A Conversation with Rebecca Elizabeth Blow, Artist

BeckyI love crossing paths with artists and other creative minds along my travels. Fortunately for me, I have always been involved in creative fields either through school or whichever work position I held at the time, so I automatically was given the opportunity to meet many amazing and talented people.

Rebecca Elizabeth Blow is one such person I met, again while living in London. She was studying interior design with Marc Houston and I, but her own unique spin on every project she did. She, like me, came from a fine art background, and really used this first passion of her as a source of inspiration in her design work. As you well know, I love outside-the-box thinking. Since our days of study, Becky went on to complete a MA in Interior and Spatial Design and is working with one of London’s hottest design firms, Peter Mikic Interiors.

Her art has not taken the back seat, however, and that is what I had the opportunity to chat with her about recently. Here is our conversation.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where you are from and how you got to where you are today?

I was born and raised in Australia. My father is an artist, my sister and I spent many an evening or weekend mucking about with paints and other messy materials in his studio. When I finished high school I knew the only path for me was art school. I studied my undergraduate degree at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. I quickly realized that I loved mark marking. I was and still am fascinated with the way different ways materials react to each other and to the canvas. My major was in painting and print media. I have painted avidly ever since.

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How has your time living and traveling overseas influenced you creatively, as an artist and designer?

After university I spent a year in Thailand teaching children art and English. Whilst there I traveled a lot of South East Asia. The traditional artworks and architecture of Thailand influenced me greatly. I became very interested in representation rather then depiction of the human face and figure. I worked on a series of drawings there based on masks and Buddhist icons.

You spent time studying interiors at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London. How did this experience affect your work and career as an artist?

Chelsea helped to focus me on my artistic practice. I had some amazing lecturers who opened up various different avenues of research and different ways of looking at my paintings. I began to explore ideas of space within the canvas. I created some installation pieces and began to work with moving image. I created a series of short films using the graphics from my paintings and computer generated characters interacting with the space. I not only had a lot of fun trying new things at Chelsea but the movement and 3D work fed back into my two-dimensional paintings.

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What is it that you are trying to communicate or express with your work?

My work is essentially about the drawn line. I draw the human figure from life then take the drawings back to my studio and create painted canvases from the drawings. The paintings are not about the human figure, even though they are figurative. The paintings are about the lines and spaces created within the drawings.

What is your main interest in choosing subject matter?

At the moment I focus exclusively on the human body and portraiture. I love interesting faces- pointy noses and cheekbones are the best!

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Can you explain to us a bit of your creative process and methods?

I guess I begin with the subject, something about their face or body that interests me. I depict the lines and shapes in one or several drawing studies. Sometimes the drawings develop into pieces in their own right and end up framed and on the wall. Other pieces at this stage are research drawings- sometimes these are the best to work from. I take the collection of drawings back to the studio and re-draw the whole or parts of the drawing onto the canvas. Sometimes I photograph the drawing and experiment with the shape, especially with my series of angled canvases. The painted medium allows me to incorporate colour and texture into the works. I love layering the paint, adding mediums and then removing at various stages of the drying process.

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Other than your own experiences, what are your creative influences? Any other artists or designers that are particular favorites?

I think my work is mix of Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko. Both have been favourites of mine since my initial dabblings with art. Bacon’s expressive use of line and space, and Rothko’s depth of field and specific tonal qualities.

What advice would you give to other aspiring artists trying to find their own method of expression?

I think it is important to work out what you really like to do practice wise. You might be quite successful at working with a certain medium or way but unless you enjoy it, that way of working won’t last. I have always found that concepts develop alongside method. Over-thinking what is behind a piece of work can stifle you before you begin. Creating artwork is a thoroughly enjoyable, challenging and evolving process. Allow yourself to develop your work and method, experiment, mix things up and have as many breakthroughs as you can!

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Any new projects or endeavors in the works for you recently?

I currently completed a series of 40 small works on un-stretched canvas for an international series of French galleries. They have just put my work on display at South Molton Street http://en.carredartistes.com/art-gallery-painting-united-kingdom/london

And for the traveler in us all, any recommendations for a “must see” list from your travels?

Traveling and experiencing new places is rewarding on so many levels. Sometimes you take away a lot from a place, sometimes a little. I always visit the art galleries in a new country. Not only to see the big important works, but to see the culturally and historically significant more localized art from the area. Living in London the big stuff is going to come here eventually, but there’s something about seeing a Velazquez in the Renia Sofia amongst the other great Spanish painters and architecture that stays with you.

{Images courtesy of Rebecca Elizabeth Blow}

  • emi

    i love this. it’s stunning! fabulous blog. let’s follow one another! xo

    • Amy Lynne Hayes

      Thank you! I hd a peak at your blog as well, looks great! Love your recent post about haystack rock. You were filming a travel show there? How cool! I look forward to following along with your adventures! 🙂

  • So proud of you Bec! The direction your art is taking is really interesting and pleased with your success.

    Godfrey Blow.