I often marvel at the skill and ability of artists able to create portraits that are so life like. One such individual is UK artist Jeff Price. Jeff is a very talented and versatile painter with a comprehensive portfolio. I thoroughly recommend visiting his website to view a selection of his work. I recently caught up with the London & Birmingham based painter to discover the origins of his talents.
Q-How long have you been painting and what or who inspires you?
My mum always goes on about how she was so embarrassed by my first painting. It was at play school, all the other kids came home with beautiful bright paintings of flowers and cute animals. I came home with big sheet completely covered in black paint. Everyone’s got to start somewhere! The first painting I can remember is one of Hadrian’s wall I did back in infant school. I remember the teacher loved it, I think it was first time she noticed me. I guess it gave me some confidence, I was good at something! As for inspiration, it has to be music. It always has to be on. Listening to all the legends like Beatles, Stones, Bowie, Jeff Buckley, Hendrix etc. etc. gives me some of their energy and motivation and helps me sit for hours painstakingly painting away.
Q How did you become an artist and are portraits a majority of your portfolio?
I don’t know if I am an artist? It’s such a loaded term. I just love painting. On one hand, I love painting really strict portraits (the majority of my work) there’s something about painted portrait which is more real or timeless than a photo can ever hope to be and on the other I really love letting loose on an abstract painting, never knowing how it will turn out at the start is so different and I have to say much more fun than the portraits! I’m actually trying to twin the two disciplines in my new paintings. . . watch this space!
Q What is your favourite medium and why?
I’m not sure I’ve got a favourite medium… Oil is the king of the paints and the ‘proper’ choice, but I’m just as happy working with anything I can get my hands on, even house paints!
Q How do you handle the commercial/income generating aspects of being a portrait artist?
I could handle some more income generating aspects!
Q Where do you see the future of original art? I have asked others but do you think commercial art galleries represent a wide enough variety of artists?
There’s too many artists and not enough galleries and even less art buyers. There’s so much amazing art online, but nothing can compare with seeing the work in the real world in commercial art galleries. Just wish they would be bit bolder and embrace new talent more! I personally think we should embrace this new wave of pop up shops and have more pop up galleries. I think Joe public would be much more interested in visiting them than more elitist established art galleries.
Q I recently had a conversation with a self-trained musician about the credentials of visual and performing artists who don’t have formal training. Do you think it matters; is it a case of academic acceptance over accepting natural talent?
The only thing I remember from 3 years at art school was something this wise old lecturer said- ‘if you want to be an artist you don’t go to college you just do it’. He had a point, as I didn’t touch a brush for 4 years after I finished there.
Q What are the best and worst elements of being a full time working artist
The satisfaction when you finally decide that you’re happy with a painting and can stop and just look at it and relax! And of course seeing the smiles on peoples faces when you hand over their new painting.
Q And finally, what do you see yourself working on in the future?
I am afraid to say this but I’m getting bored with strict realistic portraits. I’m still very interested in portraits, but I’m experimenting with new ways of painting. Like painting in reverse- scratching and sanding off layers of paint to reveal the faces for instance. But this may very well not work!!
Further information on Jeff please visit http://www.saatchionline.com/pricejef