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NEOS Q&A

As many of you may know, last month, I was involved in the North East Open Studios.

During the week, I was asked to take part in a Q&A with the Press and Journal and discuss my ongoing involvement with NEOS. I've put together a blog for anyone who may have missed last month's article and is interested in finding out more about my journey as an artist, feel free to have a read. 

Where are you from?

I was born and grew up in Dundee. I didn't move up to the North East until 1989.

What medium do you work in?

I mostly work with acrylics and also some collage.

Do you exhibit often?

Yes, my work is always on show somewhere.

Where do you exhibit?

These days I tend to exhibit with a small group of galleries, mostly people who have become friends over the years.

When I was building my career I was showing in up to 30 to 40 galleries, all over the UK including several London galleries and also in Paris, New York, Seattle, Munich, Dublin and I even had prints for sale in Baghdad!

Where is your studio/where do you work?

My studio is now at my home on the Ury Estate in Stonehaven.

How long have you been an artist?

Hopefully I have always been an artist, but it has been my full-time exclusive career since 2001.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Yes, I had a poem published in the school magazine when I was in my first year at secondary school and the first line read 'I wish I was a painter, a Raphael or Holbein...' and finished 'I would sign myself, Francesco de Boagi'

Have you done any training?

I attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, during the sixties...my main claim to fame being I booked Pink Floyd for our Christmas Revels.

In 1999 I managed to obtain a sabbatical from teaching and studied at Grays for an M A.

Have you done any other jobs?

Yes, mostly teaching - I was Head of Art and Design at Aberdeen Grammar School from 1989 until 2001. It was then that I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life to give up teaching and pursue a career as an artist.

What inspires you?

I have often considered that question and have reached the conclusion that because the world is such a beautiful place, especially as you get older, as long as I walk around with my eyes open I will never be short of inspiration.

Why did you decide to take part in NEOS?

I decided early on in the year that I was going to make NEOS my big exhibition of 2016.

How many years have you been doing NEOS?

I think I did my first NEOS in 2008.

What do you want to achieve from NEOS?

What I've always wanted to achieve from my paintings, I want lots of people to visit and everyone to enjoy my work. I may be wrong but I would imagine almost all the artists taking part in NEOS are looking for the same thing.

What do you want people who look at your work to come away thinking?

I want them to go away thinking 'I really enjoyed that and I'm glad I took the time to visit'.

Francis 

From One Artist to Another...

One of the main reasons for starting a blog was to encourage feedback from anyone who enjoyed my work. Like most artists I know insecurity and doubt are always round the corner and it's a real pick-me-up to be reminded that someone, somewhere is responding to what you're trying to do.

It is even more rewarding when other artists take the time to pass on their compliments and regards. I’m old enough not to take the web for granted and to still be amazed when an email arrives from New Zealand or California or Malta.

These are all exotic, far-away places to me and it comes as a surprise to realise that my representations of the east-coast, Scottish landscape can resonate in such far-flung corners of the globe.

I recently received a mail that truly astonished me from an artist in Sudan and I’d like to share it with you here:

name : Faisal Tajalsir

enquiry : I just wanted to express my deep admiration with your works..and as an artist I was greatly inspired by them..god bless you..if you are interested in seeing som Sudanese art please visit my blog at fandos.maktoobblog.com.


Sadly, Sudan and Darfur are regularly in the news with the situation in Darfur being called by the United Nations ’the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time’. The constant barrage of ‘bad news stories' from the region can blind you to the fact that ‘normal’ life is still going on. But the environmental, cultural, religious and economic background of someone from Sudan could hardly be more removed from my own experience and it was truly humbling to realise that an artist from this background could find something in my work which spoke directly to him.

I made contact with Faisal and asked him to send me some images of his paintings. This he did and again I was astonished and amazed. I felt a real kinship with his work and felt we were on parallel tracks both seeking, in our different ways, similar solutions to the questions we ask ourselves.

As my work is now easily available in prints and cards quite a few artists use it as a starting point for their own work and I have no problem with that, but I felt that Faisal’s work was more like a sibling than an offspring. You can use this address - fandos.maktoobblog.com - to see more of his work

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is great to have a ‘good news’ story from a troubled region and I would love to hear what you think of Faisal's work. I will also be happy to pass on any mail or indeed requests for paintings.

Francis

Photo credit: Faisal Tajalsir