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ARTIST Q&A

Stephen Conroy

North Yorkshire - UK

Type of artwork you're most likely to produce?

Geometric abstracts and stylised still lifes

What is your favourite piece of art you have created?

I think each piece I complete is my favourite until the next one takes shape.

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

A writer or working with animals.

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

I would love to own any geometric Kandinsky painting. But I would donate it to a city gallery as I feel all art should be for the viewing pleasure of the public.

What inspires you?

My own imagination which is influenced by numerous great artists.

Delving a little deeper

Why do you do what you do?

Not wishing to sound flippant but ‘because I can’. I have done other jobs, earned good money, bought luxuries, but was never happy. Once I made the decision to be an artist, with the great support of my loving wife, I came alive. There are daily struggles, financial and motivational, but each day is an exciting challenge.

Can you tell us about your artistic background/education

I painted from a young age. I remember my mother buying me small tubes of cheap, lead-filled, oil paints, so toxic, and painting still lifes and pixie pictures.

I did my Foundation Course at Leicester Polytechnic where I developed an interest in sculpture. I then did a degree in sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art. I also completed a PGCE at Birmingham Polytechnic which lead me into teaching for a few years.

After having not produced any art of my own for about 10 years I started to paint again and then decided to become a full-time artist. Although I have had a good art education I am, effectively, a self-taught painter.

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

This is definitely a mood thing. When I am designing and drawing out I normally work in silence. Once I get into a painting and pretty much have a feeling for its direction I play music. I like a huge variety of stuff from heavy to folk and gothic rock and especially female vocal symphonic metal.

How do you choose the subject matter for your works?

Now that I have been painting full time for nearly 15 years subject matter takes care of itself. I have a huge bank of previous paintings and I now enjoy returning to these and producing new versions, bigger, hopefully better versions, using different techniques and materials. More and more my work comes from within, the outside world having little influence on what I do. The exception to this is my communications with many other talented artists who help drive me on through a solitary (by choice) existence. What would I do without social media???

Has your practice changed over time?

My art practice is ever changing. I love to experiment with subject and materials and so, within my portfolio there is a huge variety of work. This is not the result of an unsettled mind but simply one that likes to return, often, to the many subjects, techniques and materials I have used over many years.

Who are your favourite contemporary or historical artists and why?

My first loves in art are colour and shape. Artists like Sonia Delaunay, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Frank Stella are highly influential in my work. I will also often look at the work Matisse, Picasso and Cezanne. But doesn’t everybody?

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

Playful, joyful, shapes, colours .

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

Be an artist of your time