Richard Ansett

Interveiw with AllBuyArt

Richard Ansett is a photographer who is gaining much acclaim in the international art scene. He has artwork on display at the National Portrait Gallery and has displayed at many high profile exhibitions.

Background of yourself/Biography of yourself up until present day

I was born in 1966, adopted into a middle class familly in south England. I have no knowledge of my genetic familly history. I went to KIAD and since then I have worked commercially as a photographer in London.

Explain your style of art

We are a product of our environment, our dress, behavior and body language. Our personality is shaped by the social and political landscape we inhabit and we wear the scars of our life experience clearly on view. Equally we attempt to influence the environment around us in an attempt to justify and substantiate our place in the world.

How we deal with our emotions defines us as individuals and creates our complex and unique visual personality.

My work whilst apparently social realistic is in fact not strictly truthful. They are creations at a moment of time; the subjects are not represented fairly. They’re stories are irrelevant; this is not documentary, they are exploited to communicate my own views and to discuss a bigger picture.

The portrait process is not democratic process; whilst there is obvious complicity, it is not collaboration.

The extreme emotions within us are manifest in a momentary glimpse of the lives of others. We are fascinated by examples of the extremities of others’ lives but this is merely an exploration of the limits of ourselves.

Who are your influences?

Otto Dix, Joel Peter Witkin, Irvin Penn, Jan Van Eyke, Cindy Sherman.

Where do you seek inspiration for your art?

I don’t seek it so much, it feels more like an evolution of style and ideas from life; both learning from your own and observing and empathizing with others’. I am drawn to investigate the emotional truth behind seemingly happy or positive events or behavior. I feel a responsibility to look for something hidden or communicate an understanding of society outside of conventional parameters.

Where did your desire to become an artist come from?

I think we all at some point in our lives feel that we have something new to say about the world and want to express it; most of us become adults and grow out of it. I still have the need to share my thoughts and feelings about the world with others and I learned early that photography had a power to influence…

How long have you been an artist for?

I have always felt like an artist but I am often wary of calling myself one as I cannot often live up to peoples expectation of what that is.

What are your ambitions as an artist?

I am enormously ambitious about the further creation of work and the evolution of my understanding of myself, others and the world and how I can communicate my feelings to others more successfully. The greatness in art is not in the physical surface but in its undercurrent, this is indefinable and comes from the subconscious of the artist and it can’t be taught; I hope that my work will become more like that.

What is the future of your style, how is it going to develop?

The criteria for how we view art is not determined by a natural law but by artists that push at the boundaries of what is esthetic. I would like my style to continue to evolve and challenge relatively conservative notions of what are acceptable parameters of photographic composition.

What are you working on at the moment?

A very large body of work in its second year focusing on the physical and emotional affects of obesity.

What tips do you have for other artists who want to get started?

Do not be driven by what others think but don’t ignore them either. Accept that whilst we despise the concept of deliberately pleasing an audience we are at the same time slaves to the affirmation of others.

What have you done to promote yourself as an artist?

Not enough, it’s incredibly difficult and embarrassing talking about how brilliant you are. I wish I didn’t have to do it but the need for people to see my work is stronger. Raising awareness of yourself is a very slow process.

What do you do in your spare time e.g. hobbies?

If I am not working on photographs I am thinking or worrying about it, otherwise I run regularly with my dog a Black Labrador named Otto after the aforementioned artist.

End of Interview

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