to showcase local creativity. Our next pop up will be on Saturday 18th February 2012. We filled a 30metre wall on the first day and hope this will grow to included designers/makers. We are still on the look out for any empty commercial spaces to showcase local creatives and hope to find somewhere here very soon…
You can get your hands on a piece of Angelique Hartigan’s original work at the ACHICA promotion, which starts at 7am Thursday 26th January and ends at 7am Monday 30th January 2012.
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