Friday, April 15, 2011

Deborah Champion "Art is a process"

Deborah Champion is an illustrator from Southampton. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about artistic influences, self employment and why she likes Andy Warhol.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

Everywhere really! I guess this was always true but particularly these days. The modern world is saturated with images and ideas.

I was on a forum and the debate was if you should use your doll in art. I have dolls and they are inspiration for me but some people thought if they were sculpted by someone else you had no right to use them. And they said that if you were a good artist, you would only draw things that came from your own mind. It sort of goes against hundreds of years of still life and life drawing and stuck me as odd because it assumes your ideas are solely your own, and not influenced by all the things you had seen and forgotten, just because you hadn't used them overtly as a reference point.
I've started a little inspiration blog over at tumblr where you can collect images you like, though a lot of it is still my own work because I feel wary of reposting other peoples work, so folks don't like it.

What are your current projects about?

Posters, currently, I have become interested in that era when posters were first about and they were really something special, just because there weren't so many images in the world. I like to imagine strolling along a Parisian street and coming across a work by Lautrec. Advertising generally is quite interesting. I like typography, and I'm working on some posters advertising things that don't exist, and nursery rhymes, with the empathis on the lettering. I'll be reissuing some of my old favorites though too, the quotation prints were always popular.

What are the up and downsides of being an artist? 
Just the regular difficulties of self employment, I suppose, and people think you don't work if you are self employed. I'm always getting asked if I want to me a teacher, my husband is a teacher. Of course I don't! I love printing! Every day I get up and I do things I like and I spend money on artist materials which is my favorite it's all tax deductible and I earn more than I would working part time and I go on big adventures with my little boy the rest of the time and I'm happy. Money is not terribly important to me, provided we have the essentials and a few trinkets to live by.

Who are your favorite artists? 

I think the living artists have inspired my most... Elizabeth Magill.. I love the wide open oilscapes. And Megan Chapmans work.. I love those abstract pieces. I know her from the website But I like very graphic work too. I am just learning that just because I like a style, I don't have to do it in my work. I can still enjoy it as a spectator, still appreciate what's in the Tate modern and what's on the billboard in the highstreet. And art is a process really, the painting at the end is a by product. There's room for everyone. Andy Warhol. I like some of his ideas about art- why shouldn't it be affordable? Why shouldn't we all have some? I've heard all sorts of criticisms of his work by people that have never seen an exhibition of his. A lifetimes work and they've condensed it down (if you forgive the pun) to a tin of soup and Marylin Monroe. Some of his work is very interesting.

Did you ever want to do something else besides art? 
Well I have a PhD in geochemistry so I suppose that I had some inclination to do other things!

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