ARTIST Q&A

Alison Chambers (RBSA)

UK

Type of artwork you're most likely to produce?

Oil painting - cityscape or snowscape

What is your favourite piece of art you have created?

Hard to say, but probably a snow scene from my sister’s flat in Amsterdam

If you weren't an artist what other career would you be in?

I used to work in the charity sector before becoming a full-time artist

If you could buy one piece of artwork what would it be?

‘Riders In The Snow’ by Gustav Mauve

What inspires you?

It usually has something to do with light or weather - transforming solid structures into dynamic images…

Delving a little deeper

Why do you do what you do?

It’s part of who I am - I have always created art to a greater or lesser extent - for many years it slotted into spare time available and for the last 10 years, it has been my full-time occupation.

Can you tell us about your artistic background/education

An early desire to attend art college was not feasible at the time and it wasn’t until I was in my late 30s that I started seeking out opportunities as a mature student. I was lucky to find several short courses with inspirational tutors that helped me to shape my painting style. At the same time, I became friends with working artists who guided me through the ‘business’ side of promoting and selling my work.

Do you work in silence or do you prefer a distraction?

I usually listen to music - mostly classical - and listen to the radio; but equally, I’m happy with silence.

How do you choose the subject matter for your works?

I am drawn towards structures and form (including the human form).

My artwork stems from an emotional response to a place - cityscapes generally and London (where I was born) in particular - often looking down as an ‘observer’ and possibly something of an outsider. The transformative power of snow also fascinates me.

Has your practice changed over time?

Like many artists before me, my style has become somewhat looser over time. When I started creating art it was with a pencil and a piece of paper (usually during maths lessons at school…) and although I have experimented with different mediums I now focus on oil painting - which I absolutely love - the smell - the texture - and the ability to move it around the canvas. I can also get completely ‘lost’ with a 2B pencil and a piece of paper - so that hasn’t changed at all!

Who are your favourite contemporary or historical artists and why?

So many to choose from: Gustav Mauve for his wonderful paintings of snow; Edward Hopper for his brooding paintings of American life; Pieter Bruegel for his muted and powerful landscapes; the Dutch impressionists ( e.g. George Hendrik Breitner, Isaac Israëls); and many, many more…

If you could describe your work in less than 5 words, what would they be?

Absorbing, detailed, atmospheric.

What is the best advice given to you as an artist?

Paint what you want to paint: not what you think will sell or others will want to see.