an interview with Artspring artist
how long have you been an artist and how did your artistic career begin?
I worked as a freelance illustrator as soon as I left art school in 1984! The first year was busy hawking the portfolio, meeting people in the industry and working to get my work in print. I was lucky to quickly pick up regular work from a couple of London magazines and was soon able to show my watercolours translated well into print and that I could work to a commission and deadline!
Why do you make art and what themes do you pursue?
Making art has always been my therapy! After years of working to commission, sourcing my reference mainly from photos, I now enjoy working from life. Themes are inspired from my everyday life of being a busy mother and daughter, of the “sandwich generation” enjoying the highs and lows it presents.
Who or what have most inspired you?
Family without doubt has been my main inspiration. Reflecting on times spent with them, places visited, food enjoyed!
Can you describe your first big break?
I was commissioned to do a large number of book jackets for a New York best seller writer. Little did I know just how prolific a writer she is and although I appreciated the work in the earlier days, over the years the work became soul breaking. It was a big break, but it lead me to a larger one – retiring from the commercial work to pursue my own work and to rediscover my passion for printmaking!
What gives you joy?
Other than being with my muses (!!) I get great joy out of continuing to develop my art, revealing a successful print from the press and enjoying others’ too!
Are there any achievements of which you feel particularly proud?
I was proud to have two etchings at the RA Summer Exhibition this year. ‘Side by Side’, one of the prints is shown here….
How do you like to spend your time when you are not being an artist?
Over the years I have worked on renovating several properties and the gardens, which are ongoing! My grandfather and father were architects and it was a career I had seriously considered, buildings fascinate me and often appear in my work!
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given regarding your art?
To be true to yourself.
Anything else I should know?
I did a stint as a reporting artist for Operation Raleigh back in 1987 and was based in Kenya for three months. I had hoped it would lead to more reportage work, inspired by work by Linda Kitson reporting from the Falklands war a few years earlier. Alas no such work came my way but I’ve enjoyed many a challenge set closer to home and ‘gone with the flow ‘!
What is the best thing for you about being a member of Artspring?
The best thing is being a part of a great community of artists who have given me confidence and been a tremendous inspiration. Without Hildegard Pax’s encouragement to apply to Open Call exhibitions I would never have thought to see my work on the Mall Gallery or Royal Academy walls.
Antonia was interviewed by Caroline Fraser, October 2019