Robert Dunt | Interview
THE ABSTRACT POP MAN
Super excited to welcome another one of our amazing artists to our humble blog, Robert Dunt! Robert Dunt is an influential British artist whose impactful paintings (inspired by music) have an electrifying energy about them. Robert's practice has a rebel ethic that distorts art traditions in order to create surprising and original works.
Robert has exhibited nationally and internationally, he's had several solo shows, he's been selected for the ING Discerning Eye, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, NEAC, and the Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition and he's the founder of the art review website ArtTop10.com
Mr Dunt is passionate man with a seriously cool art plan - he's definitely one of those arty types that lives and breathes it... We hope you enjoy his interview as much as we did.
- When did you first fall in love with art, and realise that you wanted to be an artist?
- I was always interested in writing and I was working as a journalist, but I was obsessed with going to art exhibitions. I had a few extra days holiday more than my wife and I went out and bought some canvases and acrylic paints. The second I began painting and put down some yellow paint I knew I wanted to be an artist.
- How has your practice change over time?
- It began very abstract and then became quite representational. Then at art school I hit on this idea of making paintings that “look” a bit like the band The Jesus and Mary Chain “sound”. They make pretty pop songs and cover them with noise and distortion and I often paint pretty paintings that are then covered with black and white shapes which I call Distortion Forms, a visual metaphor for the noise and distortion of the Jesus and Mary Chain. I also make fast colour paintings of landscapes such as Yosemite and digital prints that have flat colour and which are sometimes based on pencil drawings. I think there’s a pressure to produce a brand for yourself, but that doesn’t fit with what an artist really does, which is to try and produce the best work they can. I find people who are interested in my pieces aren’t worried that I might move from abstract to representational. Nevertheless there is a thread running through my work, which is about colour, producing beauty from chaos and twisting traditional ideas.
- Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
- You can be inspired by views and trees and places and some paintings are of places like Half Dome in Yosemite which is awe inspiring, but I think also, with works like the Distortion Form paintings, it’s about being inspired by what you’re looking at all the time. You’re attention to looking kind of soaks into you and then when you paint it comes back out onto the canvas.
- Do you paint when you’re sad or stressed?
- I think it’s important to paint all the time. Not like a job, but as a passion.
- Any current projects you can talk about?
- I’m working on new paintings and getting some images ready for a virtual show called Re-Defining Structure which will be on the Cello Factory website. It’s a cool idea and involved everyone who was in a show called Defining Structure in 2018. This is like a virtual re-visit where you exhibit one piece from that show and face pieces you have made since. It’s like a cool way of showing the trajectory of these artists. It should launch first week of June.
- How has the current state of affairs aka LOCKDOWN affected you and your work?
- I have been looking at much more nature and become obsessed that taking photos of trees directly upward from below looks a bit like my Distortion Form paintings so I may try making some paintings based around that idea. I’ve also been doing quite a few virtual studio interviews with artists for my YouTube channel which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt_-ner-UvedzGBUftoN0BA/
- Have you collaborated with other artists? Do you have any artists you would like to collaborate with?
- I had a show a while back with Alastair Baxendale where we both exhibited work in an installation where a room was painted with my black and white Distortion Forms (let me know if you’d like a pic). I’d be interested in doing a collaboration with an artist I interviewed the other day called Gordon Dalton, he has a sort of quirky sense of how to paint a landscape.
- If you could communicate one thing to an upcoming artist about being represented what would it be?
- The art market is fractured. You can represent yourself online but it’s less hassle and more fun having someone like Art in Offices to help you. I think you probably want to worry less about being represented and more about going to openings of galleries you like and becoming known as someone who is serious about what they are trying to do. A lot of it is abut traditional networking and I’ve been told it’s important for people to know you are part of the scene. Go to the PVs enough and people will begin to recognise you.
- Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
- Patrick Heron, Georges Braque, Picasso.
- One last hard question... What's your favourite colour?
- Easy, orange.